8.4 Computer Programing with Gridded Data in an Undergraduate Dynamics Course

Wednesday, 10 January 2018: 2:30 PM
Ballroom C (ACC) (Austin, Texas)
Keah Schuenemann, Metropolitan State Univ., Denver, CO

In an effort to integrate meteorological applications of computer programming into the existing congested undergraduate meteorology curriculum, an undergraduate dynamics computer programming project is introduced. Students will learn to perform calculations and plot gridded data. The first iteration of this project and its successes and pitfalls will be presented. During a few computer lab visits, dynamics students will first learn to perform calculations for a single location. Students will determine the pressure gradient force, coriolis force, geostrophic wind, gradient wind, and ageostrophic wind using equations learned in the dynamics course, given geopotential height at four points around the location. Students will then scale this up to perform calculations using two-dimensional gridded datasets of geopotential height and begin working with arrays. Results will be plotted in vector form and analyzed. Finally, students will use this calculated wind data in addition to temperature data to make a simple time-step forecast. Discussion of the assumptions made and limitations of the results ensue. How does this differ from weather model calculations? How does data get assimilated into models when the data doesn’t fall on a grid? What kinds of grids do models actually use? Students will learn how to work with data types by reading and writing netcdf files. They will also learn how to find and understand metadata. Students will appreciate the complexities of plotting data without a GUI such as the Integrated Data Viewer. Working with arrays of data will get students started on the application of computer programming skills learned in a computer science course outside of the meteorology department. This will also reinforce the learning outcomes for the dynamics concepts and prepare students to apply this knowledge in their future synoptic course.
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