Course Title: 
Earth's Atmosphere
Course Code: 
Year Taught: 
Undergraduate (UG)
School of Engineering

'Earth's Atmosphere' is a course offered in the B. Tech. programs at School of Engineering, Amrita Vishwa Vidyapeetham.

Unit 1

Earth's atmosphere: overview and vertical structure. Warming the earth and the atmosphere: temperature and heat transfer; absorption, emission, and equilibrium; incoming solar energy. Air temperature: daily variations, controls, data, human comfort, measurement. Humidity, condensation, and clouds: circulation of water in the atmosphere; evaporation, condensation, and saturation; dew and frost; fog.

Unit 2

Cloud development and precipitation: atmospheric stability & determining stability, cloud development and stability, precipitation processes, collision and coalescence, precipitation types, measuring precipitation. Air pressure and winds: atmospheric pressure, pressure measurement, surface and upper-air charts, surface winds, winds and vertical air motions, measuring and determining winds. Atmospheric circulations: scales of atmospheric motion, eddies, local wind systems, global winds, global wind patterns and the oceans.

Unit 3

Air masses, fronts, and mid-latitude cyclones. Weather forecasting: acquisition of weather information, forecasting methods and tools, forecasting using surface charts. Thunderstorms: ordinary (air-mass) thunderstorms, mesoscale convective complexes, floods and flash floods, distribution of thunderstorms, lightning and thunder. Tornadoes: severe weather and Doppler radar, waterspouts.

Unit 4

Hurricanes (cyclones, typhoons): tropical weather; anatomy, formation, dissipation and naming of hurricanes. Air pollution: a brief history, types and sources, factors that affect air pollution, the urban environment, acid deposition. Global climate: climatic classification; global pattern of climate.

Unit 5

Climate change: possible causes; carbon dioxide, the greenhouse effect, and recent global warming. Light, colour, and atmospheric optics: white and colours, white clouds and scattered light; blue skies and hazy days, red suns and blue moons; twinkling, twilight, and the green flash; the mirage; halos, sundogs, and sun pillars; rainbows; coronas and cloud iridescence.

  • C. Donald Ahrens: Essentials of Meteorology: An Invitation to the Atmosphere (6th edition), Brooks-Cole, 2010
  • Frederick K. Lutgens & Edward J. Tarbuck: The Atmosphere, An Introduction to Meteorology (11th Edition), Prentice Hall, 19 January, 2009