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Module titleWeather
Module codeGEO3227
Academic year2022/3
Module staff

Dr Ewan Woodley (Convenor)

Duration: Term123
Duration: Weeks


Number students taking module (anticipated)


Description - summary of the module content

Module description

From the minor inconvenience of a rain shower, to the catastrophic failure of a harvest, weather systems impact upon the World’s population in myriad ways. This module is designed to introduce you to the key concepts behind the working of the atmosphere and how atmospheric processes interact with each other and the land/ocean surface to produce very different types of meteorological system. With an understanding of the key determinants and components of atmospheric motion, we will focus in depth on different types of weather systems, which have significant environmental impacts, but which are very different in geographical scale, structure and function. In each case, we will critically examine the current academic debates and contestations surrounding these types of weather system and what these mean for our ability to understand, forecast and warn of specific atmospheric hazards and their potential impacts.

Module aims - intentions of the module

This module provides an opportunity to learn about the processes and factors that control the formation and evolution of key weather systems across the World, including (for example) extra-tropical cyclones, tornadoes, tropical cyclones and monsoons. We will explore how and why different systems form in certain regions of the globe, why they occur over specific spatial and temporal scales, and how the physical mechanisms controlling these systems, and the state of the atmosphere at a given time, impact upon our ability to accurately forecast such phenomena. Building on this understanding, we will examine the latest academic debates associated with weather systems to critically evaluate the contestations and knowledge controversies in these areas of meteorological research. You will have the opportunity to develop a comprehensive understanding of 1) recent advances in theoretical understanding, 2) the latest observation, measurement and modelling of key phenomena, 3) the current limitations of atmospheric science, and 4) the extent of agreement and disagreement on weather system behaviour and projected changes. This module will help you develop skills to enhance your employability potential and career development through:

  • giving you an appreciation of the contested and provisional nature of knowledge
  • encouraging you to think critically about the ways in which knowledge is applied in a range of research and management contexts
  • providing you with the opportunity to engage in enquiry-led learning through reflection on a meteorological research topic of your choosing
  • and providing you with the opportunity to develop communication skills through formative online group work and independent study.

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 1. Describe the general working of the atmosphere, including the dominant forces and factors affecting atmospheric motion, energy transfer, and movement of water
  • 2. Discuss the environmental controls on the formation and evolution of different weather systems, and draw and accurately interpret meteorological diagrams associated with these weather systems
  • 3. Discuss and critically evaluate a comprehensive range of academic literature concerned with recent debates on the formation, forecasting and modelled future evolution of weather systems.
  • 4. Transfer the approach taken to understanding knowledge controversies in these areas of meteorological research to other scientific debates

ILO: Discipline-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 5. Recognise and explain how meteorology incorporates core concepts in physical geography and necessitates an understanding of atmosphere-land and atmosphere-ocean interactions;
  • 6. Discuss how science operates and how new claims to knowledge through observation, measurement, forecasting and modelling should be evaluated
  • 7. Identify where scientific knowledge is provisional and contested in nature and why this is the case in specific contexts
  • 8. Recognise the relative importance of different elements in an academic debate

ILO: Personal and key skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

  • 9. Communicate ideas, principles and theories effectively and fluently
  • 10. Develop a sustained, reasoned argument supported by a wide range of appropriate academic literature
  • 11. Identify, acquire, analyse and synthesise information from a range of sources
  • 12. Describe how core skills acquired and enhanced throughout the module relate to career planning and development

Syllabus plan

Syllabus plan

Content covered in this module will include some or all of the following topics:

  • Introduction to the module
  • Introduction to the atmosphere and meteorology
  • Extra-tropical cyclones: characteristics, processes and current debates
  • Tornadoes: characteristics, processes and current debates
  • Tropical cyclones: characteristics, processes and current debates
  • Monsoons: characteristics, processes and current debates

Learning and teaching

Learning activities and teaching methods (given in hours of study time)

Scheduled Learning and Teaching ActivitiesGuided independent studyPlacement / study abroad

Details of learning activities and teaching methods

CategoryHours of study timeDescription
Scheduled Learning and Teaching22Lectures (11 x 2 hours)
Scheduled Learning and Teaching2Online reading and exam preparation sessions
Guided Independent Study11MS Teams group learning activities
Guided Independent Study45Reading for Examination 1
Guided Independent Study70Reading for Examination 2


Formative assessment

Form of assessmentSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
MS Teams learning group activities1 hour per weekAllIn-class feedback from lecturer

Summative assessment (% of credit)

CourseworkWritten examsPractical exams

Details of summative assessment

Form of assessment% of creditSize of the assessment (eg length / duration)ILOs assessedFeedback method
Examination 1401.5 hours1-12Written
Examination 2602 hours1-12Written


Details of re-assessment (where required by referral or deferral)

Original form of assessmentForm of re-assessmentILOs re-assessedTimescale for re-assessment
Examination 1Examination 11-12August Ref/Def
Examination 2Examination 21-12August Ref/Def

Re-assessment notes

Deferral – if you miss an assessment for certificated reasons judged acceptable by the Mitigation Committee, you will normally be either deferred in the assessment or an extension may be granted. The mark given for a re-assessment taken as a result of deferral will not be capped and will be treated as it would be if it were your first attempt at the assessment.

Referral – if you have failed the module overall (i.e. a final overall module mark of less than 40%) you will be required to sit a further examination or submit a further assessment as necessary. If you are successful on referral, your overall module mark will be capped at 40%


Indicative learning resources - Basic reading

Indicative basic reading list:


Core reading


  • Aguado, E. And Burt, J.E. 2015. Understanding Weather and Climate, 7th Edition. Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
  • Barry, R.G. and Chorley, R.J. 2009. Atmosphere, Weather and Climate, 9th Edition. Routledge, Oxford.


Indicative learning resources - Web based and electronic resources

Module has an active ELE page

Key words search

Weather, meteorology, atmospheric processes, numerical modelling and forecasting, extreme weather events.

Credit value15
Module ECTS


Module pre-requisites


Module co-requisites


NQF level (module)


Available as distance learning?


Origin date


Last revision date