AOS 630
Introduction to Atmospheric and Oceanic Physics

Fall 2009


Instructor: Prof. Grant W Petty
Office: AOSS 1329
Phone: 263-3265

Class e-mail list (reaches everyone in class):


According to the catalog description, this is "a graduate level core course covering thermodynamics theory of multiphase systems, thermodynamic analysis of atmosphere, microphysical processes in the atmosphere, atmospheric and oceanic chemical processes, conduction of heat and moisture into the atmosphere from ocean and land surface."

This course is taken both by students with undergraduate training in meteorology and those coming from other fields, such as physics. My objectives are therefore

A preliminary lecture and reading schedule can be found here (still under construction!). However, since I'm teaching this for the first (and perhaps only) time due to Prof. Bennartz's sabbatical, the actual pace and level of coverage of some topics may be substantially revised as we move through the course.


We will be using portions of my textbook, A First Course in Atmospheric Thermodynamics.   I will sell copies to AOS 640 students at a sharply discounted price, so don't order through a bookstore or through   This book provides the "foundation of basic knowledge" for some, but not all, of the topics covered in this course. There will therefore also be supplemental reading and notes drawn from a variety of sources, including


There will be two midterms worth 20% each and one final worth 30%

Homework will be assigned approximately bi-weekly and will count toward 30% of the course grade.

In a class of this size, I typically use a fixed grading scale (90% = A, 85% = AB, etc.), but because I will be assigning homework sets and exams that I have never used before, I may adjust the cutoffs to obtain what I consider to be a fair and representative distribution of grades at the end of the semester.


For a class of this small size, I prefer not to hold scheduled office hours but rather to encourage appointments via e-mail.  You may also just drop by my office and see if I'm available.   I encourage you to see me any time you have trouble understanding the homework problems or need additional clarification of the material presented in class.