Course Syllabus

ATM S 340 - Winter 2019

Instructor: Professor Cecilia Bitz

TA: Jessika Haskins

Instructor's office hours: T 11:30-12:20 or by appointment, note the TA has no office hours so please bring grading concerns to the instructor. Office is ATG 502

Instructor contact:

Class meeting times: MWF, 11:30am - 12:20pm in ATG 310

Class website:

Poll Everywhere:

Class description

This course covers thermodynamics, hydrostatics, precipitation, and clouds with emphasis on the microphysics. 

Prerequisite: ATM S 301

Required textbook: Atmospheric Science. An Introductory Survey. Second Edition, by J. M. Wallace and P. V. Hobbs

Format: Before each class, students should read assigned pages in the text and the introduction to the worksheet for the day. The lecture hour will begin with an opportunity to ask questions followed by a 5 minute quiz on the reading assignment for that day. Next, the lecturer will give a short presentation about the concepts and tips on the worksheet, with more time for questions. About half of the class will be spent working in small groups on the problems in the worksheet. At the end of each class, we will discuss the problems and answers. The worksheets will not be graded, but are intended to be excellent practice for the homework and exams. 

You may discuss homework problems with each other, but it is not appropriate to write-up solutions in the presence of other students, to discuss your solutions with others as you write them up, or to share your written-up solutions with other students. No two homework assignments should look alike.

Expect to spend 1 hour preparing for each class and 1.5-3 hours to do the homework.

In this course if you do not understand something, it is your responsibility to ask about it. If you didn’t understand the reading, you need to raise your hand at the start of class. If your group is moving too quickly through a problem that you don’t understand, you need to stop them. If you have questions about course material that aren’t resolved in class, come to office hours and ask them.

Grading policy: Your grade will be based on a midterm exam, a final exam, homework assignments, and daily quizzes.

Daily quizzes: 20%

Midterm exam: 20%

Final exam: 30%

Homework assignments: 30%

Policies and Expectations

The students are expected to attend lectures and participate in class. There will be no make-up quizzes even for sickness or family emergencies. However, the lowest 5 grades will be dropped, so up to 5 missed quizzes can be dropped. Midterm and final exams can be made-up only in extreme circumstances, in which case you must contact the instructor at least 24 hours BEFORE the exam is missed. Assignments are due at the BEGINNING of class on the day of the deadline, no late assignments will be accepted without permission of the instructor prior to the day it is due.

In order to guarantee a response to questions about homework assignments or exams,  contact the instructors at least 24 hours before the assignment or exam in question is due. Emails sent within 24 hours of the deadline might not be answered in time. Please send all communications to your instructors from your University of Washington email address (, to make sure that they are delivered and seen in time. Start the subject line of your email with "ATM S 340", so we can make sure to respond to you as soon as possible.  

If you feel your exam, quiz or homework was graded incorrectly, you must submit your complaint to the instructor in writing, along with your graded exam, quiz or homework, no later than 1 week after the grade was given to you.

How to do well in this class:

  • Attend lectures and participate by asking questions. Read the assignments and textbook so you are prepared for daily quizzes. 
  • Don't get behind. 

Important dates

Homework Assignments: Due on Wednesdays, see schedule

Midterm exam: Tentatively set for Monday 11 February in class

Final exam: Wednesday, 20 March 2:30pm-4:20pm

Student learning goals

  • Explain basic principles underlying atmospheric structure and motion.
  • Appreciate the different ways in which energy and moisture and important for Earth's atmosphere.
  • Conceptually understand the causes of weather phenomena.
  • Learn how to read and display weather charts.
  • Understand how clouds and thunderstorms work.
  • Develop programming skills to analyze atmospheric datasets.

Access and Accommodations

Your experience in this class is important to us, and it is the policy and practice of the University of Washington to create inclusive and accessible learning environments consistent with federal and state law. Disability Resources for Students (DRS) offers resources and coordinates reasonable accommodations for students with disabilities. If you have not yet established services through DRS, but have a temporary or permanent disability that requires accommodations, you are welcome to contact DRS at 206-543-8924 or at (link (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.). If you have already established accommodations with DRS, please use the information provided on the website for this course when submitting your Alternative Testing Contract to DRS via their online system. Students with accommodations are solely responsible for submitting the Alternative Testing Contract and scheduling exams with DRS well in advance of exam dates.

If you have a letter from DRS indicating that you have a disability that requires academic accommodations, please present the letter to the instructor so that we can discuss the accommodations you might need in the class. Academic accommodations due to disability will not be made unless the student has a letter from DRS specifying the type and nature of accommodations needed.

Academic Honesty

At the University level, passing anyone else's scholarly work (which can include written material, exam answers, graphics or other images, and even ideas) as your own, without proper attribution, is considered academic misconduct. Plagiarism, cheating, and other misconduct are serious violation of the University of Washington Student Conduct Code (WAC 478-120, link (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.). We expect that you will know and follow university policies on cheating and plagiarism. Any suspected cases of academic misconduct will be handled according to university regulations. For more information, see College of the Environment's Academic Misconduct Policy (link) and the Community Standards and Student Conduct website (link (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.).

Student Conduct

All UW students agree to abide by, and familiarize themselves with, the Student Conduct Code when enrolling at the University of Washington. All students in ATM S courses are expected to abide by the Student Conduct Code (WAC 489-120, link (Links to an external site.)Links to an external site.). The possession, use, or distribution of controlled substances, firearms, and dangerous weapons will not be tolerated. Physical abuse, sexual harassment, or harassment of any kind, for any reason, will not be tolerated. Violations will be immediately reported to the Community Standards and Student Conduct, and possibly to the UW Police Department. If you have questions or concerns regarding an alleged violation of the Student Conduct Code, please contact your instructor, ATM S Student services (206-543-4576, or, or Community Standards and Student Conduct (206-685-6194, or  


Course Summary:

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