12.307 | Spring 2009 | Undergraduate

Weather and Climate Laboratory


Project 1: Mass and Wind

The purpose of this project is to study, using meteorological observations and laboratory experiments, the relation between the wind field and the mass field in a rotating system. In part I we explore the relationship in laboratory experiments; in part II atmospheric observations of intense cyclones and hurricanes are used.

Project Description (PDF)

Tank Experiments

- Detailed description of the radial inflow tank experiment, together with associated theory. (PDF)

- View recordings of the Balanced Vortex Experiment at the Weather in a Tank Web site

- Look at the following experiment on Ekman Layers to visualize the impact of surface friction on the balance of forces.

- Notes on relevant theory: Lecture Notes from Course 12.003 (Physics of Atmospheres and Oceans) - Chapter 6 — The equations of fluid motion (PDF - 1.2 MB)

Atmospheric Data

Hurricane Case Studies

Hurricane Katrina (Aug'05): [NASA-EO](http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=15399
), NCDC 
Super-typhoon Ioke (Sept'06): [NASA-EO](http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/IOTD/view.php?id=6914
Hurricane Dean (Aug 07): NCDC, [NASA-EO](http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=18889

Hurricane Bertha (Jul 08): [NASA-EO](http://earthobservatory.nasa.gov/NaturalHazards/view.php?id=20209

Surface winds from scatterometer imagery

Choose an hurricane case from the Scatterometer Imagery of Historical Storms and: 
1. Plot the surface winds at different times along the path of the hurricane. 
2. Choose a specific time and download the wind data to compute the Rossby number in function of radius - See Instructions 
3. Discuss how the hurricane data compare to the radial inflow experiment.

Upper Air Analyses and Geostrophic/ageostrophic Flow

Read here for notes on geostrophic balance and on hydrostatic balance. (PDF 1) (PDF 2)


GDPLOT should be used to plot the height and wind from a regional analysis over the US.

Use GDPLOT_surf to plot the surface analyzed wind and pressure.

Course Info

Learning Resource Types
Activity Assignments