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Specialisation Module: Clouds and Precipitation
Identification number

180 h
Credit Points

1st - 3rd Semester
Offered Every



1 semester
1 Course types
a) Lecture
b) Exercise
Contact time
30 h
30 h
Private study
60 h
60 h
2 Module objectives and skills to be acquired
  • Understanding the role of clouds for meteorology and in the climate system
  • Knowledge of cloud microphysical processes
  • Understanding the mechanisms for precipitation formation and efficiency
  • Ability to interprete remote sensing observations of clouds and precipitation
  • Understanding the links of cloud physics with dynamic meteorology, atmospheric radiative transfer and climatology.
  • Computer practice for problem solving, critical assessment and discussion of scientific work presentation technique, time managagement
3 Module content
  • Basic overview of clouds in the atmosphere
  • Thermodynamic concepts
  • Homogeneous & heteorogeneous nucleation; Köhler theory
  • Development of cloud droplet spectra (diffusional growth, collision-coalescence, entrainment, turbulence, breakup)
  • Ice nucleation, ice crystal habits and ice microphysical processes
  • Precipitation formation, thunderstorm development and life cycle, severe storms
  • Modification of clouds
  • In-situ measurements and remote sensing of cloud parameters including radar polarimetry
  • Representation of clouds in numerical weather prediction and climate models, e. g. DWD models COSMO and ICON
4 Teaching methods

Lectures and exercises
5 Prerequisites (for the module)

Formal: None.
The content of the course requires the undergraduate knowledge of mathematics, physics and meteorology.
6 Type of examination

At the beginning of the lecture-free period, there is a 120 to 180-minute written examination, the content of which is the material from the lecture and exercises. Successful completion of the exercises is required for admission to the examination; for this, the acquisition of 50% of the points to be achieved is sufficient. A repeat examination is offered before or at the beginning of the following semester. The examination grade is the module grade. In the case of two passed examinations (see § 20 paragraph 10 examination regulations), the better grade is the module grade.
7 Credits awarded

The module is passed, and the credit points will be awarded, if the written examination is passed.
8 Compatibility with other curricula

Suitable as an elective course for physics students.
9 Proportion of final grade

Weight of the module grade in the overall grade: 6/150 (4 %)
10 Module coordinator

Susanne Crewell
11 Further information

Version: 2023-03-23