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Elective: Physics of the Atmosphere
Identification number


180 h

Term of studying
1. -3. Semester
Frequency of

Winter term

1 semester
1 Type of lessons
a) Lectures
b) Exercise
Contact times
45 h
30 h
Self-study times
45 h
60 h
Intended group size

Aims of the module and acquired skills

  • Derivation and interpretation of equations governing atmospheric motion and state, i.e. primitive equations
  • Atmospheric radiation and application to the energy balance (e. g. greenhouse effect) and optical appearences
  • Knowledge of the earth's climate zones and basic principles of the general circulation
  • Acquired skills are computer practice, presentation techniques, general comprehension of systems, critical assessment and discussion of scientific work and time management.
3 Contents of the module
  • Meteorological variables and primitive equations
  • Composition and spatio-temporal structure of the atmosphere
  • Radiative transfer
  • Cloud physics and formation of precipitation
  • Atmospheric boundary layer and turbulence
  • Atmospheric dynamics
  • Weather systems
  • Atmospheric circulation
  • Climate dynamic
4 Teaching/Learning methods

Lectures and exercises - Exercises with compulsory attendance
5 Requirements for participation

Formal: Permission by the Examination Board

With regards to content: Basics of mathematics and physics.

Type of module examinations

Written Examination (graded)

7 Requisites for the allocation of credits

Successful participation in the exercises (50 % of the possible points have to be obtained) and passing of the examination.

At the end of the semester or the beginning of the following semester a possibility to repeat the examination is offered. A failed examination may be repeated twice. Additional possibilities to repeat an examination exist according to the examination regulations (§ 20 section 1).

Assessments which have been passed are not allowed to be taken again, with one exception: If at the end of a module which consists of a lecture and tutorial classes, the student takes the assessment at the first available date after having received admission to the module exam, he/she is then allowed to take the examination again at the next available date for the purpose of improving the grade, even if he/she passed the assessment the first time – in this case, the better of the two grades will count towards the final degree grade (§ 20 section 9).

The module mark is the grade obtained in the assessment. In the case of two passed assessments the module mark is the better grade
8 Compatibility with other Curricula
  • Other modules of equal value can be admitted and announced by the examination board after agreement.
  • Suitable as an elective course for mathematics, physics and geoscience students
9 Significance of the module mark for the overall grade

10 Module coordinator

S. Crewell
11 Additional information

Recommended Literature:

Wallace, J. und Hobbs, P., 2006: Atmospheric Science: An Introductory Survey. Academic Press, 2nd edition, New York.
H. Kraus, 2005: Die Atmosphäre der Erde. Eine Einführung in die Meteorologie. Springer Verlag Heidelberg, Paperback Vieweg Verlag.
D. Etling, 2002: Theoretische Meteorologie, Eine Einführung. Springer Verlag Heidelberg.