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ERSC206 - Weather and Climate

Course Details

Course Code: ERSC206 Course ID: 4730 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

This course will provide an introduction to meteorology and climate for scientists. We will explore the basics of Earth system, atmospheric thermodynamics, atmospheric chemistry, cloud physics, atmospheric boundary layer and radiative transfer. The background from these topics will provide the foundations to discuss climate change and climate dynamics. We will examine current research on the areas of climate change research to learn about the current state of climate change. (Prerequisites: SCIN234 or PHYS134, and MATH226)


Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
03/30/20 - 09/04/20 09/07/20 - 11/01/20 Summer 2020 Session D 8 Week session
06/29/20 - 12/04/20 12/07/20 - 01/31/21 Fall 2020 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

After successfully completing this course, you will be able to

  • CO-1 Describe the Earth system including the hydrologic cycle, carbon cycle and the components of the Earth system.
  • CO-2 Explain the principles of atmospheric thermodynamics including the first and second law of thermodynamics, adiabatic processes and static stability.
  • CO-3 Explain the radiative processes including blackbody radiation, physics of scattering, absorption and emission.
  • CO-4 Explain the concepts of atmospheric chemistry.
  • CO-5 Illustrate cloud microphysics processes including cloud drop growth and nucleation of water vapor condensation.
  • CO-6 Interpret atmospheric boundary layer dynamics and turbulence.
  • CO-7 Describe climate dynamics and climate variability.
  • CO-8 Compare and contrast the various arguments within the climate science community.
  • CO-9 Analyze the various climate science arguments.
  • CO-10 Generalize the current state of climate science research.

Reading Assignments:
Each week there will be several reading assignments. Make sure you read and understand everything so that you will have a complete understanding of the week’s lessons. This will be critical to succeed on the weekly quizzes and final exam.

Forum Assignments:
Each week there will be a forum assigned that will be a place for students to ask a question that they found troubling and students are to respond to at least two other student’s questions. Initial posts are due by Wednesday, with the responses due by Sunday. There will be no forum on week 8 to allow time to work on the exams.

It is important that the questions provide sufficient background and information so the person responding has enough information to provide you a detailed response. The responses should be thorough and answer the question while providing a citation to where the information was retrieved.

Weekly Assignments:
There is a weekly assignment each week (except Week 8). This quiz contains short answer questions for that week’s material. Make sure that the responses are thorough and detailed to ensure you sufficiently answer the question.

The final exam will cover all the content in the class. This includes weeks 1-8. It may be timed and comprehensive. It will involve several different times of question formats. In short answer/essay time of questions, make sure you are thorough in your response.

Research Project:
This research project will be outlined in detail in the Lessons section. This research project will be a collaborative case study type of assignment that will require working in groups and presenting the final results to the other students.

Please see the Student Handbook to reference the University’s grading scale.

NameGrade %
Forum 20.00 %
Week 1 Forum 2.86 %
Week 2 Forum 2.86 %
Week 3 Forum 2.86 %
Week 4 Forum 2.86 %
Week 5 Forum 2.86 %
Week 6 Forum 2.86 %
Week 7 Forum 2.86 %
Weekly Assignment 40.00 %
Week 1 Assignment 5.71 %
Week 2 Assignment 5.71 %
Week 3 Assignment 5.71 %
Week 4 Assignment 5.71 %
Week 5 Assignment 5.71 %
Week 6 Assignment 5.71 %
Week 7 Assignment 5.71 %
Final Exam 20.00 %
Final Exam 20.00 %
Research Project 20.00 %
Research Project 20.00 %

Required Technology

  • See the Technology Requirements section of the undergraduate catalog for the minimum hardware and software requirements.
  • Microsoft Office 365 is available to APUS students for free. To sign up, visit If you have questions about accessing the software, please contact Classroom support at

Web Sites

In addition to the required course texts, the following public domain web sites are useful. Please abide by the university’s academic honesty policy when using Internet sources as well. Note web site addresses are subject to change.

Site Name

Web Site URL/Address


Book Title:Understanding Weather and Climate, 7th ed. - the VitalSource e-book is provided inside the classroom
Publication Info:VS-Pearson
Unit Cost:$166.28
Electronic ISBN:9781323438138
Electronic Unit Cost:$37.80

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.