Mesoscale Dynamics

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


The course aims to introduce students to atmospheric phenomena on scales between a few hundred meters and a few 100 kilometers, which are characterized as mesoscale. In particular, students will learn to identify and characterize different mesoscale phenomena and describe them in physical and dynamical terms. This will partly be done with a synoptic approach.



GEOF328 addresses a wide variety of weather phenomena that are smaller than synoptic scale but larger than micro-scale. These phenomena are seen in a synoptic context, and have spatial scales generally ranging from around a few hundred meters to several hundred kilometers, temporal scales of a day or less, and large horizontal and vertical wind accelerations, for which the Rossby number is large and the hydrostatic approximation is not valid any longer. It is the world in which quasi-geostrophic theory breaks down. The material covered in GEOF328 includes fronts, land-sea breezes, gravity waves, hydraulic theory, downslope windstorms, orographic flow distortion, valley wind systems, thunderstorms and squall lines. The course will build on conceptual models and theoretical derivations to describe observed phenomena.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:



The student

  • has learned to define and characterize a mesoscale phenomena
  • has gained understanding of the physical and dynamical mechanisms driving mesoscale phenomena
  • has learned new solution techniques for atmospheric and physical problems



The student

  • is able to write a computer code to solve numerical problems and to visualize the results
  • is able to derive analyitic solutions to mesoscale problems
  • is able to present and defend scientific results in front of a group
  • is able to interpret mesoscale weather in a synoptic context


General competence

The student

  • can develop ideas for analytical and (to some extent) numerical solutions to the problem
  • can formulate problems in a physical and mathematical framework

can give presentations and defend own ideas in front of a group

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Autumn. Runs only if enough students enrol. Enrolment to this course is based on application.

Application deadline is wednesday in week 33 for the autumn semester. Please, see this page for more information:

Place of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Bachelor's degree in Meteorology and Oceanography or equivalent programs
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course
Access to the course requires admission to a master's programme at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences
Teaching and learning methods
The teaching is given as lectures and exercises: 2 lectures á 2 hours a week 1 exercise á 2 hours a week. The course also features student presentations of scientific articles.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

- Regular attendance of the course and exercises

- Presentation of at least three own solutions during the exercise

Valid for two semester: The semester the course runs and the following semester.

Forms of Assessment

The forms of assessment are:

  • Written mid-term exam, counts 20 % of the final grade and must be done, valid for two semesters.
  • Scientific presentation of a research article relevant to the course, 10% of the final grade, valid for two semesters.
  • Final exam, oral, 45 minutes. Counts 70 % of the final grade and must be passed.

We add up scores from the partial assessments to determine the final grade in the course. All partial assessments must be passed to pass the course.

Grading Scale
The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.
Assessment Semester
Examination both spring semester and autumn semester. In the semester without teaching in the study year the examination will be arranged at the beginning of the semester
Reading List
The reading list will be available within July 1st for the autumn semester and January 1st for the spring semester.
Course Evaluation
The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department.
Examination Support Material
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.
Geophysical Institute