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ERSC180 - Introduction to Meteorology

Course Details

Course Code: ERSC180 Course ID: 5032 Credit Hours: 3 Level: Undergraduate

Introduction to Meteorology covers the fundamental principles governing the behavior of our atmosphere and the duties and methods of the professional meteorologist. Students will gain insight into the exciting discipline of meteorology, discussing topics such as cloud formation, movement in the atmosphere, thunderstorms, tornadoes, meteorological satellites, and climate change. Students will discuss the process of the scientific method and also demonstrate science information literacy skills through source selection and creation of a narrated presentation.

Course Schedule

Registration Dates Course Dates Session Weeks
04/26/21 - 10/01/21 10/04/21 - 11/28/21 Fall 2021 Session B 8 Week session
05/21/21 - 10/29/21 11/01/21 - 12/26/21 Fall 2021 Session I 8 Week session
06/28/21 - 12/03/21 12/06/21 - 01/30/22 Fall 2021 Session D 8 Week session
07/27/21 - 12/31/21 01/03/22 - 02/27/22 Winter 2022 Session B 8 Week session
08/31/21 - 02/04/22 02/07/22 - 04/03/22 Winter 2022 Session I 8 Week session
09/28/21 - 03/04/22 03/07/22 - 05/01/22 Winter 2022 Session D 8 Week session

Current Syllabi

The successful student will fulfill the following learning objectives:

  • CO-1 Describe how the Earth’s atmosphere absorbs and reflects incoming solar radiation and maintains Earth’s energy balance, and describe the vertical and horizontal structures of the Earth’s atmosphere.
  • CO-2 Describe how temperature data are gathered and used; explains how moisture is observed and measured in the atmosphere.
  • CO-3 Examine how clouds develop, describe what causes precipitation, what is meant by air pressure, pressure gradient force, and Coriolis force, and discuss wind characteristics at the surface and aloft.
  • CO-4 Compare the technologies involved with meteorology and how they are applied to monitor conditions, create forecasts and disseminate warnings.
  • CO-5 Explain what factors produce the climate of a location on Earth, compare and classify the various climates of the world.
  • CO-6 Apply the laws of physics to hands-on weather observation and forecasting.
  • CO-7 Identify atmospheric forces creating weather systems, to include fronts, high and low pressure and severe weather systems.
  • CO-8 Demonstrate knowledge atmospheric optics characteristics.

Grades for this course will be based upon graded forum assignments, forums, labs, and quizzes.


Weekly forum questions are provided in the Forum section of the E-classroom. Participation is mandatory and will count towards the course grade. All forum original comments are due at 11:55 pm, ET on the Wednesday of the assignment week. You are expected to provide an original, substantial comment of several well-written paragraphs in each session and participate in the ensuing discussion about your post. This is your discussion. You must also post a similar comment or reflection in reply to at least two other students’ contribution. Statements such as “I agree” or “good post” will not count as a reply. Forums will require research and proper citation of sources.

Weekly Quizzes

Each week there will be a quiz that consists of 33 multiple-choice questions testing material from the reading, lesson, and scientific process lesson. Each question is worth 3 points, except for one 4 point question that will require you to perform a calculation or interpret a map. You have 1 hour to complete the quiz. Please make sure that when you open the quiz, you are prepared to complete it as there will be no opportunities to restart the quiz once it’s opened. It is recommended that you complete all reading and lessons prior to attempting the quiz. There are a total of 8 weekly quizzes; however the lowest quiz grade will be dropped.


There are 3 graded assignments, all of which pertaining to the research presentation due at the end of Week 7. These assignments include 1) writing annotated bibliographies for 3 credible meteorological resources, 2) constructing an outline for the research presentation, and 3) an audio-narrated research presentation on a topic of interest that relates to meteorology. More information for the assignments can be found under the "Assignments" tab.

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

NameGrade %
Weekly Forums 16.00 %
Week 1 Forum 2.00 %
Week 2 Forum 2.00 %
Week 3 Forum 2.00 %
Week 4 Forum 2.00 %
Week 5 Forum 2.00 %
Week 6 Forum 2.00 %
Week 7 Forum 2.00 %
Week 8 Forum 2.00 %
Weekly Quizzes 56.00 %
Week 1 Quiz 8.00 %
Week 2 Quiz 8.00 %
Week 3 Quiz 8.00 %
Week 4 Quiz 8.00 %
Week 5 Quiz 8.00 %
Week 6 Quiz 8.00 %
Week 7 Quiz 8.00 %
Week 8 Quiz 8.00 %
Assignments 28.00 %
Week 3 - Assignment 1: Annotated Bibliography 7.00 %
Week 5 - Assignment 2: Presentation Outline 7.00 %
Week 7 - Assignment 3: Research Presentation 14.00 %
Book Title: Atmosphere, Weather and Climate, 9th ed - e-book available in the APUS Online Library; link also provided in the classroom Lessons section
Author: Barry, Roger
Publication Info:
ISBN: 9780415465700
Book Title: Various resources from the APUS Library & the Open Web are used. Please visit to locate the course eReserve.*
Publication Info:

Book Title:Weather, Climate and Climate Change: Human Perspectives - e-book available in the APUS Online Library; Please visit to locate the course eReserve.
Publication Info:Routledge Lib
Author:O'Hare, Greg

Previous Syllabi

Not current for future courses.