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Atmospheric Environments: Climatology

Course Code: GEOG 2210
Faculty: Humanities & Social Sciences
Credits: 3.0
Semester: 15
Learning Format: Lecture, Lab, Partially Online, Field Experience
Typically Offered: Fall
course overview

This interactive and hands-on course builds on principles introduced in GEOG 1110 by exploring climatological and meteorological processes at work in our atmospheric environment. Exchange and transformation of energy, moisture and momentum are examined to explore a variety of topics ranging from daily weather variations (e.g. temperature, humidity, wind and severe weather) to environmental issues such as air pollution, urban heat islands, ozone depletion and global climate change.

Course Content

  1. Introduction to Climatology
  2. Energy Principles and Concepts
    • Types of energy
    • Energy dimensions
    • Laws of Thermodynamics
  3. Radiation - The Radiation Balance
    • Radiation Laws and distribution
  4. Energy
    • Energy budgets
    • Transfers and exchanges
    • Pattern of distribution
  5. Atmospheric Moisture
    • Measurement of humidity
    • Evaporation and condensation processes
    • Connections to surface energy and moisture balances
  6. Adiabatic Processes and Stability
    • Adiabatic lapse rates
    • Construction and use of tephigrams
    • Cloud development
    • Potential temperature
    • Precipitation formation and measurements
  7. Atmospheric Circulation
    • Forces affecting air motion
    • Surface and upper air circulation
    • Interaction between upper air circulation and surface conditions
    • Regional winds
    • Local winds
  8. Global Circulation
    • Models of atmospheric and ocean circulations
    • Teleconnections
    • Climatic classification and indices
    • Climatic controls - climatic patterns
  9. Weather Forecasting
    • Types of forecasts
    • Spatial and temporal scales of forecasts
    • Data requirements
    • Accuracy
  10. Climate Change
    • Natural and anthropogenic causes
    • Urban climates
    • Air pollution

Methods of Instruction

This course will employ a variety of instructional methods to accomplish its objectives, including some of the following:

  • Lecture
  • Labs
  • Field Work
  • Multimedia
  • Individual and/or Team Projects
  • Small Group Discussions
  • Map Analysis

Means of Assessment

The evaluation will be based on course objectives and will be carried out in accordance with Douglas College policy. The instructor will provide a written course outline with specific evaluation criteria during the first week of classes.

An example of an evaluation scheme would be:

Labs 30%
Project 20%
Lab Exam 10%
Midterm Exam 20%
Final Exam 20%
Total 100%

Learning Outcomes

At the conclusion of the course the student will be able to:

  1. Describe and use the frameworks of science applicable to 2nd-year physical geography.
  2. Describe and explain the forms and exchanges of radiation and heat energy and discuss the laws applicable to the development of a radiation balance for the earth and its atmosphere.
  3. Explain the constructs and quantitative representations of energy and moisture budgets and their connections to different observed environmental conditions.
  4. Compute adiabatic lapse rates and evaluate conditions of stability and instability in the atmosphere including the use of temperature entropy diagrams.
  5. Describe and explain the forces controlling air motion and the resultant types of wind patterns.
  6. Describe and explain the relationship between upper level circulation and surface pressure patterns.
  7. Describe and explain methods employed to measure climatologic elements.
  8. Describe atmospheric conditions contributing to air pollution and the anthropogenic implications of air pollution.
  9. Describe and explain natural and anthropogenic causes of climate change at multiple scales.

course prerequisites

GEOG 1110

curriculum guidelines

Course Guidelines for previous years are viewable by selecting the version desired. If you took this course and do not see a listing for the starting semester/year of the course, consider the previous version as the applicable version.

course schedule and availability
course transferability

Below shows how this course and its credits transfer within the BC transfer system. 

A course is considered university-transferable (UT) if it transfers to at least one of the five research universities in British Columbia: University of British Columbia; University of British Columbia-Okanagan; Simon Fraser University; University of Victoria; and the University of Northern British Columbia.

For more information on transfer visit the BC Transfer Guide and BCCAT websites.


If your course prerequisites indicate that you need an assessment, please see our Assessment page for more information.