The University of Arizona

 THE CLIMATE SYSTEM                   

 GEOG 430/530

 Spring 2013

 Lecture: MW 10:00-10:50 (Harvill 316)
 Lab: W 11:00-11:50 (Harvill 401)

 Dr. Connie Woodhouse
 Tel: 626-0235
 Office: Harvill 412
 Office Hours: M 11:00-12:00 or by appointment

 Course Homepage: TBA

 Course Schedule

 Instructions for News Article Presentation

 Instructions for Regional Climate Presentation and Paper (undergrads only)

 Extra reading for grads

Course Description

  This is a course on general climatology as it relates to environmental processes. It is useful for students interested in climatic aspects of physical geography, and for all students in environmental sciences and environmental studies who need a broad understanding of climatology. The course provides a comprehensive guide to the nature of Earth's climate, and presents a synthesis of contemporary scientific ideas about atmospheric circulation within the climate system. It covers climate at global, regional and local scales, through lecture material in combination with exercises using interactive web page resources and recent research reports. Major topical sections cover Radiation  and Energy, the Earth's Atmosphere; the Hydrologic Balance; Atmospheric Circulation, Forces and Balances; Global Circulation and Climate; Midlatitude, Tropical, and Polar Climates; Local-Scale Climates; and Climate Variability and Change. An introductory weather/climate class would be quite helpful for doing well in this class.


 Required textbook:
 Rohli, R.V. and Vega, A.J., 2012: Climatology. Jones and Bartlett: Boston, MA.

 A good additional reference (less readable, more details):
     Barry, R.G. and Chorley, R.J., 2003: Atmosphere, Weather and Climate. 8th Edition. Routledge: New York,  NY.

 An additional introductory text that some have found useful for basic background information:

     Aguado E. and Burt, J.E., 2004: Understanding Weather and Climate, 3rd Edition. Prentice-Hall: Upper       Saddle River, NJ.

 Computer Lab

 There will be seven laboratory exercises in class in the SAL (Harvill 401).  There will be time to work on the  exercises during class, but you will need to save your work on a thumb drive (or email it to yourself), and then  submit to the instructor via email. 

 Assignments, Exams & Grading

 Assignments are listed in the course schedule and include readings from the text, laboratory exercises and  write-ups, a short presentation on a climate news article, and a presentation and paper on a regional topic.  All assignments should be emailed to the instructor on or before the due date:

 Graduate students: 1) Instead of the short news presentations, graduate students will be responsible for  presenting a longer climate-related article and leading a discussion once during the semester.  2) Graduate  students will have their own version of the lab exercises in most cases.  3) Instead of the short paper,  graduate students will develop a new lab exercise (or a set of exercises, if you work together) to present to the  class at the end of the semester.

 A mid-term and a final exam will be held on or about the dates listed in the course schedule, each covering  the preceding section. Exams will be a mixture of multiple choice, short answer, and brief paragraph  responses. Material from lectures, labs and the readings will be on the exams. Exams are closed-book.

 Grades will be based on lab and tour write-ups, occasional quizzes, class presentations, a short regional  climate paper (or lab, in the case of graduate students), and the 2 exams. Class participation will also be part  of your grade (this includes attendance, participation in discussions, and any other class activities). There will  be no make-up exams or quizzes. All exams are required; the instructor should be formally notified of a  legitimate absence, in advance if possible. Due dates for assignments are firm; late assignments will be  assessed a penalty.  Labs turned in late on the date due will receive 75% credit, the same week as due will  receive 50% credit, and before the final exam will receive 25% credit.

Lab write-ups (7) 20%
News article presentation, tour write-ups 10%
Regional climate presentation and short paper
(or lab exercise for grads)
Class participation, knowledge of readings 10%
Exams (2) 30%
 Useful Web Sites
 Other links of interest
 General Course Policies


 Students are expected to attend all classes, including student presentation days and field trips.    Regular attendance will help you to understand what you read in the book, the lab exercises, and to prepare  for exams.  The class is designed to promote participation and active learning, and class discussions will be  an important part of the class.  Participation will make up 30% of your class grade (and you can't participate if  you aren't in class!). Any student who is excessively absent from class runs the risk of being administratively  dropped from the course.  

Unavoidable absences must be first cleared with the instructor, and any missed work must be made up by due dates in the schedule, unless other arrangements have been negotiated.

For the UA’s policy concerning Class Attendance and Administrative Drops, see: 

For the UA policy regarding absences on and accommodation of religious holidays,  see

Absences pre-approved by the UA Dean of Students (or Dean designee) will be honored. See:

Academic Integrity

Students are encouraged to share ideas and skills and to freely discuss the principles and applications of course materials. However, the guiding principle of academic integrity is that a student's submitted work must be the student's own. Cheating, plagiarism, and other such violations are serious offenses and can involve drastic penalties.  The UA Student Code of Academic Integrity outlines the principles of this code and prohibited conduct as well as the offenses and penalties.  Become familiar with this information to avoid any problems.  Plagiarism is a particular concern, so be sure you understand what this is and don't do it. That said, students are encouraged to work together and help one another on exercises/labs, but the work that you turn in must be your own.  If cheating/copying is suspected, the instructor will privately discuss the situation those involved to determine what measures will be taken.

According to Section D (6) (a) of the University’s Intellectual Property Policy, faculty own the intellectual property for their course notes and course materials.   The instructor holds the copyright to his/her lectures and course materials, including student notes or summaries that substantially reflect them.  Student notes and course recordings are for individual use or for shared use on an individual basis.  Selling class notes and/or other course materials to other students or to a third party for resale is not permitted without the instructor’s express written consent.  Violations to the instructor’s copyright are subject to the Code of Academic Integrity and may result in course sanctions.  Additionally, students who use D2L or UA email to sell or buy these copyrighted materials are subject to Code of Conduct Violations for misuse of student email addresses.


The Americans with Disabilities Act requires that provisions be made for students with a disabling condition to meet course requirements. 
Students with disabilities:  If you anticipate the need for reasonable accommodations to meet the requirements of this course, you must register with the Disability Resource Center and request that the DRC send the instructor official notification of your accommodations needs as soon as possible.  Please plan to meet with the instructor by appointment or during office hours to discuss accommodations and how the course requirements and activities may impact your ability to fully participate.  See the SALT web page ( or the Center for Disability Related Resources web page for additional information on obtaining appropriate documentation or other information.  I am happy to help you meet/complete the requirements for the course.

Additional Information

1. Turn off phones, pagers, and other electronic devices during class and labs.
2. No firearms, drugs, alcohol, eating, drinking, smoking, and/or soliciting in the classroom.
3. Note the deadlines for add/drop, withdrawal, etc. on the UA academic calendar
4. This syllabus is tentative and is subject to change.  Any changes will be announced in class.
5. I am open to ideas and suggestions for improving the class.  Please do not hesitate to notify me of concerns or comments about course content, structure, or procedures.
6. If we use the SAL computers (rm 401), you will sign an agreement regarding use of the computers.  If you do not follow the guidelines, you could lose your computing privileges.