EPS 181, Atmospheric Physics and Dynamics, Fall 2016


This course covers the processes that determine the structure and circulation of Earth's atmosphere. The approach of this course is deductive: the properties and behavior of Earth's atmosphere will be derived from the laws of physics and fluid dynamics. Topics will include the governing laws of fluid dynamics, dry and moist thermodynamics, radiative transfer, cloud microphysics, geostrophic flow, quasigeostrophic motion, atmospheric waves, and baroclinic instability.

M W, 2-3:30
McCone 325
Recommended text, but not required
Online version available from UC Berkeley here
Mathematics 53, 54; Physics 7A, 7B, 7C
Homework 30%, Midterm I 20% (September 26, in class), Midterm II 20% (October 26, in class), Final 30% (December 15, 3pm-6pm, McCone 325)
Alex Charn (269 McCone Hall, alexcharn5@berkeley.edu)
GSI office hours
Romps office hours
After class or by appointment (377 McCone Hall, romps@berkeley.edu)


8/24, Overview of the atmosphere
8/29, Conservation of mass
8/31, Conservation of momentum
  • Reading: Continue readings from 8/29
9/7, Conservation of energy
9/12, Example: Sound waves
9/14, Static stability and dry convection
9/19, Entropy and potential temperature
9/21, Water
9/26, Midterm I
  • In class
  • Closed book
9/28, Examples: Subsidence and Bernoulli
  • Reading: None
10/3, Shallow-water equations
10/5, Coriolis force I
10/10, Coriolis force II
  • Reading: None
10/12, Balanced flow I
10/17, Balanced flow II
  • Reading: Continue reading from 10/8
10/19, Circulation I
10/24, No class
10/26, Midterm II
  • In class
  • Closed book
10/31, Circulation II
  • Reading: Continue reading from 10/19
11/2, Radiative transfer
11/7, Greenhouse effect
11/9, Vorticity I
11/14, Vorticity II
  • Reading: Continue reading from 11/9
11/16, Reynolds averaging
11/21, Boundary layers I
11/28, Boundary layers II
11/30, Review
  • Reading: Your notes