Physical Geography - The Atmosphere

Jill Trepanier,
Louisiana State University


The topical focus of GEOG 2050 "Physical Geography: The Atmosphere" includes: (1) basic concepts in atmospheric science, including atmospheric structure and composition, energy balances, and atmospheric circulation; (2) characterization of meteorological and climatological variability and processes at different space and time scales, including macro- and meso-scale weather processes and climate changes; and (3) linkage of variations in the Earth's weather and climate patterns to humans and their environment. Scientific thinking and real-world applications of meteorological and climatological information are emphasized, along with an interactive approach to learning using Moodle 2, multimedia, and web resources.

Course URL:
Course Type: Intro Level:Physical Geography
Course Size:
greater than 150

Course Format:
Lecture only

Institution Type:
University with graduate programs, including doctoral programs

Course Context:

This is an introductory course with no prerequisites. The majority of students are taking the course to satisfy a natural science requirement. This course has no lab.

In your department, do majors and non-majors take separate introductory courses?

If students take a non-majors course, and then decide to become a major, do they have to go back and take an additional introductory course?

Course Content:

The physical geography course focuses on the atmosphere. Topics range from mapping, to the relationship with the Sun, atmospheric layers, wind patterns, ocean circulation, weather events, and climate change. Students learn how to describe the weather around them.

Course Goals:

Main goal: Be able to describe and understand the weather around them using the appropriate scientific jargon.

What are the main features of the course that help students achieve these goals?
I often describe the course material as having a string that connects everything starting with the Sun all the way to an individual hurricane forming. Using graphics and my descriptions, the students learn all the stopping points along that string.




Syllabus_2050_3 (Acrobat (PDF) 149kB Feb19 14)

Teaching Materials:

Christopherson, Geosystems 8th edition

References and Notes: