ATSC 303 · Methods in Atmospheric Science

An introduction to instrumentation used in monitoring the state of the atmosphere; a brief survey of methods of analysis of meteorological data. [2-2-0]
Prerequisite: One of EOSC 211, CPSC 111 and one of ATSC 201, GEOB 200.

Course Availability & Schedule

Course Webpage

 Alternate year course

Even year start – Term 2

Learning Goals

This course focuses on in-situ weather instruments.

By the end of this course, you should be able to:
• use traditional and electronic weather instruments
• use and program modern data loggers
• explain how weather instruments work and describe their accuracy
• design and implement measurement strategies
• analyze data, including error propagation


Prof. Roland Stull, and Dr. Rosie Howard


Required Readings From:

"Meteorological Measurement Systems"
by Fred V. Brock and Scott J. Richardson
• ISBN-10: 0195134516
• ISBN-13: 978-0195134513
• Hardcover: 304 pages
• Publisher: Oxford University Press (Jan 15 2001)

Every chapter except one of the Chapters will be assigned readings. 

Students with UBC internet addresses can also access a free online version of the textbook.


Online CIMO (WMO-8) Guide to Meteorological Instruments and Methods of Observation.

Course Content

Lecture Topics

Week Topic Chapter
1 Overview 1, Appendix A
2 Thermometry 4, Appendix D and B
3 Data Loggers, Sampling, and analog-to-Digital Conversion 13, Appendix C
4 Barometry 2
5 Static Performance Characteristics of Instruments 3
6 Hygrometry 5
7 Dynamic Performance Characteristics of Instruments 6
8 Anemometry 7
9 Precipitation Rate 9
10 Solar and Earth Radiation 10
11 Visibility and Cloud Height 11
12 Upper Air Measurements 12
13 Sensible and Latent Heat Fluxes Review and Catch-up