Durham University
Programme and Module Handbook

Undergraduate Programme and Module Handbook 2023-2024 (archived)

Module GEOL3387: Atmospheric circulation and dynamics

Department: Earth Sciences

GEOL3387: Atmospheric circulation and dynamics

Type Open Level 3 Credits 10 Availability Available in 2023/24 Module Cap None. Location Durham


  • None.


  • None.

Excluded Combination of Modules

  • None.


  • To introduce fundamental principles of atmospheric circulation and dynamics, and the analysis of atmospheric data.


  • Fundamentals of atmospheric motion.
  • Global energy budget and radiative transfer.
  • Structure and composition of the atmosphere.
  • Tropospheric and stratospheric circulation.
  • Atmospheric dispersion.
  • Climate modelling.

Learning Outcomes

Subject-specific Knowledge:
  • Explain the structure and circulation of the atmosphere, and how these are observed and modelled.
  • Describe how atmospheric processes may change in the future.
Subject-specific Skills:
  • Analyse and interpret atmospheric data from observations and from climate model simulations.
Key Skills:
  • Analyse data using Excel and/or programming.
  • Write clear and concise reports.

Modes of Teaching, Learning and Assessment and how these contribute to the learning outcomes of the module

  • This module will be delivered by the Department of Earth Sciences through flexible 3-hour sessions combining the lecture and practical, including discussion, and computer-based material.
  • The module will be assessed via one report, based on practical tasks worked on over several weeks, as well as one in-class test.

Teaching Methods and Learning Hours

Activity Number Frequency Duration Total/Hours
Lectures 10 Weekly 1 Hour 10
Practicals 10 Weekly 2 Hours 20
Preparation, online learning activities, reading 70
Total 100

Summative Assessment

Component: Coursework Component Weighting: 100%
Element Length / duration Element Weighting Resit Opportunity
Report 1500 words 60%
In-class Test 40%

Formative Assessment:

Online learning activities.

Attendance at all activities marked with this symbol will be monitored. Students who fail to attend these activities, or to complete the summative or formative assessment specified above, will be subject to the procedures defined in the University's General Regulation V, and may be required to leave the University