Prerequisites for the MSc courses
Good knowledge of physics and mathematics are required for the MSc courses in Meteorology. While many students will have used mathematics and physics in their undergraduate degrees, there may be some areas of knowledge and techniques that have been forgotten since study at A level.
This page is designed to give an overview of the topics that it is useful to have a basic knowledge of before starting the MSc courses. There are topics in maths, physics and meteorology and included are links to self-teaching material. Students should make sure they understand these topics before starting the course, although help will be available during the course.
This page provides information for the following courses:
- MSc Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate (AOC)
- MSc Applied Meteorology (AM)
- MSc Applied Meteorology and Climate with Management (AMCM)
All courses (AOC, AM and AMCM)
Maths
- Algebra: Manipulation of fractions, equations and powers
- Logarithms and exponentials
- Angles: Radians and degrees and Trigonometric functions
- Spherical Geometry: radius, circumference, arclength
- Forces and velocity and acceleration (Section 2)
- Force diagrams
- Gradients- definition and discrete estimates
- Tangent and normal (perpendicular) vectors
- Derivatives and Integrals
- Differentiation (including the product and quotient rules and chain rule )and Integration
- Partial differentiation
Physics
- Basic thermal physics: Boyle's law , the ideal gas law, diffusion and heat transfer- conduction, covection and radiation
- Basic mechanics: Newton's laws of motion , law of gravitation, momentum , kinetic energy and potential energy
- Linear approximations using Taylor series
- Technical problem solving: Significant figures , estimation, orders of magnitude
- Problem solving skills: know how to translate a physical situation into a solvable problem. Have a look at these 10 steps and this video.
AOC only
Maths
- Vector Calculus: gradient, divergence and curl, Green's theorem, Stokes' theorem, divergence theorem and surface integrals
- Simple Harmonic Motion (Sections 1 and 2 only)
- Taylor expansions
- Differentiation: separation of variables
- Worksheet
This maths worksheet covers some extra topics, such as complex numbers, and will need to be handed in near the beginning of the autumn term. It contains revision notes and exercises to be attempted so lecturers know where more help will be needed. It is available now so you can have a look at it before starting the course.
Physics
- Inertial and non-inertial frames of reference
- First law of thermodynamics
- Second law of thermodynamics and entropy
Computing
Using computers to simulate weather and climate is a vital part of the study of meteorology. Many students have little or no experience of computer programming before starting the MSc course. The following links provide an introduction to using python, a programming language:- Codecademy This starts you off with python and can be done in a web browser (no software needed for installation)
- Hour of Code A similar tutorial, aimed at kids, but still a useful introduction
AM and AMCM only
Maths
Meteorology
The following books are suggested reading that will give you a good background before starting the AM and AMCM courses. There is no requirement to buy any books before starting the course, and any required reading will be available in the department library for use during the course. However if you wish to get hold them from a library the reading will put you in a good position for beginning the course.
- Understand the Weather by Peter Inness (Hodder Headline, 2010) (especially Chapter 8)
- Meteorological Measurements and Instrumentation by Giles Harrison (Wiley-Blackwell, coming soon!)