Mesoscale Meteorology


Mesoscale Meteorology (4 credits)
Spring Semester, 2021 

MWF, 11:15 AM – 1:10 PM, Zoom*

* Even though PSU does not require the use of your camera during class, I strongly encourage you to have your video turned on for class.  If this is not possible, please at least consider adding a photo of yourself to your Zoom profile so that I can see your face while your video is off.  

Prof. Paul Markowski, 520 Walker, email:, web: (Links to an external site.); Office hours: Fridays, 2:00–3:00 pm, via Zoom ( (Links to an external site.)

Teaching Assistant
Sam Wray, email:; Office hours: Tuesdays, 3:30–4:30 pm, via Zoom ( (Links to an external site.))

Required Textbook
Mesoscale Meteorology in Midlatitudes by P. Markowski and Y. Richardson. Available from Amazon here (Links to an external site.).

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Assistance with Textbooks

Penn State honors and values the socioeconomic diversity of our students. If you require assistance with the costs of textbooks for this course, contact the Office of Student Care and Advocacy (120 Boucke Building, 863-4926, (Links to an external site.)). For additional needs related to socioeconomic status please visit (Links to an external site.).

Exam Policy

Students will be evaluated by way of three exams. The first two exams will be held during class the weeks of February 22 and March 29.  The third exam will be held during final exam week (the week of May 3). Except for illness, make-up exams will be conducted only for students who make arrangements with me prior to the scheduled exam time.

Grading Policy

Exams contribute 75% toward the final grade (the scores, ranked from best to worst, contribute 35%, 25%, and 15%).  Lab assignments contribute 20%.  Class participation contributes 5%.  

Lab Assignments

Students may collaborate on lab assignments, but the final product to be handed in must be your own work.  Lab assignments typically will be due within a few days or up to a week after the initial date of assignment.  Technical accuracy, grammar, spelling, punctuation, and neatness will be considered in the lab grades.  Labs submitted from 1–24 hours late will receive a 25% deduction, those submitted 24–48 hours late will receive a 50% deduction, those submitted 48–72 hours late will receive a 75% deduction, and those submitted more than 72 hours late will not be accepted.


Students who do not meet the prerequisites (METEO 411, 421, 431) may be dis-enrolled during the first 10-day free add-drop period after being informed in writing by the instructor (see (Links to an external site.)). If you have not completed the listed prerequisites, then promptly consult with the instructor if you have not done so already. Students who re-enroll after being dis-enrolled according to this policy are in violation of Item 15 on the Student Code of Conduct ( to an external site.).

Academic Integrity

Students in this class are expected to write-up their problem sets individually and to work the exams on their own. Class members may work on the problem sets in groups, but then each student must write-up their answers separately.  Students are not to copy problem or exam answers from another person's paper and present them as their own; students may not plagiarize text from papers or websites written by others.  Students who present other people's work as their own will receive at least a 0 on the assignment and may well receive an F or XF in the course. Please see the Earth and Mineral Sciences Academic Integrity Policy ( (Links to an external site.)), which this course adopts.  To learn more, see Penn State's "Plagiarism Tutorial for Students." 

Course Copyright

All course materials students receive or to which students have online access are protected by copyright laws. Students may use course materials and make copies for their own use as needed, but unauthorized distribution and/or uploading of materials without the instructor’s express permission is strictly prohibited. University Policy AD 40, the University Policy Recording of Classroom Activities and Note Taking Services addresses this issue. Students who engage in the unauthorized distribution of copyrighted materials may be held in violation of the University’s Code of Conduct, and/or liable under Federal and State laws.

For example, uploading completed labs, homework, or other assignments to any study site constitutes a violation of this policy.

Accommodations for Students with Disabilities

Penn State welcomes students with disabilities into the University's educational programs. Every Penn State campus has an office for students with disabilities. The Student Disability Resources (SDR) website provides contact information for every Penn State campus at (Links to an external site.). For further information, please visit the Student Disability Resources website ( (Links to an external site.)).

In order to receive consideration for reasonable accommodations, you must contact the appropriate disability services office at the campus where you are officially enrolled, participate in an intake interview, and provide documentation: (Links to an external site.). If the documentation supports your request for reasonable accommodations, your campus’s disability services office will provide you with an accommodation letter. Please share this letter with your instructors and discuss the accommodations with them as early in your courses as possible. You must follow this process for every semester that you request accommodations.


Regular attendance is critical for building on the skills and knowledge developed throughout the class. Students who participate have a more complete understanding of the material presented and are more likely to succeed in the class. This is true whether your attendance is in-person or remote.

Reporting Bias-Motivated Incidents

Penn State takes great pride to foster a diverse and inclusive environment for students, faculty, and staff. Acts of intolerance, discrimination, or harassment due to age, ancestry, color, disability, gender, gender identity, national origin, race, religious belief, sexual orientation, or veteran status are not tolerated ( (Links to an external site.)) and can be reported through Educational Equity via the Report Bias webpage (Links to an external site.)

Counseling and Psychological Services

Many students at Penn State face personal challenges or have psychological needs that may interfere with their academic progress, social development, or emotional wellbeing.  The university offers a variety of confidential services to help you through difficult times, including individual and group counseling, crisis intervention, consultations, online chats, and mental health screenings.  These services are provided by staff who welcome all students and embrace a philosophy respectful of clients’ cultural and religious backgrounds, and sensitive to differences in race, ability, gender identity and sexual orientation. Services include the following: 

Counseling and Psychological Services at University Park  (CAPS) (Links to an external site.): 814-863-0395
Counseling and Psychological Services at Commonwealth Campuses (Links to an external site.)
Penn State Crisis Line (24 hours/7 days/week): 877-229-6400
Crisis Text Line (24 hours/7 days/week): Text LIONS to 741741 

Penn State E-mail Accounts

All official communications from Penn State are sent to students' Penn State e-mail accounts. Be sure to check your Penn State account regularly, or forward your Penn State e-mail (see (Links to an external site.)) to your preferred e-mail account, so you don't miss any important information.

Deferred Grades

If you are prevented from completing this course within the prescribed amount of time, it is possible to have the grade deferred with the concurrence of the instructor. To seek a deferred grade, you must submit a written request (by e-mail or U.S. post) to your instructor describing the reason(s) for the request. It is up to your instructor to determine whether or not you will be permitted to receive a deferred grade. If, for any reason, the course work for the deferred grade is not complete by the assigned time, a grade of "F" will be automatically entered on your transcript.

Military Personnel

Veterans and currently serving military personnel and/or spouses with unique circumstances (e.g., upcoming deployments, drill/duty requirements, disabilities, VA appointments, etc.) are welcome and encouraged to communicate these, in advance if possible, to the instructor in the case that special arrangements need to be made.


The term "Netiquette" refers to the etiquette guidelines for electronic communications, such as e-mail and bulletin board postings. Netiquette covers not only rules to maintain civility in discussions, but also special guidelines unique to the electronic nature of forum messages. Please review some general Netiquette guidelines (Links to an external site.) that should be followed when communicating in this course.

Disruptive Behavior

Behavior that disrupts normal classroom activities will not be tolerated, in accordance with Items 9 and 14 in the Student Code of Conduct (Links to an external site.)


In the case of an emergency, we will follow the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences Critical Incident Plan ( (Links to an external site.)). In the event of an evacuation, we will follow posted evacuation routes and gather at the Designated Meeting Site. Evacuation routes for all EMS buildings are available at (Links to an external site.). For more information regarding actions to take during particular emergencies, please see the Penn State Emergency Action Guides (Links to an external site.).

Mandated Reporting Statement

Penn State’s policies require me, as a faculty member, to share information about incidents of sex-based discrimination and harassment (discrimination, harassment, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and retaliation) with Penn State’s Title IX coordinator or deputy coordinators, regardless of whether the incidents are stated to me in person or shared by students as part of their coursework.  For more information regarding the University's policies and procedures for responding to reports of sexual or gender-based harassment or misconduct, please visit Penn State's Office of Sexual Misconduct and Prevention & Response (Links to an external site.) website.

Additionally, I am required to make a report on any reasonable suspicion of child abuse in accordance with the Pennsylvania Child Protective Services Law (Links to an external site.)

Diversity, Inclusion, and Respect

Penn State is “committed to creating an educational environment which is free from intolerance directed toward individuals or groups and strives to create and maintain an environment that fosters respect for others” as stated in Policy AD29 Statement on Intolerance. All members of this class are expected to contribute to a respectful, welcoming and inclusive environment and to interact with civility.

For additional information, see:

Disclaimer Statement

Please note that the specifics of this Course Syllabus can be changed at any time, and you will be responsible for abiding by any such changes. Changes to the syllabus shall also be given to the student in written (paper or electronic) form.