Earth Sciences (ESCI)
The scientific understanding of Earth systems as the causes of natural disasters, such as earthquakes, volcanoes, landslides, hurricanes, tornadoes, floods and tsunamis. 3 hrs. lec. Does not count toward Meteorology major.
The origin and evolutionary development of the universe, solar system and planet Earth. Geophysical behavior of the solid earth, including volcanism, mountain building and other manifestations of the Earth's dynamic interior. Does not count toward Meteorology major.
A broad overview of the biological, chemical, geological and physical characteristics of the ocean, the importance of the oceans to mankind and the environment. Does not count toward Meteorology major.
Methods and techniques used in the marine sciences, including introduction to navigation, plotting and evaluation of data pertaining to salinity, temperature, dissolved oxygen, primary productivity and current velocity. 2 hrs. lab. Mandatory coreq: ESCI 104. ESCI 104/105 together constitute a single laboratory course in earth sciences for purposes of the general education curriculum. Does not count toward Meteorology major.
Origin and evolution of the atmosphere; solar and terrestrial radiation; horizontal and vertical structure of the atmosphere; temperature, pressure and water in the air; vertical motion; cloud formation and cloud type; circulation systems, severe weather, climate and climate change. Does not count toward Meteorology major. Credit may not be received for ESCI 107 if ESCI 109 is taken, these are equivalent courses and will be treated as repeated course credit.
Origin and evolution of the atmosphere; solar and terrestrial radiation; horizontal and vertical structure of the atmosphere; temperature, pressure and water in the air; vertical motion; cloud formation and cloud type; circulation systems, severe weather, climate and climate change. Does not count toward Meteorology major. Credit may not be received for ESCI 109 if ESCI 107 is taken, these are equivalent courses and will be treated as repeated course credit.
Exploration of Earth systems and their relation to society, with focus on natural hazards and natural resources. Does not count toward Meteorology major.
A scientific experience directed toward an understanding of the dynamic earth, its origin and evolution and its place in the universe.Physical concepts from classical and modern physics, astronomy, cosmology, and the earth and atmospheric sciences, couched in the language of algebra and supported by observation, experiment and theory. Prereq: MATH 101 with C- or higher or MPT 151 with C- or higher, or MATH 151 or MATH 161 or MATH 163 or MATH 204 (151, 161, 163, 204, grade of C- or higher) or permission of instructor.
The nature and distribution of materials of the solid Earth - the dynamic processes by which they are formed and modified and the character of resulting geologic structures. 3 hrs. lec., 2 hrs. lab. Offered in fall, spring.
Methods of interpreting the geologic rock record, chronologic study of earth history and study of fossils as records of ancient life. Emphasis on the history of North America. 3 hrs. lec., 2 hrs. lab, field trips required. Prereq: C- or higher in ESCI 221.
Processes of landscape development in theory and in the context of the regional geomorphology of North America. 3 hrs. lec. Offered in fall of odd years. Prereq: C- or higher in ESCI 221.
Investigation of the geologic origin of Earth resources important to society (including energy resources, metals, industrial materials and evaporites); methods of resource evaluation, extraction and processing; and environmental impacts of resource extraction/use. 3 hrs. lec. Offered spring of even years.
Practical meteorological problems in air pollution, atmospheric experimentation and other aspects of the human environment. Instrumentation and data analysis methods in applied meteorology. 2 hrs. lec., 2 hrs. lab. Offered in spring and online in summer. Prereq: C- or higher in MATH 110 or 160 or 161 or 163H.
A survey of the field of oceanography including modern topics in the four subdisciplines of physical, geological, chemical, and biological oceanography. 3 hrs. lec., 2 hrs. lab. Overnight field trip may be required at discretion of professor. Prereq: C- or higher in MATH 101 (college algebra) or math placement into MATH 160 or higher.
Work on board small research vessels in the dynamic marine environment; use and application of standard oceanographic instruments and sampling devices; opportunities for independent research. 1 hr. lec., 4 hrs. lab. Offered only in summer at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station. Prereq: C- or higher in ESCI 261.
Introduction to the basic concepts of geospatial information systems applications for earth sciences students. Emphasis is on the use of GIS applications for solving problems in the earth sciences. Limited to earth sciences majors or minors who have completed one of the introductory earth sciences courses for majors. ESCI 281 and GEOG 295 may not both be taken for credit. 3 hrs. lec. Prereq: ESCI 221, 241 or 261.
Programming in computational methods emphasizing FORTRAN applied to the earth sciences; numerical solution of equations of motion; statistical properties of digital images; analysis of periodical phenomena; use of National Center for Atmospheric Research graphics library. 2 hrs. lec., 2 hrs. lab. Offered in fall. Prereq: MATH 211 and PHYS 231.
Co-Op Ed Experience in ESCI
Theory and practice of quantifying hydrologic phenonmena; field methods, data manipulation and environmental applications. 2 hrs. lec., 2 hrs. lab. Offered spring. Prereq: minimum of 45 credits, C- or higher in MATH 101 and any 200-level science course that counts towards a science degree, or permission of instructor.
Identification, crystal chemistry, crystallography and occurrence of common minerals; optical theory and interaction of light with crystals; mineral and rock identification through use of transmitted polarized light; identification, formation, and occurrence of common rocks. 3 hrs. lec., 3 hrs. lab. Offered fall of odd years. Prereq: C- or higher in 221.
Inorganic chemistry of surface waters; equilibrium thermodynamics, solubility and stability relationships of silicates and calcium carbonates; kinetics, acid-base reactions, redox equilibria; contaminants transport in natural waters; surficial materials weathering. 3 hrs. lec. Offered spring of odd years. Prereq: ESCI 221, CHEM 112; ENGL 110.
Cloud types and physical characteristics; cloud formation processes; precipitation types and formation processes; vertical stability and its relation to types of cloud and precipitation formation; lightning and other forms of atmospheric electricity; atmospheric optical phenomena such as rainbows, halos, mirages, etc. 3 hrs. lec. Prereq: C- or higher in ESCI 241, or PHYS 231. Coreq or Prereq: MATH 211.
Ageostrophic wind; quasi-geostrophic theory; theory and properties of atmospheric waves, including gravity waves, sound waves, internal waves, inertial-gravity waves; geostrophic adjustment; atmospheric instabilities, including inertial/slantwise instability, barotropic and baroclinic instability. 3 hrs. lec. Offered in spring. Prereq: ESCI 342.
Quantitative description and analysis of atmospheric radiation and its interaction with atmospheric constituents (gases, aerosol, and clouds) and the land and ocean surfaces. Topics include properties of radiation, the electromagnetic spectrum, reflection and refraction, radiative properties of natural surfaces, thermal emission, atmospheric transmission, atmospheric emission (the Schwarzschild Equation) and absorption, scattering and absorption by molecules and particles, radiative transfer with multiple scattering, numerical modeling of atmospheric radiation, relevance for climate and weather. Prereq: C- or higher in ESCI 241, or PHYS 231. Coreq or Prereq: MATH 311.
Orbital and radiative transfer physics applied to satellite meteorology systems. Contemporary applications of satellite remote sensing of the atmosphere, including the retrieval of cloud microphysics and precipitation, the generation of atmospheric vertical profiles of temperature and moisture, the retrieval of wind, and image interpretation in the context of weather forecasting. 3 hrs. lec. Offered in fall of even years. Prereq: ESCI 241; MATH 161 or MATH 163.
Theory, application, methods of analysis and instrumentation relevant to a study of the chemistry of the atmosphere. 3 hrs. of integrated lecture/lab/ working group activities. May be used as an elective in meteorology and environmental chemistry if not counted as "P" course. Prereq: Minimum of 36 credit hours, COMM 100, ENGL 110; junior status; CHEM 104 or CHEM 111; and PHYS 132 or PHYS 232.
Overall intellectual and institutional development of meteorology from Aristotle to present, with emphasis on the 20th century. Historical overviews of dynamic meteorology and numerical weather prediction, observational tools (the history of radar and satellites) and computational devices, cloud microphysics and dynamics, hurricanes, convective storms and climatology. Spotlights key scientists and their role in the advancement of atmospheric sciences. 3 hrs. lec. Prereq: ESCI 107, 109, or ESCI 241; and HIST 101 or 102 or 106, or 340; COMM 100, ENGL 110 and junior status.
H:History of Meteorology
Sedimentary and tectonic characteristics of the continental margins and deep ocean basins; principles and processes of sediment transport and deposition in the marine environment; applications of geophysical methods at sea; marine mineral resources. 3 hrs. lec. Offered only in summers of even years at the Chincoteague Bay Field Station. Prereq: C- or higher in ESCI 261 or 221.
Oceanic chemical phenomena, including structure of water, salinity, sources and sinks of chemical constituents; chemical interactions at interfaces between hydrosphere and atmosphere, lithosphere and biosphere; biogeochemical cycles of nutrients; the carbon-dioxide-carbonate system; origin and history of seawater; anthropogenic effects. Prereq: C- or higher in ESCI 261 and CHEM 111.
This course will give the student a broad background in Marine Resources including biological, transportation, oil and gas, methane hydrates, minerals and freshwater, recreation, endangered species, energy and waste disposal. The course will also give an overview on National and International Law Applied to the marine environment. Topics on Marine policies including marine environmental policy, International fisheries policy, Marine transportation and safety policy, etc. will be discussed and related to geographical, socio-economic and political issues affecting Marine Resources, Sustainability and Marine Conservation. News clips, articles in journals, case studies of issues relevant to the topics above will be discussed in an open, free and debate like atmosphere that is designed to develop student’s critical thinking skills in a deliberate and structured way. Prereq: COMM 100 or 100H, ENGL 110 or 110H, junior standing and any 200-level course in ESCI, BIOL or GEOG.
Physical properties of seawater; mass and energy budgets of the ocean; typical distribution of water characteristics, global balances; the conservation equations; equations of motion; fluid motion in rotating systems. Conservation of vorticity; wind and thermohaline circulation; currents and eddies; wind-generated waves; tides and other waves; Exchange of buoyancy and heat fluxes in the atmosphere-ocean boundary layer; Climate Change and the Ocean. A required course for Ocean Sciences and Coastal Studies majors and elective for other earth sciences programs. Combination of lecture and laboratory exercises. 2 hrs. lec., 2 hrs. lab. Offered in fall of odd years. Prereq: ESCI 261 or ESCI 241; MATH 161, PHYS 131 or PHYS 231, or permission of Instructor. 3.000 Credit hours 2.000 Lecture hours 2.000 Lab hours.
Principles of remote sensing; fundamentals of image visualization; radiative transfer equation; use of environmental, meteorological and oceano- graphic satellites; satellite algorithm and parameter estimation; use of Environment for Visualizing Images (ENVI) software for image analysis and interpretation. Basic computer literacy is assumed. 2 hrs. lec., 2 hrs. lab. Research project is required. Prereq: ESCI 221 or 241 or 261.
Interdisciplinary investigation of the causes and solutions of water crises. Topics such as the sources of fresh water, the use and consumption of water, and regional and international conflict over water rights will be discussed. Current water crises from across the globe will be used to highlight societal differences in water use and preservation. Prereq: Minimum of 60 credits, ENGL 110 and any ESCI course or permission of instructor.
Evolution of the Earth's habitable atmosphere and oceans; mechanisms that control climate processes and change; past global climate change as deciphered through paleoclimatic and paleoceanographic methods; recent rapid climate fluctuations and possible future changes. 3 hrs. lec. Prereq: ENGL 110; ESCI 241 or 261 or GEOG 230.
Use of scientific programming languages for analysis and display of data. Topics include: data types; syntax and control statement; use of plotting and graphics libraries; reading and writing data sets in ASCII, binary, NetCDF, and other formats; spectral analysis; statistical operations; matrix operations. 2 hrs. lec., 2 hrs. lab. Offered in spring. Prereq: ESCI 282 or CSCI 161; MATH 211 and PHYS 231.
Detailed investigation of a topic of current research interest. Topic to be announced each time course is offered. Credit and meeting hours variable, depending on topic offered. Offered infrequently. Prereq: completion of 60 credits.
Co-Op Ed Experience in ESCI
Examination and interpretation of geologic materials and structures in the field. Students prepare a geologic map, stratigraphic column and structural cross-sections of an assigned field area. Prereq: C- or higher in ESCI 321.
Geophysical methods applied to environmental assessment, resource exploration and civil engineering issues. Topics covered include seismic refraction and reflection, ground-penetrating radar, electrical resistivity, gravity, and geomagnetism. 2 hrs. lec., 2 hrs. lab. Offered fall of even years. Prereq: minimum of 60 credits, C- or higher in MATH 101 and any 200-level science course that counts towards a science degree, or permission of instructor.
Occurrence and behavior of groundwater; groundwater contamination and remediation; groundwater resource assessment, including aquifer test design and analysis; introduction to groundwater modeling. 2 hrs. lec., 2 hrs. lab. Prereq: minimum of 60 credits, C- or higher in MATH 101 and any 200-level science course that counts towards a science degree, or permission of instructor.
In-depth study of the space environment between the earth and sun; solar-terrestrial interactions; physics of the sun and space weather; obser- vations, modeling and prediction of space weather events; effects on life, property and infrastructure. 3 hrs. lec. Offered in spring of even years. Coreq: MATH 365; Prereq: ESCI 342 and either ESCI 340 or PHYS 233 or permission of instructor.
Application of atmospheric dynamics and atmospheric physics to the theoretical and empirical investigation of mid-latitude synoptic-scale meteorological processes. Topics include the diagnosis of synoptic-scale vertical motions, the circulation at fronts and the life cycle of the extratropical cyclone. 3 hrs. lec., 3 hrs. lab. Offered in fall. Prereq: ESCI 340, 341, 343.
Advanced synoptic and mesoscale weather analysis and forecasting skills. Students perform weather analysis exercises designed to complement the forecast process. Students prepare probabilistic meteorological forecasts and lead post-forecast discussions focused on lessons learned. 1 hr. lec., 2 hrs. lab. Offered in spring. Prereq: C- or higher in ESCI 441 and one semester of Campus Weather Service or by permission of instructor. Coreq: ESCI 444.
A comprehensive treatment of the components of the climate system, feedback mechanisms and interactions; mean state of the climate system; a detailed and in-depth treatment of the earth-atmosphere radiation balance and general circulation; natural and anthropogenic forcings and their effect on the climate system; climate models; and the current state of climate-observing networks and model validation. 2 hrs. lec., 2 hrs. applications and analysis. Offered in spring. Prereq: ESCI 343 or 369, ENGL 110.
Application of atmospheric dynamics and atmospheric physics to the theoretical and empirical investigation of mid-latitude mesoscale meteorological processes. Topics include atmospheric sounding analysis, pressure perturbations, mesoscale instabilities, the atmospheric boundary layer, air mass boundaries, convection initiation, organization of convection and tornadoes. 4 hrs. lec. Prereq: ESCI 441.
Descriptive and inference statistics, uncertainty, review of probability, empirical distributions, exploratory data analysis, parametric probability distributions, frequency and Bayesian inference, statistical forecasting and forecast verification, statistics in decision making, time series, multivariate statistics and normal distribution (MVN), principal component analysis (EOF), canonical correlation analysis (CCA), discriminant analysis, cluster analysis, thriving on the edge of chaos, effective complexity. Pre-req: C- or higher in MATH 211
Devices and platforms used to gather meteorological data; methods of data acquisition, reduction, error analysis and quality assurance; description of instrumentation, measurement techniques, observing systems and their deployment. 2 hrs. lec., 2 hrs. lab. Offered in fall of odd years. Prereq: ENGL 110, PHYS 232 and MATH 235.
Mean boundary layer characteristics; turbulence and its spectrum; governing equations to turbulent flow; prognostic equations for turbulent fluxes and variances; TKE; turbulence closure schemes; similarity theory; simulation techniques; convective and stable boundary layers; boundary layer clouds. 3 hrs. lec. Offered in spring of even years. Prereq: C- or higher in ESCI 342 and MATH 211.
Algorithms used in the display and interpretation of weather radar data; theory of electromagnetic radiation, principles of radar operation, Doppler radar and interpretation techniques; wind velocity, rainfall rates and detection of individual cells, multiple cells and turbulence. 3 hrs. lec. Offered in spring of even years. Prereq: C- or higher in ESCI 241, MATH 311. Coreq or Prereq: ESCI 342.
Advanced ocean sciences course investigating the physical, chemical and biological characteristics of the major pelagic ocean biomes from the polar through equatorial regions of the world ocean. Emphasis will be on the important marine plankton functional groups and how their abundances and rates of production are controlled by the circulation patterns of the ocean, ocean turbulence, food web structure, density stratification, the supply of nutrients and the availability of sunlight, and water transparency. 3 hrs. lec. Prereq: ESCI 363 and ESCI 369 or permission of instructor.
Intensive summer lecture and field course teaching the physical, chemical and biological factors controlling the structure and dynamics of marine ecosystems. Classroom instruction focuses on theoretical principles concerning the environmental control of phytoplankton communities by sunlight, nutrients and grazing. The dynamics and complexity of marine food webs including the phytoplankton, zooplankton and upper trophic levels. Laboratory and field instruction focuses on ocean monitoring and sampling from research vessels, biomass determination and identification of key plankton species, measurement of the rates of net and gross primary production using oxygen light-dark bottle experiments, and optical and chemical techniques of determining phytoplankton biomass and species composition. Approximately 40-50% of course time is spent in field. Prerequisites: C- or higher in ESCI 261 and completion of BIOL (211 or 221), or permission of instructor.
A comprehensive examination of some of the pressing ocean-related environmental issues of the 21st century using critical thinking and quantitative approaches. Emphasis on how human activities are changing ocean ecosystems and environments, and how sound scientific reasoning can reveal true cause-and-effect relationships that then may lead to viable solutions. Includes field and laboratory projects teaching modern techniques of water quality analysis, and case studies of provocative real-world marine environmental problems. 2 hrs. lec., 2 hrs lab. Prereq: ESCI 261 or permission of the instructor.
Advanced ocean sciences course covering the theory behind the most commonly used techniques of ocean sampling and the analysis and presentation of oceanographic data. In this course we will cover the meaning of data and the common types of oceanographic data, methods of ocean data collection, the meaning and importance of metadata, databases in ocean science community, the idea of geospatial data and the importance of frame of reference and time and space scales of interest, the variety of ways to analyze and present oceanographic data, and how to present data to maximize its informational content. 2 hrs. lec., 2 hrs. lab. Prereq: ESCI 261 or permission of instructor.
Supervised independent research in the earth sciences. Subject determined jointly by student and the problem supervisor. Permission of department chair and school dean required.
Co-Op Ed Experience in ESCI
Theory and practice of quantifying hydrologic phenomena; field methods, data manipulation and environmental applications. 2 hrs. lec., 2 hrs. lab. Offered spring semesters.