Choose your session:
Backyard Meteorology: The Science of Weather
About this courseSkip About this course
The weather forecasts we see every day are based on an army of meteorological sensing networks and intensive computer modeling. Before the rise of these technologies, predictions were made by methods like discerning cloud formations and wind directions.
This course will explore the science behind weather systems by teaching the observational skills needed to make a forecast without using instruments or computer models. We'll discuss the physical processes driving weather and the global forces that shape global climate systems. Finally, we will examine the limits of prediction in both human observations and computer models.
Can the flap of a butterfly's wings in Brazil set off a tornado in Texas? Take this course to find out!
At a glance
What you'll learnSkip What you'll learn
- The role of air, water, and wind in weather systems
- How to estimate local wind speed and direction
- How to avoid being struck by lightning
- How to identify cloud types and features
- How to describe the attributes of thunderstorms and tornadoes
- How to collect and interpret data and observations to predict the next day's weather
- The benefits and drawbacks of weather prediction methods
- The butterfly effect and its application to weather systems
- Physical processes in weather systems
- Winds, weather masses, clouds, fronts in the temperate zones
- Other weather systems
- Weather predictions: Linear and non-linear systems
About the instructors
Frequently Asked QuestionsSkip Frequently Asked Questions
Honor code statement
HarvardX requires individuals who enroll in its courses on edX to abide by the terms of the edX honor code. HarvardX will take appropriate corrective action in response to violations of the edX honor code, which may include dismissal from the HarvardX course; revocation of any certificates received for the HarvardX course; or other remedies as circumstances warrant. No refunds will be issued in the case of corrective action for such violations. Enrollees who are taking HarvardX courses as part of another program will also be governed by the academic policies of those programs.
By registering as an online learner in our open online courses, you are also participating in research intended to enhance HarvardX's instructional offerings as well as the quality of learning and related sciences worldwide. In the interest of research, you may be exposed to some variations in the course materials. HarvardX does not use learner data for any purpose beyond the University's stated missions of education and research. For purposes of research, we may share information we collect from online learning activities, including Personally Identifiable Information, with researchers beyond Harvard. However, your Personally Identifiable Information will only be shared as permitted by applicable law, will be limited to what is necessary to perform the research, and will be subject to an agreement to protect the data. We may also share with the public or third parties aggregated information that does not personally identify you. Similarly, any research findings will be reported at the aggregate level and will not expose your personal identity.
Harvard University and HarvardX are committed to maintaining a safe and healthy educational and work environment in which no member of the community is excluded from participation in, denied the benefits of, or subjected to discrimination or harassment in our program. All members of the HarvardX community are expected to abide by Harvard policies on nondiscrimination, including sexual harassment, and the edX Terms of Service. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and/or report your experience through the edX contact form.