Institute for Atmospheric and Environmental Research

Lectures, exercises and seminars

Winter semester 2023/24

Course of studies in physics

List of courses:

  • Introduction to atmospheric physics
  • Introduction to atmospheric physics - Exercise
  • Seminar on atmospheric physics
  • Atmospheric physics: Project planning and control
  • Atmospheric physics: Methodological knowledge and presentation of results
  • Special Topics in Atmospheric Physics - Dynamics and Transport in the Stratosphere I
  • Special topics in atmospheric physics - Climate change: From process understanding to prediction
  • Special topics in atmospheric physics - Atmospheric Modelling
  • Atmospheric chemistry and dynamics (compact course)



Course "Computer Simulation in Science" (M.Sc.)

List of courses:

  • Introduction to Atmospheric Physics
  • Introduction to atmospheric physics - Exercise
  • Seminar on Atmospheric Physics



Focus on atmospheric physics

Introduction to atmospheric physics (Petzold, Hegglin)

PHYEAPV (Lecture, 4 hours per week):

  • Tue. 4-5:30 pm D.07.01
  • Thu. 4-5:30 pm D.07.01

Rhythm: weekly

First appointment: 17th October, 2023, 4 pm s.t

Last appointment: 1st February, 2024


There is a preliminary discussion for this lecture. The preliminary discussion will take place on 17th October, 2023, 4 pm s.t in D.07.01.
If you have any questions, please contact or

Content of the lecture:


General Introduction, The Earth as a Planet, Vertical Structure of the Atmosphere, Composition of the Atmosphere                                                                                                                     


Ideal Gas Equation, Virtual Temperature, Hydrostatic Equation, Barometric Height Formula, Scale Height, Geopotential, Hypsometric Equation, Concept of an Air Parcel, Dry Adiabatic Temperature Gradient, Potential Temperature, Water Vapor in the Atmosphere, Global Water Cycle, Wet Adiabatic Temperature Gradient, Atmospheric Temperature Profile, Stratification Stability, Brunt-Väisälä Frequency , stability criteria, gravity waves                                                                                                                                                                                  

Radiation in the system atmosphere:

Solar constant, mean solar radiation, absorption of solar radiation, Lambert-Beer's law, scattering, spectral distribution, basics of radiation transport, thermal radiation, radiation balance, greenhouse effect (natural, anthropogenic), total energy balance of the earth system, optical phenomena in the atmosphere 

Dynamics of the atmosphere:

Atmosphere as a fluid, coordinate systems, pressure gradient force, Coriolis force, geostrophic wind, gradient wind, cyclonic/anticyclonic flow, motion under the influence of frictional forces, influence of gravity, Navier-Stokes equation, continuity equation, convergence, divergence, vorticity, circulation, vorticity equation , potential vorticity, barotropic and baroclinic stratification, dynamics of the surface air layers, boundary layer meteorology    

Atmospheric Circulation:

Global circulation patterns, westerly wind drift, barotropic and baroclinic waves, fronts, cyclones and anticyclones, trade winds, Hadley cells, subtropical jet, temporal and spatial variations, El Nino-Southern oscillation, North Atlantic oscillation, stratospheric circulation

Chemistry of the atmosphere:   

Tropospheric chemistry, radical chemistry, HOx cycle, lifetime and distribution of trace gases, basics of reaction kinetics, stratospheric chemistry, ozone chemistry, halogen chemistry, polar stratospheric clouds

Recommended requirement:

Basic lectures in physics and mathematics

Examination performance:

Oral exam

In the Master's course: Additional written homework on a specific topic by arrangement

Qualification goal:

The students have an understanding of fundamental relationships in atmospheric physics and have Knowledge of basic equations of atmospheric physics. They know the connection between chemical and physical processes in the atmosphere. They have a well-founded overview of the Trace substance budget and the radiation balance of the earth as well as the atmospheric circulation. The graduates understand the basic phenomena of weather and climate.


John M. Wallace, Peter V. Hobbs, Atmospheric Science, Academic Press, 2006 One of the best introductory books on atmospheric physics! All areas are described very clearly and comprehensibly and examples are also explicitly calculated. There is also a website with lots of additional information for students, assignments, graphics, etc., unfortunately not cheap.



Exercise to introduction to atmospheric physics (Krebsbach)

PHYMEAVU (Exercise, 2 hours per week):

Rhythm: weekly

Appointments: 16th October, 2023 - 29th January, 2024 in room F.13.17



Seminar on Atmospheric Physics (Volk)

PHYMAPSS1 (Seminar, 2 hours per week):

  • Wed. 11-12:30 pm D.07.01

Rhythm: Meeting in presence, weekly

First appointment: 11th October, 2023

Last appointment: 31st January, 2024

Seminar plan wil be uploaded soon

Recommended requirement:

Participation in the lecture "Introduction to Atmospheric Physics"

Examination to be performed:

Presentation of a current topic of atmospheric research by arrangement

Qualification goal:                                                                                                                 

The students are able to work out a selected topic from the fields of atmospheric dynamics and trace substance transport independently and to present this in a seminar lecture. They master information research in the literature and on the Internet as well as the preparation of information for a presentation. Students can present the topic treated in a way that is appropriate for the target group and design it didactically.                                                                                                                                                                               




Atmospheric Physics: Project planning and control (Volk)

PHYMAPPK1S (Seminar, 2 hours per week):

  • Mon. 11-12:30 D.07.01

First appointment: 16th October, 2023

Last appointment: 29th January, 2024



Atmospheric physics: Methodological knowledge and presentation of results (Volk)

PHYMAPMLS1 (Seminar, 2 hours per week):

  • Mon. 15:30-17:00 D.07.01

First appointment: 9th October, 2023

Last appointment: 29th January, 2024


The seminar is a literature seminar, which is also referred to as the "Journal Club" at other universities and occurs in many variations. The objectives of this seminar are to keep the participants up to date on research, to facilitate the implementation of findings in research everyday life and to promote the ability of critical reading. There is a tremendous (still increasing) amount of literature, and this extensive offer calls for a high level of competence and effective techniques for critically handling this information. The versatility of the seminar and the broad spectrum of treated Magazines relevant to atmospheric research bring a considerable wealth of experience and knowledge to both students and members of the working group.




Special Topics in Atmospheric Physics - Dynamics and Transport in the Stratosphere I (Volk)

PHYMAPSTV2a (Lecture, 4 hours per week):

  • Thu. 2-4 pm D.07.01

First appointment: 12th October, 2023

Last appointment: 1st February, 2024



Special topics in atmospheric physics - Climate change: From process understanding to prediction (Riese, Müller)

PHYMAPSTV3 (Lecture, 4 hours per week):

  • Wed. 2-4:30 pm D.07.01

First appointment: 11th October, 2023

Last appointment: 31th January, 2024


Lecture is held in attendance. If you are interested, please contact Prof. Martin Riese ( by email by October 9th, as the preliminary meeting will take place via video conference on October 11th.



Special topics in atmospheric physics - Atmospheric Modelling (Plöger)

Link (2 SWS lecture + 2 SWS exercises):


The lecture date is weekly
Fridays 10:15 - 13:30

(2 SWS lecture + 2 SWS exercises)

We'll have a preliminary discussion on Fr, 20.10., 10:15 - this preliminary discussion will be online via the BigBlueButton conference room

Password: 066963

It would be great if interested people send me their email address (to, and I will provide links to the lecture slides and exercises.


In this lecture we will deal with the topic of atmospheric modelling. We will start with an overview about different types of atmospheric models, followed by a short course on the basic structure of the atmosphere and the governing equations for atmospheric dynamics and transport. As an example for conceptual mathematical models we will first consider lower dimensional models of the stratospheric Brewer-Dobson circulation (e.g., two-dimensional transformed Eulerian Mean). Thereafter, we will discuss different modelling techniques (e.g., Eulerian and Lagrangian modelling frameworks) and different numerical approaches used in atmospheric models. Here, we will consider finite difference, finite volume, spectral and finite element methods and different model grids and vertical coordinate systems used in atmospheric models. A short outline is:
- Introduction: Types of "models''
- Atmospheric structure and model equations for transport and dynamics
- Conceptual lower-dimensional mathematical models (example: stratospheric
Brewer-Dobson circulation)
- Numerical models
- Numerical approaches for atmospheric models
- Numerical methods for advection
- Statistical modelling and data analysis methods

Recommended requirement

"Introduction to Atmospheric Physics". In addition "Atmospheric Dynamics" would be very helpful.

Examination to be performed

weekly exercises and homework, final oral exam

Target group

Master students in Physics and Ph.D. students in atmospheric physics
Master students in Computer Simulation in Science (CSiS)

Teaching methodes

2 SWS lecture + 2 SWS tutorial with practical hands-on exercises


G. Brasseur and D. Jacob, "Modeling of Atmospheric Chemistry", Cambridge University Press, 2017.

M. Jacobson, "Fundamentals of atmospheric modelling"

J. Holton, "An Introduction to Dynamic Meteorology", Elsevier Academic Press, 2004.




Atmospheric chemistry and dynamics (compact course) (Thorsten Benter / Jörg Kleffmann)

CHE303111 (Lecture):

  • Monday, October 16th, 2023 08:30 am - Friday, October 20th, 2023, 4:45 pm

Duration: October 16th, 2023 - October 20th, 2023
Rhythm: Compact Course

Short comment:

Deadline for registration:  August 13th, 2023
For the schedule of the lectures, see:

You can find the registration form here:



1. Semester (Computer Simulation in Science)

Introduction to Atmospheric Physics (Petzold, Hegglin)

  • Tue 16-18 D.07.01
  • Thu 16-18 D.07.01

Introduction to Atmospheric Physics - Exercise (KrebsbachPetzold, Hegglin)

3. Semester (Computer Simulation in Science)

Seminar on Atmospheric Physics (Volk)

  • Wed 11-12:30 D.07.01                                                                                                        

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