A PRACTICAL FRAMEWORK FOR LEARNING ABOUT WEATHER AND CLIMATE
This work is based on the results of an educational innovation project entitled “Weather, Climate and Energy in a practical teaching framework”, supported by the University of Granada. In this project, we developed practical exercises and problems for subjects related to Meteorology in the Environmental Science and Physics degrees using computer resources in order to stimulate both learning and autodidacticism. We tried to improve practical teaching of the subjects and to create a dynamic framework for learning via the analysis of real data.
The practical exercises and problems are based on real cases, and are resolved with the help of simple computer programs, done both in the computer classroom and also embedded within the web pages of both the Meteorology and Climatology core course for Environmental Science students, and the Physical Meteorology course for Physics students. These exercises include the study of aerological radiosonde data, time series of radiation data, the Foehn effect and mean sea level pressure calculation using a spreadsheet such as Excel. We also implemented a simple climate model based in the energy balance model proposed by Henderson-Sellers and MacGuffie with a graphical interface. Finally, we implemented a graphical interface to monitor the atmospheric state by means of satellite images in real time.
Working on these kinds of exercises and problems mitigates deficiencies of the Environmental Sciences students in numerical problem solving. Another benefit of the project is familiarization with common professional tools, data processing, and professional techniques used by meteorologists and environmental scientists.
As results of this project we have noted an improvement of the capacity of the students for the resolution of numerical problems and an increase in the number of students passing the courses.