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

Course description

The weather forecasts we see every day are based an army of meteorological sensing networks and intensive computer modeling. Before the rise of these technologies, forecasts were made by understanding 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!

Course Outline

Physical processes in weather systems

Winds, weather masses, clouds, fronts in the temperate zones

Other weather systems

Weather predictions: Linear and non-linear systems


Donner Professor of Science, Harvard University

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This course encourages student to re-imagine the sector and pursue more sustainable T&T, focused on attenuating its negative impacts and advancing the contribution T&T makes to global citizenship and a more balanced economy and equitable society.

Registration Deadline