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Programme: BScHons Meteorology

Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
Minimum duration of study: 1 year
Total credits: 135

Programme information

Renewal of registration

  1. Subject to exceptions approved by the Dean, on the recommendation of the head of department, and in the case of distance education where the Dean formulates the stipulations that will apply, a student may not sit for an examination for the honours degree more than twice in the same module.
  2. A student for an honours degree must complete his or her study, in the case of full-time students, within two years and, in the case of after-hours students, within three years of first registering for the degree and, in the case of distance education students, within the period stipulated by the Dean. Under special circumstances, the Dean, on the recommendation of the head of department, may give approval for a limited extension of this period.

In calculating marks, General Regulation G.12.2 applies.

Apart from the prescribed coursework, a research project is an integral part of the study.

Admission requirements

In addition to the requirements of General Regulations G.1.3 and G.62 an appropriate bachelor's degree is a prerequisite: a candidate with an average of less than 60% in the major subjects in the final year of the bachelor’s degree will only be admitted with the approval of the Dean on the recommendation of the head of department. Additional conditions may be prescribed by the head of department.

A BSc in Meteorology degree  
An appropriate bachelor’s degree with second-year mathematics and first-year physics.
WKD 155  Atmospheric structure and processes
WKD 164  Climate and weather of Southern Africa
WKD 261  Physical meteorology
GMA 220  Remote sensing
WKD 263  Introduction to dynamical meteorology
WKD 352  Atmospheric vorticity and divergence
WKD 361  Quasi-geostrophic analysis
WKD 366  Fundamentals of weather forecasting
WTW 114 Calculus*
WTW 128 Calculus* AND WTW 126 Linear algebra* OR WTW 124
WTW 218 Calculus*
WTW 248 Vector Analysis *
PHY 171   First course in physics* or PHY 114 and PHY 124
(*or an equivalent qualification as approved by the head of the department.)


Pass with distinction

The BScHons degree is awarded with distinction to a candidate who obtains a weighted average of at least 75% in all the prescribed modules and a minimum of 65% in any one module.

Minimum credits: 135

Minimum credits:  135

Core credits:          99

Elective credits:     36

Other programme-specific information:

Appropriate honours modules from the other disciplines in the Department or Faculty may be taken on approval by the Honours coordinator or Head of Department.

Core modules

WKD 704 Numerical modelling: applications 704 Credits: 12.00

Module content:

Initial atmospheric state, observation network, data assimilation, initialization, parameterisation, post-processing.  Ensemble methods, probability forecasting, forecast verification.  Global circulation models, limited-area and mesoscale models, variable resolution models, dispersion models.  Seamless prediction.  Practical applications.

WKD 706 Dynamic meteorology 706 Credits: 16.00

Module content:

Atmospheric oscillations:  Linear perturbation theory (shallow water gravity waves, inertia gravity waves, Rossby waves).  Baroclinic instability.  Two-layer model.  Energetics of Baroclinic waves.  Zonally averaged circulation.  Angular momentum budget.  Lorenz energy cycle. Programming in metereology.

WKD 707 Radar meteorology 707 Credits: 12.00

Module content:

Basic principles and characteristics of the weather radar. The influence of the atmosphere on the propogation of electro-magnetic waves. Weather radar equation. The influence of attenuation on observations. The measurement of precipation with a radar. Doppler Radar. Convective storm analysis with radar.

WKD 731 Overview of tropical and mid-latitude meteorology 731 Credits: 12.00

Module content:

An overview of the weather and climate of the tropics and the mid-latitudes.  Air masses.  Instability and cloud formation. Weather systems of the tropics and mid-latitudes.  Analysis of weather systems by utilising remote sensed data.

WKD 733 Satellite meteorology 733 Credits: 12.00

Module content:

Overview of the basic principles of satellite imagery. Types of meteorological satellites. Basic principles of radiation. The different images available, their resolution and the advantages and limitations of each image. Image interpretation.

WKD 763 Research project 763 Credits: 35.00

Module content:

Introduction to the philosophy of scientific research.  Hypothesis testing.  Reporting of scientific research.  Identification of an appropriate research project.  Compilation of a research proposal.  Literature survey.  Acquisition and manipulation of information.  Introduction to innovative strategy and research management.  Preparation of a research report (or paper).  Presentation of research findings.

Elective modules

BME 780 Statistics for biological sciences 780 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

The principles of experimental design as required for the selection of an appropriate research design. Identification of the design limitations and the impact thereof on the research hypotheses and the statistical methods. Identification and application of the appropriate statistical methods needed. Interpreting of statistical results and translating these results to the biological context.

BOT 700 Natural woodland and forests: Ecology and management 700 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

Definitions of woodlands and forests and vegetation and forest resources in southern Africa; Classification of forest and woodland in southern Africa; Woodland dynamics including disturbance, recruitment, growth and mortality, recovery after disturbance; Ecosystem services (microclimate and nutrient cycling, carbon sequestration etc); Sustainable forest resource management (resource assessment, socio-economic assessment e.g. wood and non-forest products, participatory resource management processes); Forest health; Monitoring of resource-use impacts and adaptive management; Development of a framework for sustainable conservation and use of non-timber forest products; Climate change and resilience. Forest disease and pathology.

EHM 772 Basis in environmental health 772 Credits: 5.00

EOH 775 Introduction to environmental and occupational health 775 Credits: 10.00

GMA 705 Advanced remote sensing 705 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

The aim of the module is to provide knowledge and understanding of image analysis and information extraction methods in remote sensing.  The emphasis is on equipping students with knowledge and skills necessary to process imagery to extract diverse biophysical and geospatial information.  The course gives insight into the possibilities and limitations of the application of modern remote sensing/image acquisition systems for Earth and atmosphere research purposes at different levels of detail.

GTX 716 Environmental management and risk assessment 716 Credits: 15.00

Module content:

Principles of integrated environmental management; environmental impact assessment; environmental management systems (ISO 14000 series); water resource management; environmental legislation; site investigation guidelines; natural hazard risk assessment; seismicity; project management and professional business practice.Geological models and software.

TBE 714 Responsible ecotourism management 714 Credits: 20.00

Module content:

This module focuses on managing ecotourism (including the natural and cultural resource base) following eco-principles and guidelines in order to provide a framework for sustainable/responsible tourism development in response to community needs within the Southern African context. The concepts of ecotourism, alternative tourism, responsible tourism and geotourism are debated.The management of ecotourism is studied  from a theoretical perspective addressing issues such as the planning, design and sustainable development of eco-facilities and spaces; co-creation and the experienced tourist; the greening of the environment; and managing sustainable events; against the backdrop of climate change using local, national and international case studies. The aim is to provide students with a holistic perspective of ecotourism and to hone their entrepreneurial view to issues within this arena in order to apply sustainable eco-principles to various situations, ranging from green architectural structures and spaces to sustainable community and pro-poor tourism projects. 

WKD 703 Seasonal and climate modelling 703 Credits: 12.00

Module content:

Fundamentals of seasonal forecasting.  The El Niño/Southern Oscillation.  Empirical orthogonal functions.  Canonical correlation analysis.  Empirical forecast models practical.  Sea-surface temperature models.  Fully coupled and two-tiered general circulation modelling.  Dynamical and empherical downscaling techniques.   Significance testing using Monte Carlo techniques.  Modelling pitfalls.  User application forecasting.  Projections of decadal and multi dacadal climate anomalies.

WKD 719 Boundary layer meteorology 719 Credits: 12.00

Module content:

Introduction to, and the importance of the boundary layer.  Structure of the boundary layer.  Transfer of heat (molecular and turbulent).  Impacts of the turbulent nature of the boundary layer on the dynamics of atmospheric motions.  Closure and boundary layer parameterisation.  Applications to air pollution dispersion.

WKD 734 Mesoscale meteorology 734 Credits: 12.00

Module content:

An introduction to mesoscale meteorology. Surface mesoscale features, instability, severe storm classification and thunderstorms, flooding and flash flooding events.

WKD 736 Selected themes 736 Credits: 12.00

Module content:

A module on an aspect or aspects of meteorology not covered in the existing options with special emphasis in Cloud microphysics and Basic concepts of numberical modelling.

WKD 781 Cloud dynamics 781 Credits: 12.00

Module content:

Scaling and interpretation of equations of motion for mesoscale processes.  The role of stability and other trigger actions on initial cloud formation and the evolution of clouds.  Shallow and deep convective processes. Tropical and mid-latitude cloud generation processes and characteristics. Cloud splitting. Parameterisation of radiation and heat in atmospheric models. Microphysics parameterisations in numerical models.