All posts by Nicole Mölders

Since 1988, I have been involved in numerical modeling of the physics and chemistry of the atmosphere. I have used mesoscale models to investigate human and natural (e.g. fire, volcanic eruptions, anthropogenic emissions, land-use changes) impacts on weather, air quality and climate. In close cooperation with hydrologists and geologists I coupled a hydrologic and meteorological model and developed an integrative hydrometeorological model. I worked with computer scientists on optimizing chemistry transport models for parallel computers. I led several projects to study ground water recharge, dry deposition of reactive atmospheric trace gases, water availability under changed climate conditions, the impact of land-use changes on evapotranspiration, cloud and precipitation formation, and impacts of various emission sources on air quality and weather. From 1999 to 2001 I was honored as a Heisenberg Fellow for Physical Hydrology, a prestigious award conferred by the DFG. My scientific career in America dates back to 1989, when I worked as a visiting graduate student at the ASRC of the State University of New York (SUNY) at Albany. In 2000, I worked at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) at Boulder, Colorado. In 2001, I joined the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF). At UAF, I continue my research direction with special focus on air quality issues of the Arctic and continue my teaching activities. Since 1995, in Germany and the United States, I have taught cloud physics, satellite meteorology, physical hydrometeorology, paleoclimatology, parameterization of hydrometerological processes, numerical modeling and parameterization methods, mesoscale dynamics, introduction to computational meteorology and introduction to atmospheric sciences. Over time, I moved from a pure lecture type teaching style to a style that actively involves students.

No unit preparation anymore

Hi students,

There is no need to fill out the questionnaire for the class. It would be helpful to identify which of the unit problems you struggle with. Also when you have the time, try to solve at least one of the tasks of last years exam.

Here are some worked problems with explanations.
Application on rising and sinking air parcels.

Application on freezing of super cooled water

Application on energy change in air masses

Application on pressure gradient force

Application of the concept of eddy diffusion

Application example for the concept of the geostrophic wind model

Application example of aqueous chemistry

Application of the triade NO-NO2-O3 as a simplification to describe ozone chemistry

Application of NO2 photolysis

Application of the Chapman cycle


FAQ on unit 7

What does   s denote? Saturated lapse rate of the air parcel (variable, changes with height and pressure). Think about why it does do that.
Also is gamma the lapse rate for the environment? Small gamma is the environmental lapse rate (variable). Capital gamma or capital gamma subscript d are the traditional meteorological symbols for the dry adiabatic lapse rate (=-0.98K/100m).

Unit 4 – Hints for solutions

Problem 2: Use unit area to get the volume. Make an assumption pressure change.

Problem 3: You need to do an integration over z. Look again at the part about the isothermal atmosphere for inspiration.

Problem 4: Think about what equilibrium temperature means. Start out arguing from an initial temperature to the final one that you have at equilibrium. What do you do to get there? How does this “doing” affect the entropy of the system? You can solve the problem by argumentation with the first and second laws of TD. I am not asking for a mathematical prove here (despite it is possible to do it).



Welcome to Introduction to Atmospheric Sciences


I am excited you are here and signed up for the class. This class is special and different, but I am sure you love exactly that once you get used to it and see the advantages and the fun. You can start right here to get started and become familiar with this class page.

Pssst, we will play jeopardy on the class navigation in the first 10 minutes of our first class meeting. 😉

See you soon in class.