Home > Studying Physics > Geophysics Second Cycle > Atmospheric Physics

Study programme: Geophysics
Study cycle: Master (second)
Module: Meteorology
Core of the programme: Mandatory for Meteorology module
Year: 1
Semester: 2

Lectures: 45 hours
Exercises: 15 hours
Seminar: 15 hours

No. of ECTS credits: 7

Language: Slovenian
Specifics: Additional 15 hours for homework assignments

Atmospheric Physics

Objectives of the course and intended learning outcomes (competences)

Acquainting with physical processes in atmosphere: thermodynamic processes, radiation, basics of cycles of some gasses and aerosols in the atmosphere, microphysics of cloud particles and cloud physics, optical and electrical phenomena in the atmosphere.
To obtain understanding and competent knowledge to analyze and to study these processes.

Contents (Syllabus outline)

Atmospheric thermodynamics: Thermodynamics of non-saturated and of saturated air, of air with droplets, phase changes. Adiabatic compression and expansion, hydrostatics and stability, method of air parcel vertical displacement, changes of stability by layer vertical displacement.
Radiation: Monochromatic emissivity and absorptivity, scattering, transfer of radiation through a medium. Solar radiation by clear sky, solar constant, extinction through the atmosphere. Long-wave infrared radiation, absorptivity of the atmosphere, greenhouse gasses, “flux emissivity”, divergence of radiation energy flow and warming/cooling of air layers and of ground.
Gasses, aerosols, cloud particles, and cloud physics: cycles of some gasses and aerosols in the atmosphere and basics of photochemistry, homogeneous and heterogeneous condensation, super cooled droplets and small ice crystals, growth with condensation and deposition, growth of drops and crystals into hydrometeors. Spectra of cloud particles and their change, precipitation intensity and radar reflectivity, showers, thunderstorms, numerical cloud models.
Optical and electrical phenomena: visibility, refraction, sky colour, refraction and diffraction on droplets and crystals, rainbow, halo, corona, gloria. Electric field by fine weather, charge separation in thunderstorms, lightning.

Basic literature

Expected achievements

Knowledge and understanding
Understanding thermodynamic principles of atmospheric processes. To acquire knowledge on radiance and radiation flux, absorption, emission, scattering, divergence and their energetic consequences. Understanding cycles of some gasses and aerosols in the atmosphere, conditions for heterogeneous condensation and deposition, growth of cloud and precipitation particles. Introduction into optical en electrical phenomena in, and basic principles of remote sensing of the atmosphere.

Use of laws of physics to explain processes connected with radiation, microphysics of cloud particles and precipitation processes, optical and electric phenomena.

The explanation of atmospheric processes by basic principles of phaysics.

Transferable skills
The application of basic principles of physics on atmospheric processes.

Teaching methods

Lectures, exercises, home assignments, consultations.


Completed 1 level of Meteorology with Geophysics.

Assesment methods

The assessment consists of two parts, a theoretical exam and a practical exercises exam. The practical exercises exam (50 % of final grade) can be completed with 2 half-term exams. The theoretical exam is 50 % of final grade. The candidate successfully completes the assessment by obtaining a grade 6 (pass) to 10 (excellent) in both parts.

Methods of quality assessment

Self-evaluation, anonymous student questionnaire.

Course coodinator and his references