ATSC 113 (3 cr): Atmospheric Science: Applied Meteorology, Weather for Sailing, Flying and Snow Sports


Course Description

ATSC 113 is designed to be a fun way to learn more about the weather, as applied to case-studies in sailing, flying, and snow sports. Each week we explore a new case study where we put you in the virtual “drivers seat” as the skipper, pilot, or snow-boarder. Via individual and group activities online, you decide on the best course of action for each case-study event (a difficult sailing, an aircraft accident, a snowboard hazard). You can find more info about this course at

Intended Student

This course is open to all students of any year and any major. No prerequisites. This counts as a science course. Students do not need any prior background or experience in sailing, flying or snow sports.

For those students who already have expertise in some of these areas, we offer links to advanced info. But this extra info is not required for this course – – you can still earn full marks without it.

Available Course Sections

This is a flexible-learning course, so two versions of this course are offered each term: one that is purely online (except for the final exam), and the other that is mostly online but includes a 1 hour/week in-class tutorial session. Pick whichever section fits the way you learn best.

September term: ATSC 113.99A (online) and ATSC 113.101 (online with tutorial)
January term: ATSC 113.99C (online) and ATSC 113.201 (online with tutorial)

Topics to be Covered – Syllabus Overview

Theme: Weather for Snow Sports
1. Snow Crystal Formation & Snowfall
2. Surface Snow & Frost
3. Mountain Weather in Winter
4. Synoptic Conditions Favouring Snow

Theme: Sailing & Surfing Weather
5. Winds and Waves
6. Large-Scale Winds
7. Local Winds and Gusts
8. Marine Weather Services

Theme: Flying & Soaring Weather
9. Clouds, Ceiling, Visibility & Fog
10. Pressure, Temperature, Winds & Wind Shear
11. Turbulence, Icing & Thunderstorms
12. Aviation Weather Services


  • Online individual and group activities each week are worth marks.
  • Online open-book quizzes each week to “Check your Understanding” of weather concepts.
  • Three online open-book midterm exams, one for each theme: sailing, flying, snow-sports.
  • Final exam with an individual component and a group/team component, not online.

To pass the course, you must pass the individual portion of the final exam (i.e., earn a grade of at least 50%), as well as earning an overall course grade of at least 50%.

Course Materials

  • All information is available free online. You do not need to buy any textbooks.
  • Within each online Learning Module we give you links to appropriate online resources.
  • You will need access to a computer or electronic pad/tablet to do the online readings and assignments.
  • If you choose to attend the optional in-class tutorial, please bring your laptop or electronic pad/tablet.