A First Course in Atmospheric Numerical Modeling – A. DeCaria and G. Van Knowe

An introduction to the computational methods at the heart of numerical weather forecasting.



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This book is written for advanced undergraduates and graduates in atmospheric science.  It introduces students to the essentials of finite-difference methods, numerical stability, spectral methods, data assimilation and initialization, boundary conditions, and parameterization of subgrid-scale phenomenon.  It also covers more advanced topics such as finite-volume methods, semi-Lagrangian and semi-implicit schemes, and chemical transport modeling.  Practical programming and written exercises are included.

About the Authors

Alex J. DeCaria is a professor of meteorology at Millersville University, where he developed and teaches an undergraduate course in numerical modeling.  Much of the content of this book was adapted from this course.  He also teaches courses in atmospheric dynamics, thermodynamics, physical meteorology, tropical meteorology, and scientific programming.  He has experience in developing and using chemical transport models.  He is also a former meteorology and oceanography officer with the U.S. Navy.

Glenn E. Van Knowe is Vice President at MESO, Inc., an atmospheric research and applications company located in Troy, New York.  He has considerable experience in developing and working with numerical weather prediction models.  His position at MESO involves directing research for the development and adaptation of numerical weather prediction models for educational purposes and industries such as renewable energy and agriculture.  He is also a former meteorology officer with the U.S. Air Force.


“This text represents an excellent overview of the many components of atmospheric numerical modeling.  It presents a highly comprehensive introduction to the topic that is extremely useful for all students of the following disciplines: all components of Earth system science, physics, engineering, computer science and applied mathematics. Perhaps its strongest point is how well it introduces students to the broad scope of atmospheric numerical modeling in terms of the history of the topic as well as model components, model sensitivity, and model applications. I recommend it most highly to undergraduate juniors/seniors in atmospheric science as well as graduate students with minimal atmospheric science background.”

Michael L. Kaplan
Research Professor
Desert Research Institute
Former Director, Atmospheric Sciences Graduate Program
University of Nevada Reno



Book Chapters

1. Introduction
2. Governing Equations and Assumptions
3. Finite Differencing
4. Applications of Finite Differencing
5. Programming Numerical Models
6. The Filtered Equations I: Concepts
7. The Filtered Equations II: Numerical Methods
8. Barotropic Primitive Equation Models
9. Boundary Conditions
10. Subgrid-scale Processes
11. Spectral Models
12. Data Assimilation
13. Primitive Equation Models
14. Semi-implicit and Semi-Lagrangian Methods
15. Finite-volume Methods
16. Chemical Transport Models
17. Model Verification and Validation
18. Post-processing Enhancement of Model Data
19. Special Applications
Appendix A. Answers and Hints for Selected Exercises
Appendix B. Additional Time-differencing Schemes
Appendix C. The Fourier Transform
Appendix D. Operator Splitting
Appendix E. Spherical Coordinates
Appendix F. Sources and Further Reading

Alex J. DeCaria and Glenn E. Van Knowe
Sundog Publishing
Publication Date:
6″ x 9″