ES 402: Climatology

Course Title


Course Code

ES 402

Course Type




Year / Semester

1st / 2nd (Subject to change)

Instructor’s Name

Panos Hadjinicolaou (Lead Instructor), George Zittis 



Lectures / week

1 (3h)

Laboratories / week


Course Purpose and Objectives

The course aims to provide: representation of climate in a statistical and physical sense, unraveling of the associated atmospheric motions, radiative and thermodynamic processes, discussion of the causes of climatic variations, classification of climates regionally, methods for statistical and graphical depiction of climate aspects, brief history of the climate evolution, examples of climate types and climatology disciplines.

Learning Outcomes

At the end of the course students should be able to: describe the main components of the climate system; understand the driving climate processes and their feedbacks; associate large-scale atmospheric patterns with climatic features, categorize climate according to synoptic types, identify regional climate features, statistically analyze climate variations in time and space, explain climate change.




Course Content

1.  Concepts of climate and climatology

1.1  Definitions of climate and types of climatology

1.2  Introduction to the climate system

2.  Physical climatology

2.1  Global energy balance

2.2  Atmospheric radiation and climate

2.3  Surface energy balance

2.4  The hydrologic cycle

2.5 The ocean general circulation and climate

2.6  Climate sensitivity and feedback mechanisms

3.  Dynamic and synoptic climatology

3.1  Global climate and the general circulation

3.2  Large-scale circulation patterns and climate

3.3  Global tele-connections

3.4  Synoptic systems

3.5  Weather types, classification methods, applications

4.  Statistical climatology

4.1  Statistical graphics

4.2  Probability distributions

4.3  Regression

4.4  Time variations (trend, smoothing, filtering, spectral analysis)

4.5  Space variations (spatial autocorrelation, eigen-vector analysis)

4.6  Significance testing

5.  Other climatological concepts

5.1  Microclimatology

5.2  Urban climatology

5.3  Bioclimatology

5.4  Air-pollution climatology

5.5  Paleoclimatology and brief history of earth’s climate

5.6  Climate change

Teaching Methodology



1) Hartmann D.L., Global Physical Climatology, 2nd Edition, 2016, Elsevier, 498 pp.

2) Barry R.G. and Carleton A.M., Synoptic and Dynamic Climatology, 2001, Routledge, London. 620 pp.

3) Von Storch H. and Zwiers F.W., Statistical analysis in Climate Research, 2002, Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 496 pp.


Coursework and exam



Publications & Media