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Predicting Weather and Its Role in Military Campaigns

METEOROLOGY

From planning deployments and air strikes, to scheduling space launches and issuing proper protective clothing, weather considerations influence many of the decisions made by Air Force officers. Throughout history, weather has played a pivotal role in the outcome and execution of important campaigns—the debacle of Napoleon’s army in Russia, the scheduling of the Normandy invasion and the destruction of Germany’s counter attack in the Battle of the Bulge. Knowledge of the weather is still important in the modern battlefield.

Meteorology is the study of the atmosphere and the weather that it generates. At the U.S. Air Force Academy, the meteorology major uniquely focuses on the impact of weather on military operations. The growth of meteorology and weather forecasting is intimately linked with the emergence and rise of aviation and space power through the 20th and into the 21st century. The basic properties of the atmosphere and resulting weather phenomena are literally of life and death importance to pilots and consequently, to the Air Force. According to Sun Tzu, “…know the ground, know the weather; your victory will then be total.”
The Meteorology major teaches cadets how to analyze and predict atmospheric behavior over a broad range of time and space scales. These phenomena include small features such as thunderstorms and tornadoes; medium-sized features such as squall lines, hurricanes and blizzards; and even larger features such as continental weather, waves in the jet stream, and climate change.

This program requires a foundation in physics, geospatial science and mathematics, as well as an aptitude for problem solving. This interdisciplinary major is jointly administered by the Department of Physics and the Department of Economics and Geosciences.

POTENTIAL JOB ASSIGNMENTS
Within the Air Force
  • 15W – Weather Officer
Outside the Air Force
  • Meteorologist (on and off TV)
  • Climatologist
  • Physical Scientist
  • Teacher (high school or collegiate)

Industries – Government, private, universities

SAMPLE COURSES
  • Meteorology and Aviation Weather
  • Climatology
  • Atmospheric Dynamics
  • Weather Analysis and Forecasting
SUGGESTED COURSE SEQUENCE
4th CLASS YEAR (FRESHMAN) 3RD CLASS YEAR (SOPHOMORE) 2ND CLASS YEAR (JUNIOR) 1ST CLASS YEAR (SENIOR)
Beh Sci 110
Chem 100
Com Sci 110
English 111
Engr 101
For Lang 1
For Lang 2
History 100
Math 141
Math 142
Physics 110
Biology 315
Chem 200
Econ 201
English 211
Engr Mech 220
Law 220
Math 356
Meteor 320
MSS 200
Physics 215
Pol Sci 211
Academy Opt
Aero Engr 315
BehSci 310
ECE 315
History 300
Meteor Elec
Meteor 325
Meteor 330
Meteor 331
Meteor 352
Meteor 430
Philos 310
AstroEngr310
English 411
Meteor 431
Meteor 440
Meteor 451
Meteor 452
Meteor 470
Meteor 490
Meteor Elective
Mgt 400
MSS 415/416
SocSci 412

For full program requirements and course descriptions, download the current Curriculum Handbook.

VALIDATION AND TRANSFER CREDITS

For information on what classes may receive transfer credits, please speak with an AIC.

CONTACT US

Maj Eric Cercone
Director of Meteorology
eric.cercone@usafa.edu
(719) 333-3549

Want to Study Meteorology?