Orographic Storms Laboratory (AOS 401) is an independently conceived, intensive field project experience for both undergraduate and graduate students in the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Atmospheric Science (AOS) Program. Students are presented with an introduction to orographically-forced phenomena in the atmospheric sciences, including mountain waves, clouds and chemistry. Students develop a robust understanding of how theories learned through previous coursework in the AOS curriculum come into play with concepts taught in this course that can be applied to high-terrain and in-cloud settings. Course participants gain an appreciation for the academic research process through its application including: proposal development, fieldwork, research analysis and reporting, culminating in both a formal research paper and a ten-minute presentation.
There are three core components to the course: 1) Preparation of a research proposal; 2) Conducting research at Storm Peak Lab; and 3) Analyzing results and reporting findings in formal paper and presentation format. Prior to spring break, class time is devoted to the logistics of the field experience, learning about the instrumentation available at Storm Peak Lab, brainstorming and developing research ideas, and discussion of orographic phenomena.