Module Description - Weather

Course Overview - Registration

Select Feedback (from the Level 1 version)

  • The average student rating for this module, out of 10, is: 9
  • The average student rating for this module in relation to others, out of 10, is: 9
  • The percentage of students who felt all objectives were met is: 100%
  • Select Student Comments:

    • The incident case study of Mt. Hood was a good way of explaining energy balance.
    • Overall I think I got the material, and a lot of it was very good.
    • The graphics we very helpful.
    • The Mt Hood incident was interesting since it is in my backyard.


This is Module 4 of the online Climbers Avalanche Awareness courseOpens in New Window developed and supported by AlpenProOpens in New Window and offered here in the Avalanche InstituteOpens in New Window sponsored by the CSAC Avalanche CenterOpens in New Window. It covers all of the weather material for this course.

The only prerequisite for this module is Module 1 - Introductory Material. This module is a prerequisite for Module 10 - planning a safe climb.

The module covers key observables, wind, energy balance, precipitation, and locating and interpreting suitable forecast products. The emphasis is entirely on applied topics, for basic background theory that provides insight and understanding and builds a basis for further studies one should complete the Level 1 version.


  • List the three key observables and explain their importance in spring
  • Appreciate the variability of spring as a season bridging winter to summer
  • Explain the most important impacts of wind for spring mountaineering
  • Identify the key elements of energy exchange at the snow surface
  • Understand how new snow and radiational energy are related in spring
  • Locate and interpret general (non-specialized) weather forecast products
  • Interpret the contents of a mountain weather forecast in the context of spring


This module covers these general topics:

  • Key Observables
  • The nature of spring as a bridge from winter to summer
  • Winds, Energy Balance, Precipitation
  • Forecast Products and Interpretation
  • Case Studies

The Outline on this page shows more detail.


Welcome, Instructions
Wind, Energy, Precipitation
Seasonal Progression of Weather

Effects of Wind

Energy Balance

  • Mechanisms of Heat Transfer
  • Energy Balance at the Snow Surface
  • The Spring Energy Balance

Precipitation - New Snow in Spring

Forecast Products and Interpretation

  • Weather Forecasts
  • NWS Forecasts (US)
  • Wx Planning Sheet


  • Case Studies
  • Conclusion
  • Review

Human and technical Resources

This module has complete access to human resources and technical support. There are numerous ways to contact an instructor and to interact with other students. The module has its own forum for questions and discussion, there is a dropbox for sending documents (including messages) to other students in the module and/or an instructor, there is a messaging system accessed from the top of the web interface, and there is always email.


There are quizzes incorporated into this course which allow students to check their understanding of the material. Quizzes may be taken as many times as desired, either to obtain a passing score or just to attempt to ultimately get a perfect score.

Successful completion of this module requires passing all assessments.

Course material

Most of the materials included in this module are from a workbook developed and used by AlpenPro. A few items are from the Avalanche Center website. Links are provided to external resources where appropriate.