Postgraduate course

Physical Oceanography in Fjords

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterSpring
  • Course codeGEOF337
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Semester of Instruction


Place of Instruction


Objectives and Content

The course deals with the basic features of circulation, water masses, mixing processes and energetics in fjords. A theoretical introduction to rotating hydraulics in homogenous and layered flows will be supplemented by field work in a fjord and key scientific literature on selected aspects of fjord physics. The course aims to provide the students with practical and theoretical knowledge of circulation and exchange processes in fjords, and understanding and knowledge about the energetics and response to external forcing. Energy budgets for estuarine circulation, water exchange with adjacent coastal waters, renewal of deep water masses, tidal interaction with fjord constrictions, and, vertical diffusion driven by internal waves, and the hydrography of selected important fjords will be discussed. The field work from a dedicated cruise aims to provide training on the use of relevant oceanographic instrumentation, on data analysis and reporting, and help to put the theory in context.

Learning Outcomes

When you have taken this course, the student shall be able to

- sketch and discuss the main features of the fjord circulation

- sketch and discuss the basic properties of layered estuarine flow

- use simple physical models to explain the exchange of water masses in a fjord

- compare and discuss different fjord types with respect to forcing and circulation patterns

- describe the processes contributing to vertical mixing in fjord basins

- describe the processes that take place near the sill region and discuss their importance for vertical mixing

- analyse and present data from a subset of oceanic instrumentation to describe the relevant processes and circulation in a fjord

Required Previous Knowledge

Bachelor's degree in Meteorology and Oceanography or equivalent.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

GEOF 310 Turbulence in the Atmospheric and Ocean Boundary Layer, or equivalent, and GEOF331 Tidal Dynamics, or equivalent.

Teaching Methods and Extent of Organized Teaching

2 lectures; 2+1 hours per week
Fieldwork, 5 days
1 student assignment presentation, literature assignment
1 student assignment presentation, field work assignment

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Regular attendance to the lectures. Participation in the field work and submitting and presenting a report. Presentation of one assigned scientific paper.

(Valid for four semesters: The semester mandatory activities have been approved and the three following semesters.)

Forms of Assessment

Oral examination. No auxiliary material allowed for the exam.

Grading Scale

The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.

Subject Overlap


Assessment Semester

Standard examination every term.


Geophysical Institute

Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Oral examination

    Withdrawal deadline