Postgraduate course

Advanced Ocean Dynamics

  • ECTS credits5
  • Teaching semesterAutumn
  • Course codeGEOF339
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish, Norwegian if only Norwegian students
  • Resources

Semester of Instruction

Autumn, first time Autumn 2016

Objectives and Content

The course will cover advanced topics on the large-scale and mesoscale ocean circulation, mostly using the quasi-geostrophic equations as the mathematical platform. The concept of Rossby waves will first be reviewed. The discussion on the large-scale circulation will include theories for wind-driven flows in midlatitude and high-latitude oceans, including stratification effects like upwelling and downwelling. Simple theories of the buoyancy-driven large-scale circulation will also be covered. The discussion on mesoscale flows will include barotropic/baroclinic instability, 2D/geostrophic turbulence and the concept of eddyinduced advection. Finally, the topic of eddy-mean flow interaction and residual mean theory will be introduced, e.g. with application to the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.

Learning Outcomes

After completing GEOF339, students will be able to:

- derive the quasi-geostrophic equations and discuss barotropic and baroclinic Rossby wave solutions

- derive various solutions for the wind-driven ocean circulation, including upwelling and downwelling

- discuss simplified models of the buoyancy-driven ocean circulation

- derive and discuss QG integral constraints on barotropic and baroclinic instability

- solve the Eady/Phillips problems of baroclinic instability and discuss their applications and limitations

- derive fundamental scaling laws distinguishing 2D and 3D turbulence and discuss their relevance to real geophysical flows

- derive residual mean solutions for eddy-mean flow interactions and discuss their application to flows in the real ocean

Required Previous Knowledge

Bachelor in mathematics, physics or meteorology/oceanography.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

GEOF110 and GEOF213, or equivavelent.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Regular attendance of the course exercise including presentation of own solutions.

Forms of Assessment

Oral exam, 45 minutes. Auxiliary material allowed for the exam: None.

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


Exam information

  • Type of assessment: Oral examination

    Withdrawal deadline