Undergraduate course

Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Ocean

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterAutumn
  • Course codeGEOF213
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish
  • Resources

Teaching semester


Objectives and Content

The course builds on GEOF110 (Introduction to Atmospheric and Oceanic Dynamics). The governing equations will be examined and scaled for various phenomena in geophysical fluid dynamics. The effect of Earth's rotation will be introduced via the dynamical equations. Geostrophic and wind-induced Ekman currents will be discussed. Furthermore, the wave equations for gravity waves as well as potential vorticity waves will be studied and analysed. In addition, barotropic instabitliy and baroclinic instability in the framework of the quasi-geostrophic equations will be introduced.

Learning Outcomes

After completing GEOF213 the student will be able to:
- describe and discuss the basic principles of large scale circulations on a rotating planet
- understand the basics of waves of the atmosphere and ocean
- scale and simplify the governing equations for solving basic dynamical problems
- formulate and solve problems in a quasi-geostrophic framework
- use Ekman theory to calculate various scenarios of wind forcing
- derive and use dispersion relations for gravity and potential vorticity waves
- apply the wave theory on surface and internal waves
- understand the principles of barotropic and baroclinic instability

Required Previous Knowledge

Principles of meteorology and/or oceanogarphy in addition to basic knowledge in maths and physics (mechanics) or equivalent to GEOF110 and MAT212.

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Regular attendance of the course exercise including presentation of own solutions. Compulsory mid-term exam, written.

Forms of Assessment

Mid-term exam, counts 20% of the final and is valid in the semester it has been done and the following semester. Final exam, written, 5 hours. If less than 10 students, the exam might be oral. Counts 80% of the final grade and must be passed.

Examination support materials: Non-programmable calculator, according to model listed in faculty regulations.


Contact Information

Student Administration at Geophysical Institute:


Exam information

  • For written exams, please note that the start time may change from 09:00 to 15:00 or vice versa until 14 days prior to the exam. The exam location will be published 14 days prior to the exam.

  • Type of assessment: Written examination

    09.03.2018, 09:00
    5 hours
    Withdrawal deadline