Student Pages
Undergraduate course

Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Ocean

  • ECTS credits10
  • Teaching semesterAutumn
  • Course codeGEOF213
  • Number of semesters1
  • LanguageEnglish. Norwegian if only Norwegian speaking students.
  • Resources

Main content

Level of Study




Teaching semester

Enrolment to this course is based on application. Application deadline is Thursday in week 33 for the autumn semester.
Please see this page for more information: https://www.uib.no/en/matnat/53431/admission-courses-limited-capacity

Objectives and Content


The course aims to present the governing equations and its application of various phenomena in geophysical fluid dynamics. Major topics in the atmosphere and ocean are presented and examined based on theory and exercises.


Major subjects are geostrophy and wind-induced Ekman currents; furthermore wave equations for gravity waves of homogenous and stratified fluid, also including the Coriolis effect. Quasi-geostrophic is used to study planetary and topographic Rossby waves, and barotropic- and baroclinic instability are introduced.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student
- understands the basic principles of large scale motion on a rotating planet
- understands the governing equations on various phenomena in geophysical fluid dynamics
- understands the basics of waves of the atmosphere and ocean
- understands the basics of steady state motions of the atmosphere and ocean
- understands the basics principles of barotropic - and baroclinic instability


The student
- can scale and simplify the governing equations for solving basic dynamical problems
- can formulate and solve problems in a geostrophic framework
- can formulate and apply wave theory on surface and internal waves
- can formulate and use Ekman theory to calculate various scenarios of wind forcing

General competence

The student
- is able to discuss basic governing equation in dynamical meteorology and oceanography
- is able to derive, scale and simplify the governing equations
- is able to present and discuss basic topics in the atmosphere and ocean

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.

This is a theoretical course which requires a solid mathematical background. To follow the course you must be familiar with (and use) concepts like differential equations, partial derivatives, curl, the equation of motion in a rotating frame of reference, the Coriolis force, geostrophic flow, Ekman dynamics. You also need to have basic programming skills in e.g. Matlab, Python or similar.

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap

GEOF320, GEOF326, GEOF330: 10 ECST

Access to the Course

Access to the course requires admission to a program of study at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching method will be lectures, and exercise classes
Two lectures of 2x2 hours per week in 15 weeks
One exercise class of 2 hours per week in 15 weeks

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Three compulsory assignments. Approved assignments are valid in present and subsequent semester.

Forms of Assessment

Mid-term exam, counts 20% of the final and is valid for the actual semester, and the following semester. The final exam is a 5 hour written exam, counts 80% of the final grade, and must be passed.

Autumn 2020 and spring 2021 the final written digtial exam will be a school exam.

Due to the measures taken to avoid the spread of Covid-19, UiB is closed for on-campus assessment. As a consequence, the following changes is made to assessment autumn semester 2020:

  • Written home examination instead of written examination

Examination Support Material


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.

Assessment Semester

Regular exams both in the spring - , and autumn semester. In semesters without teaching, the examination will be arranged early in the semester.

Reading List

The reading list will be available within June 1st for the autumn semester and January 1st for the spring semester.

Course Evaluation

The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department

Programme Committee

The Program Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study program and courses.

Course Coordinator

You will find the responsible and contact persons on «Mitt UiB», or contact studieveileder@gfi.uib.no

Course Administrator

The Faculty of mathematics and sciences by the Geophysical Institute has the administrative responsibility of the course and study program.


Please contact the student counselor here: studieveileder@gfi.uib.no

Tlf 55 58 26 04

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.

  • Type of assessment: Skriftlig skoleeksamen

    Withdrawal deadline
    • Exam part: Skriftlig skoleeksamen

      16.02.2021, 09:00
      5 hours
      Examination system
      Digital exam