Student Pages
Postgraduate course

Advanced Ocean Dynamics

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

Main content

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 advanced topics of the large-scale and mesoscale ocean circulation, based on the governing equations in geophysical fluid dynamics.

With reference to the quasi-geostrophic equations as mathematical platform, the course covers Rossby waves, barotropic - and baroclinic instability, the large-scale circulation with theories of wind-driven flows in mid- and high-latitude ocean as Sverdrup- and Stommel theory, and stratification effects like upwelling and down welling. Simple theories of the buoyancy-driven large-scale circulation as well as dynamic modes and eddyinduced advection, will be covered.

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

  • has a good understanding of the basic principles of large scale motion on a rotating planet
  • understand the governing equations on various phenomena in geophysical fluid dynamics
  • understand the quasi-geostrophic dynamics
  • understand classical instability theories
  • understand the large scale wind driven ocean dynamics and classical theories


The student

  • is able to derive the quasi-geostrophic equations, and discuss barotropic and baroclinic Rossby wave solutions
  • is able to derive various solutions for the wind-driven ocean circulation, including upwelling and downwelling
  • is able to discuss simplified models of the buoyancy-driven ocean circulation
  • is able to derive and discuss QG integral constraints for barotropic and baroclinic instability

General competence

The student

  • can discuss basic governing equation in dynamical oceanography
  • can derive, scale and simplify the governing equations
  • can solve dynamical problems in the ocean
  • can present and discuss advanced topics in meso- and large scale dynamical oceanography

Required Previous Knowledge

Bachelor's degree in Climate, Atmosphere and Ocean Physics or Bachelor in mathematics, physics or meteorology/oceanography

Recommended Previous Knowledge

GEOF110 and GEOF213, or equivavelent

Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap


Access to the Course

Access to the course requires admission to a master's programme at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences

Teaching and learning methods

The teaching method will be one lecture of 2 hours per week

Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

Regular attendance of the course exercise including presentation of own solutions. Compulsory assignments and attendance are valid for the actual and subsequent semester.

Forms of Assessment

Written exam, 4 hours

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

Examination both spring semester and autumn semester. In semesters without teaching the examination will be arranged at the beginning of 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 Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.

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: Written examination

    Withdrawal deadline
    Examination system
    Digital exam