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This unit provides an introduction to the geophysical fluid dynamics governing the ocean circulations with emphasis on the large-scale ocean circulation. The unit will give an overview of the structure and dynamics of the major ocean current systems that contribute to the ocean circulation, the transport of heat, salt, and biogeochemical tracers, and the regulation of climate. Topics include the scaling of the governing equations of motion, the shallow-water system, potential vorticity, vorticity and energy budgets, Ekman layer dynamics, the wind-driven gyres and western boundary currents. On completion of this unit, students will have an appreciation of the fundamental physical processes that govern large-scale oceanic motion. They will gain quantitative understanding of the ocean circulation with substantial mathematical analyses and experience in simplified mathematical models of the ocean circulation.

Summary 2021

Unit name Dynamical Oceanography
Unit code KSM310
Credit points 12.5
Faculty/School College of Sciences and Engineering
Institute for Marine & Antarctic Studies
Discipline Oceans and Cryosphere

Maxim Nikurashin

Teaching staff

Staff of IMAS

Available as student elective? No
Breadth Unit? No



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3-hr exam (70%), assignment and tutorial assignments & reports (30%)

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