701-0478-00L  Introduction to Physical Oceanography

SemesterSpring Semester 2018
LecturersM. Münnich, T. Frölicher, G.‑K. Plattner
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish

AbstractThe lecture gives an overview over physical properties, flows and transport phenomena in stratified water bodies (reservoirs, lakes and the oceans). The focus is the oceans, their currents and the role of the seas in the global climate system. Those completing the course are able to interpret basic flow equations and apply them to phenomema.
ObjectiveStudents are able to
- apply the basic conservation principles of physics to various bodies of water.
- explain the singularities of various natural flow systems.
- apply closed solutions and simple evaluation procedures to characterise flow and transport.
- present an overview of the mechanical flow properties of environmental flow systems.
- describe the role of the oceans in the global climate system.
Content- Review of governing equations (Navier-Stokes equation, Coriolis force, scaling)
- Stratification and mixing (molecular diffusion, Reynolds decomposition, turbulent transport, turbulent closure, boundary layers)
- Density-driven ocean currents (thermocline theory, deep water formation)
- Wind-driven ocean currents (Ekman transport, Sverdrub ballance, westerly boundary currents)
- Waves in Fluids (surface waves, internal waves, Rossby waves)
- Oceans and climate (El Nino, Ice Ages)
Lecture notesIn lieu of a script excerpts the course is accompanied by a Wiki about the topics of the lecture.
Literature- Descriptive Physical Oceanography: An Introduction (L. Talley, G. Pickard)
- Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate Dynamics (J. Marshall, A. Plumb)
- Ocean Circulation (Open University)
- Waves, Tides & Shallow-Water Processes (Open University)
Prerequisites / NoticePDFs of the Open University books can be obtained free of charge through ScienceDirect.