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Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate Dynamics

Module titleAtmosphere, Ocean and Climate Dynamics
Module codeGEO3464
Academic year2021/2
Module staff

Description - summary of the module content

Module description

This module will explore the circulation of the atmosphere and oceans, and how they interact to drive climate variability and change. We will introduce the necessary fluid dynamical background and in some cases derive from first principles the key equations of motion that describe our atmosphere and oceans. The module is split into three sections. The first section will focus on the atmosphere, including its composition, vertical structure and large-scale circulation. Here we will also discuss the global radiative energy balance and derive from first principles key equations of radiative transfer within the atmosphere. The second part will cover the ocean large-scale circulation and wind-driven circulation, ocean eddies, air-sea fluxes and oceanic heat and fresh water transport. We will also discuss inter-annual modes of variability such as the El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO). The final part of the module will be research-led and focus on the physics of the Southern Ocean and the key role that this ocean plays in global-scale climate. This final section will build on and apply the concepts developed in the first parts of the module, in part using case-studies of recent observational programs such as the DIMES project. In addition key concepts in ocean mixing and carbon cycling will be introduced through a Southern Ocean perspective. Throughout the module, theory will be underpinned with tank experiments (either as practical labs or demonstrations) and computer labs to model atmospheric and/or ocean phenomena. Regular problem sheets will also be provided. The module will also include some boat work to collect data and estimate ocean carbon uptake in the Fal estuary.

Module aims - intentions of the module

Intended Learning Outcomes (ILOs)

ILO: Module-specific skills

On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

    ILO: Discipline-specific skills

    On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

      ILO: Personal and key skills

      On successfully completing the module you will be able to...

        Syllabus plan

        Learning and teaching




        Credit value15