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Physical Oceanography in Fjords



Course format On-site
Datum 2021-01-04 - 2021-06-18
Entry level Bachelor

Objectives and Content


The course aims to provide the students with practical and theoretical knowledge and understanding of the circulation, energetics, exchange processes and response to external forcing in fjords. The fieldwork from a dedicated cruise aims to provide training on the use of relevant oceanographic instrumentation, on data analysis and reporting, and help to put the theory in context.


The course describes the basic features of circulation, water masses, mixing processes and energetics in fjords. A theoretical introduction to rotating hydraulics in homogenous and layered flows will be supplemented by fieldwork in a fjord and key scientific literature on selected aspects of fjord physics. Energy budgets for estuarine circulation, water exchange with adjacent coastal waters, renewal of deep water masses, tidal interaction with fjord constrictions, vertical diffusion driven by internal waves, and the hydrography of selected important fjords will be discussed.


Bachelor's degree in Climate, Atmosphere and Ocean Physics (named Bachelor's degree in Meteorology and Oceanography until Fall 2017), or equivalent.

Recommended Previous Knowledge

GEOF310 Turbulence in the Atmospheric and Ocean Boundary Layer, GEOF232 Practical Meteorology and Oceanography, and GEOF346 Tidal dynamics and sea level variations or GEOF331 Tidal dynamics or equivalent

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 thorough knowledge of the main features of the fjord stratification and circulation
  • has good understanding of the response to external forcing and the processes contributing to vertical mixing in fjord basins
  • has knowledge of the observational methods related to describe the physical oceanography in fjords


The student

  • can use simple physical concepts to explain the circulation and mixing in a fjord
  • can analyze and present data from observations to describe the physical oceanography in a fjord

General competence

The student

  • can relate wind and tidal forcing to vertical mixing and circulation in ocean
  • can generalize and relate the knowledge and skill gained to applications such as harvesting energy from tides and currents, environmental effects of fish farms, and dispersal and mixing of pollutants
  • can prepare a scientific report and presentation


ISCED Categories

Fysische en chemische oceanografie