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Polar Oceanography



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

Objectives and Content


The course aims to describe circulation and dynamics of the polar oceans, including the Norwegian- and Greenland Sea. The topics are discussed with respect to climatic variations and compared for the Arctic and Antarctic regions.


The course covers important processes related to thermodynamics of cold seawater, theories for mixing and dense water formation, boundary layers processes, sea ice formation, melting of ice-shelves, and heat budgets for the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans. These processes are related to general climate variability, and to ongoing global warming.

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 an advanced knowledge of the role of the two polar regions in the global ocean
  • understands well the most important features of ocean circulation in the two polar regions
  • understands well the effects of stratification and freshwater budgets
  • has an advanced knowledge of cooling, sea ice formation, melting of ice-shelves, and production of deep water


The student

  • is able to analyze and calculate air-ice-ocean fluxes and sea ice formation rates
  • is able to explain and estimate vertical mixing, convection, and dense water formation
  • is able to explain general circulation and vertical stratification in the polar oceans
  • can run a vertical convection model and interpret and plot results

General competence

The student

  • can discuss the role of the polar oceans in global climate change
  • can read and present papers from international scientific journals
  • can present observations and simulations as a poster and present in a poster session
  • can write a short scientific report using standard scientific standards with citations


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


ISCED Categories

Physical and chemical oceanography