Skip to main content

Advanced Ocean Dynamics



Course format On-site
Date 2020-08-18 - 2020-12-10

Objectives and Content


The course aims to present advanced topics of the large-scale and mesoscale ocean circulation, based on the governing equations in geophysical fluid dynamics.


With reference to the quasi-geostrophic equations as mathematical platform, the course covers Rossby waves, barotropic - and baroclinic instability, the large-scale circulation with theories of wind-driven flows in mid- and high-latitude ocean as Sverdrup- and Stommel theory, and stratification effects like upwelling and down welling. Simple theories of the buoyancy-driven large-scale circulation as well as dynamic modes and eddyinduced advection, will be covered.


Bachelor's degree in Climate, Atmosphere and Ocean Physics or Bachelor in mathematics, physics or meteorology/oceanography

Recommended Previous Knowledge

GEOF110 and GEOF213, 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 a good understanding of the basic principles of large scale motion on a rotating planet
  • understand the governing equations on various phenomena in geophysical fluid dynamics
  • understand the quasi-geostrophic dynamics
  • understand classical instability theories
  • understand the large scale wind driven ocean dynamics and classical theories


The student

  • is able to derive the quasi-geostrophic equations, and discuss barotropic and baroclinic Rossby wave solutions
  • is able to derive various solutions for the wind-driven ocean circulation, including upwelling and downwelling
  • is able to discuss simplified models of the buoyancy-driven ocean circulation
  • is able to derive and discuss QG integral constraints for barotropic and baroclinic instability

General competence

The student

  • can discuss basic governing equation in dynamical oceanography
  • can derive, scale and simplify the governing equations
  • can solve dynamical problems in the ocean
  • can present and discuss advanced topics in meso- and large scale dynamical oceanography


ISCED Categories

Physical and chemical oceanography