Module Provider: Meteorology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Modules excluded:
Module version for: 2016/7

Module Convenor: Dr Remi Tailleux


Summary module description:
After discussing the observational difficulties involved in studying the oceans, this module shows how observed large scale Features can be rationalised in terms of simple dynamical theories.

To give an overview of modern approaches to the observational, numerical and theoretical study of the oceans, in order to provide the student with the required tools to address the current challenges of understanding how the oceans interact with the climate system.

Assessable learning outcomes:
By the end of this module, the students should be able to:

  • Explain how the oceans works and how it interacts with the climate system,
  • Make quantitative estimations of dynamical variables from hydrographic observations,
  • Possess a basic understanding of the design of numerical ocean models, and of what can be learned from them
  • Solve basic problems in ocean dynamics

Additional outcomes:
Students will get a good idea of typical values of important parameters in the oceans. Furthermore, they will improve their skill in problem solving, algebra, and understanding mathematical equations in physical terms.

Outline content:
1. Overview of the large-scale ocean circulation; methods of observing the large-scale circulation and observational difficulties.
2. Dynamical equations governing the oceans. Wind-driven circulation theory. The Ekman, Sverdrup, and Stommel models. Western boundary currents.
3. Thermohaline circulation: mechanically-driven or buoyancy-driven? Energetics and thermodynamics of turbulent mixing in stratified fluids. Multiple equilibria. Link with the meridional transport of heat, and climate. Ocean heat uptake and sea level rise.
4. Theory of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, role of the southern oceans and meso-scale eddies in the global circulation.

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:
Lectures and practicals.Practicals consist of 4 or 5 problem classes, depending on the year, during which students work on a problem under the guidance of the lecturer

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Lectures 14
Practicals classes and workshops 4
Guided independent study 82
Total hours by term 100.00
Total hours for module 100.00

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Class test administered by School 100

Other information on summative assessment:
Final exam: Answer 2 questions out of 3.

Formative assessment methods:
One-on-one advice given to students that are struggling during problem classes

Penalties for late submission:
Penalties for late submission on this module are in accordance with the University policy. Please refer to page 5 of the Postgraduate Guide to Assessment for further information:

Length of examination:
Two hour exam.

Requirements for a pass:
50% overall

Reassessment arrangements:
For candidates who fail, an opportunity to take a resit examination will be provided within the lifetime of the course.

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):
1) Required text books: Reading lists for meteorology modules are available here

2) Specialist equipment or materials:
3) Specialist clothing, footwear or headgear:
4) Printing and binding:
5) Computers and devices with a particular specification:
6) Travel, accommodation and subsistence:

Last updated: 21 December 2016

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