MTMW20-Global Circulation of the Atmosphere & Ocean

Module Provider: Meteorology
Number of credits: 10 [5 ECTS credits]
Terms in which taught: Spring term module
Non-modular pre-requisites:
Co-requisites: MTMW11 Fluid Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Oceans
Modules excluded:
Current from: 2020/1

Module Convenor: Dr Andrew Charlton-Perez


Type of module:

Summary module description:
This module provides an overview of the main observed large scale Features of the atmospheric and oceanic circulations, and of the simple dynamical theories rationalising them.

To develop a knowledge and understanding of the large-scale circulation of the atmosphere and ocean.

Assessable learning outcomes:

By the end of this module the student should be able to:

  • Describe in physical terms the basic features of the global circulation,

  • Explain qualitatively the causes of these features.

  • Write succinctly and quantitatively about the circulation

Additional outcomes:

Outline content:

How do we make sense of the global circulation using the data available? The Hadley circulation: what controls its strength and extent? Why are there surface westerlies at midlatitudes? The angular momentum budget. What keeps the atmosphere in motion, and why is its kinetic energy so small? What causes local climate features in the tropics? The stratosphere: quasi-biennial oscillation and sudden warmings. How would we design a model of the global circulation?

Brief description of teaching and learning methods:

The module is taught using a flipped classroom approach, there are no formal lectures:

  • in their own time, students review a modular set of notes and supporting short videos which outline a key feature of the global circulation

  • at the end of each unit they complete an on-line multiple choice quiz to test their knowledge of the content and provide formative feedback

  • in a two hour class each week, students work on problems related to the content in order to fix and explore concepts related to the ideas considered

  • at the end of each unit, students complete a four page essay of their own choosing for their portfolio, they are provided with peer feedback and the essay is marked to provide summative assessment

Reading lists for meteorology modules are available here

Contact hours:
  Autumn Spring Summer
Tutorials 20
Guided independent study: 80
Total hours by term 100
Total hours for module 100

Summative Assessment Methods:
Method Percentage
Portfolio 100

Summative assessment- Examinations:

Summative assessment- Coursework and in-class tests:

Formative assessment methods:

Each unit has an on-line quiz 

For each element of the portfolio, student receive peer feedback

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:

Assessment requirements for a pass:
50% overall.

Reassessment arrangements:

Re-assessment by submission of one additional part of the portfolio

Additional Costs (specified where applicable):

1) Required text books: 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: 24 September 2020


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