Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse – Københavns Universitet

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Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse

Physical Oceanography (Geofys2)

Practical information
Study year 2016/2017
Block 2
Programme level Bachelor
Course responsible
  • Markus Jochum (7-726f74686d7a724573676e33707a336970)
  • The Niels Bohr Institute
Course number: NFYB16005U

Course content

We will apply classical physics to the problem of ocean circulation.

The first quarter of the class will be rather descriptive; in the second quarter we will derrive the equations of motion and determine heuristically what the forces are that dominate the ocean. It will be shown that the deep ocean is mostly adiabatic so it is not obvious at all how it can be set into motion.

After a general survey of the various dynamic regimes and observational tools, we will then derrive the properties of planetary waves and explore how they set the abyss into motion.

Parallel to the lecture there will be practical exercises during which we develop our own ocean model in Matlab. This numerical model will then be used to verify the analytical results arrived at during the lectures.

Learning outcome

The student can:

  • write down the equations governing ocean dynamics
  • explain the effect of rotating frames of reference
  • explain Ekman and Sverdrup transport
  • explain the dynamics of the viscous boundary layers


The student:

  • can provide a basic description of the world oceans:
    major currents, salt & temperature structure, seasonal and mean features
  • knows the basic dynamic regimes of the ocean
  • can explain the current challenges in theoretical oceanography
  • knows how climate signals are transmitted in the ocean


The student can:

  • translate a physical problem into mathematical formalism
  • … and both into a numerical model

Recommended prerequisites

The course requires knowledge corresponding to Termo, MatF, LinAlg,
MatIntro, Mek2 and Mek1.


Mandatory for specialisation 1 "Geofysik og Meteorologi"

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BSc Programme in Physics


Study Board of Physics, Chemistry and Nanoscience

Course type

Single subject courses (day)


Markus Jochum, NBI


1 block


Bemærk at kurset er flyttet fra skemagruppe C til A
---- SKEMA LINK ----

Teaching and learning methods

The course encompasses lectures, theoretical and experimental exercises as well as possibly field trips.


no limit




The book we will use is: Modern Observational Physical Oceanography by Carl Wunsch, Princeton Press, 2015


Category Hours
Lectures 42,5
Exercises 42
Practical exercises 41
Exam 0,5
Preparation 80
English 206,0


Type of assessment

Oral examination, 25 minutes
25 minutes oral exam, no preparation


Without aids

Marking scale

7-point grading scale

Criteria for exam assessment

see learning outcome.

Censorship form

No external censorship
several internal examiners


same as ordinary exam

Mere information om kurset
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