Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse – Københavns Universitet

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Kursussøgning, efter- og videreuddannelse

Steady ocean circulation

Practical information
Study year 2016/2017
Block 4
Programme level Full Degree Master
Course responsible
  • Markus Jochum (7-726f74686d7a724573676e33707a336970)
  • The Niels Bohr Institute
Course number: NFYK14027U

Course content

In this course we will discuss three of the world's ocean major circulation systems: the subtropical gyre, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, and the meridional overturning circulation. The focus will be on the manipulation of the equations of motion to derrive simple analytical models of these systems. Observations and numerical models will then be used to fill these equations with life.

Learning outcome

The purpose of this course is that the student obtains a basic understanding of the dynamics of the large scale circulation.

When the course is finished it is expected that the student is able to:


  • Explain and apply the concept of potential vorticity
  • Explain the energetic of the meridional overturning circulation
  • Understand the relevance of friction and mixing for the ocean circulation

The course introduces the student to the equations of motion for a continuous medium. The student will learn how to use scaling analysis to reduce the complexity of partial differential equations. Finally the student will combine the resulting equations with observations and numerical model results to relate the different forcing mechanisms to the relevant part of the ocean circulation.


Recommended prerequisites

A good understanding of classical mechanics. The math requisites are understanding of partial differential equations.


Restricted elective for specialisation "Geophysics"

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M.Sc. Physics


Study Board of Physics, Chemistry and Nanoscience

Course type

Single subject courses (day)


1 block


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Teaching and learning methods

Lectures. Weekly hand-in exercises.


no limit




Category Hours
Lectures 30
Exercises 30
Exam 0,5
Preparation 145,5
English 206,0


Type of assessment

Oral examination, 25 minutes
oral exam without preparation time.


Without aids

Marking scale

passed/not passed

Criteria for exam assessment

To obtain the highest grade (12) the student must display a high level of command of all aspects of the relevant material, with no or only a few minor weaknesses.

Censorship form

No external censorship
several internal examiners
Mere information om kurset
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