General Circulation of the Atmosphere

Course content

The purpose of this course is to give the student an overview of the averaged circulation and structure/state of the atmosphere. One main point is the identification of the role of the large-scale atmospheric waves. The course will cover the physical basis, the large scale dynamics, the time averaged state, the balances, the variability, transports and energy/energy conversions and the coupling/feedback mechanisms, especially the role of the sea.


MSc Programme in Physics

Learning outcome

The students are able to:

  • Present/explain the theoretical basis for the averaged state of the atmosphere
  • Explain the role of the large scale atmospheric waves
  • Describe and explain feedback- and coupling mechanisms
  • Explain the atmospheric energy budget, including the waves


The students have:

  • a broad knowledge about the atmosphere's general state and the roles of waves in the atmosphere.
  • knowledge about general techniques for analyzing the behavior of the atmosphere


The students are able to:

  • extend the knowledge to further studies of the atmosphere at a research level
  • describe in general terms how the atmosphere is working, on both short and long time scales (and even on climate time scales).

extend the knowledge to further studies of the atmosphere at a research level

Class room teaching with a mixture of lectures (traditional lectures, discussion hours and student presentations), analytical exercises and computer exercises where key elements of the general circulation is analysed using re-analysis atmospheric data, satellite data and climate model output.

The teaching material will be announced on Absalon. It is certain that the material will include recent published papers.

Laptop with Matlab installed is required

7,5 ECTS
Type of assessment
Oral examination, 25 minutes
The oral exam will be without aids in an unknown subject, with no preparation time.
Without aids
Marking scale
7-point grading scale
Censorship form
No external censorship
more internal examiners
Criteria for exam assessment

See learning outcome

Single subject courses (day)

  • Category
  • Hours
  • Lectures
  • 35
  • Practical exercises
  • 35
  • Exam
  • 0,5
  • Preparation
  • 135,5
  • English
  • 206,0