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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE5617M Oceanography in the Earth System

15 creditsClass Size: 20

Module manager: Dr Will Homoky

Taught: Semester 1 (Sep to Jan) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

An A-Level or AS Science subject


SOEE2110Introductory Oceanography

This module is mutually exclusive with

SOEE3610Oceanography in the Earth Sys

This module is approved as an Elective

Module summary

The oceans are a crucial part of the Earth System. This module builds on the mainly qualitative understandings of the world's oceans developed in SOEE2110 (Introductory Oceanography). Greater emphasis will be given to a quantitative understanding the physical processes of the structure and circulation of the oceans. The course will also focus on understanding nutrient supply and cycling in the global oceans and the importance of the carbonate and biological pumps for global systems. Lectures will also cover waves and gas exchange and the dynamics of tides and their influence on tidal ecosystems. The final part of the course will focus upon the formation of marine sediments and identification and monitoring of oceanic tracers and how these are used for palaeoceanography. The final lecture will provide insight into the future for our oceans in the face of rapid climate change. Where relevant videos and quantitative worked examples will be used to illustrate the information provided during lectures.Students will run their own experiments of future ocean acidification and ocean circulation changes using and Earth System model.


The course builds on the understandings developed in Introductory Oceanography (SOEE 2110). The objectives of the course are to develop a greater depth of understanding of major physical, chemical and biological processes in the ocean.

We aim to provide quantitative understandings of physical processes (including waves and tides) together with the basics of ocean-climate interactions, which can be used later in work on understanding the ocean-climate system and the effects of man altering the system.

Learning outcomes
An understanding of the physical processes governing ocean circulation.
1. An understanding of the interactions between atmosphere and ocean and their importance to climate, including exchange of heat, water, and trace gases.
2. An understanding of processes governing sea ice formation, melting, and its links with deep-water mass formation.
3. An understanding of the different processes contributing to sea level change.
4. An understanding of bio-chemical processes in the ocean.
5. The ability to run numerical experiments with an earth system model and analyse and interpret the results in the context of current scientific research.

Skills outcomes
Skills outcomes:

During this module, students will have the opportunity to further develop their written communication, planning and organisation, information literacy, research, problem solving, numeracy and time management skills.

Their written communication will be assessed within the context of the exam.

The students will learn to run an Intermediate Complexity climate model and will analyse and interpret the model output.


- Physical oceanography
- Nutrients in the oceans
- Waves and gas exchange
- Tides and tidal ecosystems
- Carbonate and biological pumps
- Marine sediments and tracers
- Palaeoceanography and the future of our oceans

Teaching methods

Delivery typeNumberLength hoursStudent hours
Private study hours125.00
Total Contact hours25.00
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits)150.00

Private study

125 hours to include: pre-reading for lectures, revision for exam, plus approx 45 hours independent work for the assessment of the modelling practical work.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

The Students' progress in the same manner as progress is monitored in SOEE 2110 (Introduction to Oceanography). The students will be encouraged to discuss informally any questions they might have about their progress in the course particularly during the 10-minute break in the middle of the session.

For level 5, student progress on the computer practicals will be assessed through direct interaction during the practicals.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportComputer Workshop - Assessed Report (2,000 words)45.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)45.00

The resit for this module will normally be by examination only

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 30 mins55.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)55.00

Normally resits will be assessed by the same methodology as the first attempt, unless otherwise stated

Reading list

There is no reading list for this module

Last updated: 10/05/2023 16:29:09


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