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2023/24 Taught Postgraduate Module Catalogue

SOEE5835M Advanced Atmosphere and Ocean Dynamics

15 creditsClass Size: 15

Module manager: Prof Doug Parker

Taught: Semester 2 (Jan to Jun) View Timetable

Year running 2023/24

Pre-requisite qualifications

Entry to the Msc in Atmosphere-Ocean Dynamics, or maths equivalent to SOEE1302 and SOEE1312.


SOEE1302Advanced Mathematics 1
SOEE1312Advanced Mathematics 2

This module is mutually exclusive with

SOEE2210Atmosphere and Ocean Dynamics

This module is not approved as an Elective

Module summary

This module deals with the way in which we can understand, interpret and predict the flow of air and of water in the Earth's environment. The syllabus beings with discussion of the general properties of fluids, with relevance to interpreting and understanding their motion (such as the evolution of vortices), before moving to explore the flows of air and water in the environment. Simple models related to atmospheric, oceanic and river flows will be developed. Two practicals, one of which is computer-based, are used to investigate these topics. The module would be of interest to any students interested in the physical environment and is relevant to many applications, such as pollution transport, hydrology or sedimentology.


On completion of this module, students will understand the basic principles of Newtonian fluid mechanics, with an emphasis on the flow of air and water. They will be familiar with the Navier-Stokes equations, and the scale analysis which leads to simplified forms that are used in practice. The behaviour of incompressible, inviscid flows will be covered in some detail. The module will illustrate the theoretical ideas by reference to observations of real environmental flows. Students will apply this knowledge to practical work using model and laboratory data. They will develop skills in managing and handling diverse data types. They will also develop independent literature research skills through an individual project.

Learning outcomes
The module places considerable emphasis on:
- recognising and using subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts and principles.

The module places moderate emphasis on:
- analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research;
- applying knowledge and understanding to address familiar and unfamiliar problems;
- collecting, recording and analysing data using appropriate techniques in the field and laboratory;
- receiving and responding to a variety of information sources (eg textual numerical, verbal, graphical);
- appreciating issues of sample selection, accuracy, precision and uncertainty during collecting, recording and analysis of data in the field and laboratory;
- solving numerical problems using computer and non-computer based techniques;
- identifying and working towards targets for personal, academic and career development;
- developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (eg working independently, time management and organisation skills).

The module places some emphasis on:
- collecting and integrating several lines of evidence to formulate and test hypotheses;
- planning, conducting and reporting on investigations, including the use of secondary data;
- referencing work in an appropriate manner;
- communicating appropriately to a variety of audiences in written, verbal and graphical form;
- preparing, processing, interpreting and presenting data, using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques and packages;
- using the Internet critically as a means of communication and a source of information;
- identifying individual and collective goals and responsibilities and performing in a manner appropriate to these roles;
- developing an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work.


- Kinematics---vorticity and divergence.
- Lagranian and Eulerian frames of reference and the Lagrangian derivative.
- Continuity and state equations.
- Forces in a Newtonian fluid.
- The Navier Stokes equations and some basic solutions.
- Scale analysis and the Reynolds number; Bernoulli's theorem.
- Incompressible and irrotational flows.
- The vorticity equation.
- Some effects of buoyancy and stratification.
- Fluids on a rotating plane---the Coriolis force.
- Turbulence.

Teaching methods

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

Private study

20 hours: practical preparation and write-up.
40 hours: reading and revision.
20 hours: examples preparation.
45 hours: research and writing of project.

Opportunities for Formative Feedback

Continuous informal feedback is provided through examples classes. Formal written feedback from the assessed practicals during the semester will guide students in advance of the independent project and exam. Written feedback will also be provided on the independent project.

Methods of assessment

Assessment typeNotes% of formal assessment
ReportLiterature review. (3000 words)35.00
Practical1 project report. Structured questions / exercises linked to one of the practical classes.25.00
Total percentage (Assessment Coursework)60.00

Resit not available for second practical - alternative desk based assessment to be set if required.

Exam typeExam duration% of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc)1 hr 30 mins40.00
Total percentage (Assessment Exams)40.00

The re-sit for this module is by examination only. Marks for the coursework are combined with those for the examination if required to acheive a pass.

Reading list

The reading list is available from the Library website

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


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