Physics 527: Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
Fall Semester 2016
Office Hours: WF 10-11 am
Class Hours: MWF 9-9:50 am
This is a course in geophysical fluid dynamics, offered as a
graduate level course in the physics department. As such, mathematics
and physics preparation that is typical of an undergraduate physics
degree is expected.
Course Learning Outcomes
By the end of this course, students will know fundamentals of
geophysical fluide dynamics, including:
- The governing equations in advective (Lagrangian) and flux
- Know and apply common approximations to the equations of motion
governing atmospheric fluid motions (e.g., anelastic and Boussinesq
- Significant balance relationships (hydrostatic, geostrophic,
and thermal wind).
- Shallow water equations.
- Important concepts including vorticity and potential vorticity.
- Types, including Rossby & gravity
- interactions with mean flow
- Understanding of important aspects of large-scale atmospheric
- Hadley cells
- stratospheric circulations
- Tropical circulations & water vapor
- Understanding of important aspects of large-scale oceanic
circulation, including El Nino.
Program Learning Outcomes
This course is part of the graduate program in physics with atmospheric
Text: Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics by Geoffrey Vallis.
We will also use the author's Notes for a 2nd edition found
Homework assignments Homework assignments will be posted
(approximately weekly), and you will typically have 1 week to complete
them. These will primarily consist of problems that support work
related to lecture and the text book (i.e., derivations and problems
from the text book). You may collaborate to complete the problems,
though the work you turn in must be your own.
Paper You will be required to write a paper on a topic
related to geophysical fluid dynamics. It should be 5-10 pages long,
including figures. If you are already working on a manuscript or an
independent study or thesis, it would be appropriate to write the
introduction as your course contribution (ONLY if it is OK with your
research advisor, and ONLY if you have not already written it--please
use this as an opportunity to create a new document, not complete an
old one). I encourage you to collaborate with your research supervisor for
ideas. Of course, they must be related to GFD.
Th grade for this paper will be based on the following components:
- Abstract: This should be a conference-style abstract
which serves the purpose of proposing the topic of your paper.
- Literature notes: This is basically an identification
of the references you will use for your paper, and brief
notes on the relevance.
- Mind Map: This is a drawing of the point of your paper
which includes the topics and parts of the paper. It is an
effective tool for organizing your thoughts. From this, you can construct
- Draft for peer review: You will submit a draft to be
read and reviewed by your classmates. You will also be responsible
for reviewing the papers turned in by your classmates. I will provide
review criteria that is typical of a peer-review journal.
- Final paper: This should incorporate
- the comments from peer reviews
- relevant figures that are discussed in text of the paper, and
which have captions
- a list of references, with references properly cited in the text
- Short (15 minute) presentation on paper topic.
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provided free of charge by licensed professionals. To schedule an
appointment, please call 835-6619.
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You are responsible for knowing, understanding, and following this policy.
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