Climate Dynamics and Processes


Course Objective

By the end of the course, students should have developed an in-depth
knowledge of the base functioning of the atmosphere and ocean components
of the climate system, from a physical systems point of view. Amongst
the questions that will be developed are: what are the drivers of
atmospheric convection? What is the effect of the rotation of the
planet? What is the physical background of known climatological features
such as planetary waves, monsoons, etc. Why are the oceanic boundary
currents located on the west side of ocean basins? How is the deep ocean

Course Content

The climate on earth is mainly dependent on the redistribution of heat
from the sun through the atmosphere and, through the coupling of the two
bodies, the oceans. Both atmosphere and ocean are governed by the
equations of thin fluid layers on a rotating sphere: as a consequence,
numerous aspects of the atmospheric and ocean dynamics can be derived
from specific approximations of the well-known Navier-Stokes equations.
Those form the center of the course and will be used to describe
well-known phenomenon occurring in both the atmosphere and the ocean
that form the base for the understanding of the climate on Earth. We
will illustrate several aspects with state of the art examples, such as
the weakening of the jet stream, the climate of (Tolkien’s) Middle Earth
etc. We will also discuss several key papers.

Teaching Methods

Lectures, group discussion and computer exercises. There willl be six
lectures and 4 workshops and a student presentations. The workshops will
consist of Python/Matlab exercises. The students are required to develop
a specific project for analysis and present this towards the end of the

Method of Assessment

Compulsory participation in computer exercises, oral presentation and
written exam. The final mark is based on 20% being the oral presentation
mark 20% exercises and 60% the final written exam.

Entry Requirements

Climate Science (BSc) and Climate Modelling (Msc)


This year most likely: G.K. Vallis: Essentials of Atmospheric and ocean
dynamics, Cambridge University Press, 2019. DOI:10.1017/987107588431.
ISBN 978-1-107-69279-4 (Paperback)

Target Audience

Msc Earth Science with an interest in physics of climate

Recommended background knowledge

Mathematics and Physics (BSc), some experience in Python/Matlab
programming is also useful

General Information

Course Code AM_1230
Credits 6 EC
Period P4
Course Level 400
Language of Tuition English
Faculty Faculty of Science
Course Coordinator prof. dr. A.J. Dolman
Examiner prof. dr. A.J. Dolman
Teaching Staff dr. N.A.J. Schutgens
dr. A.G.C.A. Meesters
dr. D.M.V.A.P. Roche
prof. dr. A.J. Dolman

Practical Information

You need to register for this course yourself

Last-minute registration is available for this course.

Teaching Methods Seminar, Lecture
Target audiences

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