Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: NS-MO401M
Dynamical oceanography
Course infoSchedule
Course codeNS-MO401M
ECTS Credits7.5
Category / LevelM (Master)
Course typeCourse
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byFaculty of Science; Graduate School of Natural Sciences;
Contact personprof. dr. ir. H.A. Dijkstra
Telephone+31 30 2539260
prof. dr. ir. H.A. Dijkstra
Feedback and availability
Other courses by this lecturer
Contactperson for the course
prof. dr. ir. H.A. Dijkstra
Other courses by this lecturer
Teaching period
3-4  (06/02/2017 to 07/07/2017)
Teaching period in which the course begins
Time slot-: Not in use
Study mode
Enrolment periodfrom 30/10/2016 up to and including 27/11/2016
Course application processOsiris
Enrolling through OSIRISYes
Enrolment open to students taking subsidiary coursesYes
Post-registration openfrom 23/01/2017 up to and including 24/01/2017
Waiting listNo
1. has in-depth knowledge of the mathematical formulation of the large-scale wind-driven and thermohaline-driven ocean circulation
2. knows the quasi-geostrophic theory  of the wind-driven ocean circulation and the underlying physics
3. understands the concepts of continuously stratified and multi-layer ocean models, and the effect of density stratification on ocean flows
4.  is able to model the adjustment of a midlatitude  ocean flow to a time-dependent wind-stress forcing, and knows the role of Rossby waves in this process
5. understands the physics of the equatorial current system and is able to model
equatorial Kelvin waves/Rossby waves
6. is able to model and describe the physical concepts of ocean-atmosphere coupled processes and ocean adjustment processes related to El Nino
The ocean circulation is driven by wind-forcing and by density differences, the latter arising through gradients in temperature and salinity. After a brief description of the ocean current systems which are presently observed, this course focuses on understanding the physical processes that determine the spatial pattern and amplitude of the currents and their variability. After a recapitulation of basic principles of geophysical fluid dynamics, the theory of the steady homogeneous wind-driven ocean circulation will be presented. It leads to an explanation of the presence of strong western boundary currents in midlatitude ocean basins (i.e., the Gulf Stream in the Atlantic Ocean). Subsequently, the midlatitude theory is extended to include transient phenomena (waves and instabilities) and the effects of stratification. Next, the problem of the existence of the ocean's peculiar vertical density distribution serves as an introduction to the theory of the planetary density driven (or thermohaline) circulation. In a similar way, the problems of the dynamical existence of the equatorial countercurrent and equatorial undercurrent motivates to consider the theory of the equatorial ocean circulation. Finally, a basic view of the processes governing the Antarctic Circumpolar Current is presented.
Entry requirements
You must meet the following requirements
  • Assigned study entrance permit for the master
Required materials
Dynamical Oceanography, H. A. Dijkstra, Springer, 2008, 408pp. Boek kan gekocht worden via secretariaat IMAU
Recommended materials
Introductory dynamical oceanography, Pond, S. and Pickard, G.L., Pergamom Press, 1991.
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Pedlosky, J., Springer-Verlag, 1987.
Introduction to Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Cushman-Roisin, B. , Prentice Hall, 1994.
Geen software nodig
Instructional formats

General remarks
During the course, several problem sets will be handed out. Students are encouraged to work on these problems and to hand in the solutions. Furthermore, the students work in groups on small projects to get familiar with data visualisation and modelling.


Test weight100
Minimum grade5.5

Course grading: Final exam: 50%. Problem sets: 25%. Projects: 25%. There is no mid-term exam.

Kies de Nederlandse taal