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.