Module OSX-4014:
Geophysical Fluid Dynamics

Module Facts

Run by School of Ocean Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Mattias Green

Overall aims and purpose

The aim of the module is to introduce the principles of hydrodynamics and their application to the study of surface water waves and tides. The specific objectives are: 1. to introduce the relevant theoretical principles of classical hydrodynamics, turbulent mixing processes and dynamics in a rotating frame; 2. to apply these dynamical principles to study surface water waves, tides, wind-driven flows, and the large scale ocean circulation; 3. to study tidal dynamics including the effects of rotation and friction. 4. to introduce computational approaches involving dynamics.

Course content

This course introduces the main principles of classical geophysical fluid dynamics, including surface waves and tides. The topics covered include: Equations of motion and continuity, streamfunction, vorticity, rotational and irrotational flow. Linear surface gravity waves in deep' andshallow' water and their properties Standing waves. Internal waves. Governing principles and equations of motion with rotation.
Turbulent mixing, eddy viscosity, diffusivity, Reynolds stress.
Ekman theory of wind-driven flow. Inertial oscillations. Ocean circulation theory.
Basic theory of tidal forces and the equilibrium tidal model.
Effects of rotation and friction on tidal flow.
The advection-diffusion equation. Onset and maintenance of turbulence in terms of Richardson number.

The course is taught through lectures, computer practicals, a laboratory practical and exercises

Assessment Criteria

excellent

  • thorough understanding of knowledge (subject-specific theories, concepts and principles) of the processes of wave mechanics, dynamics and tides based on the directly taught programme together with some evidence of further reading.
  • thorough ability to define and solve numerical problems using appropriate techniques, and to interpret the results.

threshold

  • basic understanding of knowledge (subject-specific theories, concepts and principles) of the processes of wave mechanics, dynamics and tides based on the directly taught programme.
  • basic ability to define and solve numerical problems using appropriate techniques, and to interpret the results.

good

  • good understanding of knowledge (subject-specific theories, concepts and principles) of the processes of wave mechanics, dynamics and tides based on the directly taught programme.
  • good ability to define and solve numerical problems using appropriate techniques, and to interpret the results.

Learning outcomes

  1. display understanding of wave dynamics in theory and practice

  2. display understanding of fundamental tidal dynamics

  3. Display understanding of the theoretical principles of geophysical fluid dynamcis and turbulence, including large scale ocean circulation processes.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
WAVE TANK PRACTICAL 15
OSX 4014 Module Examination 50
Boundary Layers computer practical 10
Dynamics and Waves Problem Sheet 25

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Lecture

Lectures: 1 hour, 6 per week over 5 weeks

30
Private study

During Private Study students will be expected to undertake wider reading linked to the wave tank practical and computer practical assignments. A recommended book list and web based material will be provided

164
Practical classes and workshops

Computer exercise in one 3 hour session

3
Laboratory

Practical - wave tank

3

Transferable skills

  • Numeracy - Proficiency in using numbers at appropriate levels of accuracy
  • Computer Literacy - Proficiency in using a varied range of computer software
  • Self-Management - Able to work unsupervised in an efficient, punctual and structured manner. To examine the outcomes of tasks and events, and judge levels of quality and importance
  • Exploring - Able to investigate, research and consider alternatives
  • Information retrieval - Able to access different and multiple sources of information
  • Critical analysis & Problem Solving - Able to deconstruct and analyse problems or complex situations. To find solutions to problems through analyses and exploration of all possibilities using appropriate methods, rescources and creativity.
  • Presentation - Able to clearly present information and explanations to an audience. Through the written or oral mode of communication accurately and concisely.

Subject specific skills

  • Conduct fieldwork and/or laboratory work competently with awareness of appropriate risk assessment and ethical considerations
  • Recognize and apply appropriate theories and concepts from a range of disciplines.
  • Apply subject knowledge to the understanding and addressing of problems.
  • Collect, analyse and interpret primary and/or secondary data using appropriate qualitative and/or quantitative techniques.

Resources

Reading list

Lecture notes provided in class; Kundu: Fluid Mechanics; Stewart: An introduction to Physical Oceanography (available online)

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses: