Module OSX-3016:
Ocean Modelling

Module Facts

Run by School of Ocean Sciences

20 Credits or 10 ECTS Credits

Semester 1

Organiser: Dr Simon Neill

Overall aims and purpose

The purpose of this module is to give a systematic understanding of key aspects of physical and inter-disciplinary oceanography of coastal waters and an insight into and practical experience of the way in which dynamical processes can be modelled. You will learn about how the coastal ocean can be explored as a system which obeys the laws of nature and how the different aspects (physical, geological, chemical and biological) interact. Lectures will develop ideas about motion, flow of water, heating and cooling, stratification, vertical mixing, primary productivity and suspended sediments. You will be familiar with these concepts from the second year; in this module they will be dealt with in a quantitative way. The physics of coastal waters will be linked to nutrient and carbon cycling through a simple computer model. In practical exercises using this model, you will learn how to predict the seasonal variation of temperature, turbidity, nutrients and primary production in coastal waters. You will then go on to learn how to solve equations of motion using computer models that you will write yourself, and to use a computer model to study the flow of water in a coastal water body.

Course content

The course of 20 lectures and associated practical work is designed to give a systematic understanding of key aspects of physical oceanography of coastal waters. The course develops ideas you will have come across in the second year about the links between the physics, chemistry and biology of shelf seas and oceans. You will be introduced to the idea of making forecasts about the ocean using computer software and models. You will learn how to make predictions about how the coastal ocean changes with the seasons. You will learn how to predict water temperature, suspended sediments, nutrients and primary productivity in the oceans. You will then go on to study the equations governing the flow of water in the ocean (the equations of motion and continuity) and learn how to solve these on a computer. You will apply this knowledge by writing your own computer programs to solve differential equations and using a computer model of flow in the Menai Strait.

Assessment Criteria

threshold

Threshold (grades D- to D+) 1. Basic appreciation of physical and biogeochemical processes that regulate both the concentration and temporal and spatial distribution of dissolved and particulate constituents in coastal waters. 2. Basic ability to describe the effect of physical processes and man's activities on distribution of dissolved and particulate constituents in coastal waters. 3. Basic ability to manage your own learning and to make use of the referred research articles. 4. Ability to use numerical models to produce results.

good

Good (grades C- to B+) 1. Able to appreciate physical and biogeochemical processes that regulate the both the concentration and temporal and spatial distribution of dissolved and particulate constituents in coastal waters. 2. Ability to describe the effect of physical processes and man's activities on distribution of dissolved and particulate constituents in coastal waters. 3. Demonstrate management of own learning and use of referred research articles. 4. Ability to use numerical models and to present the results they use in a coherent way, including reference to their relation to the real world.

excellent

Excellent (grade A- or above) 1. Considerable appreciation of physical and biogeochemical processes that regulate both the concentration and temporal and spatial distribution of dissolved and particulate constituents in coastal waters. 2. Considerable ability to describe the effect of physical processes and man's activities on distribution of dissolved and particulate constituents in coastal waters. 3. Thorough demonstration of ability to manage your own learning and to make use of referred research articles. 4. Ability to use numerical models and to present the results they use in a coherent way, including reference to their relation to the real world. Additionally, show evidence that you understand how the results of the modelling depend on the equations and assumptions used in the model and to give examples of how these constraints affect the results.

Learning outcomes

  1. preparing, processing and presenting data using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques and packages

  2. solving numerical problems using computer and non-computer based techniques

  3. Experience of writing your own computer programs

  4. Have developed an understanding of biogeochemical processes that regulate the concentration and temporal and spatial distribution of dissolved and particulate constituents in coastal waters.

  5. Appreciate the role of the seasons in governing temporal variations in stratification, nutrient dynamics and primary productivity of the oceans.

  6. Be conversant with the effect of physical processes and man's activities on distribution of dissolved and particulate constituents in coastal waters.

  7. Be able to manage your own learning and to make use of referred research articles.

  8. Be able to make quantitative predictions about the physics, chemistry and biology of coastal waters by solving the governing equations numerically.

  9. Appreciate the role of temporal and geographical variations in stratification and vertical mixing on nutrient dynamics and primary productivity of the oceans.

Assessment Methods

Type Name Description Weight
COURSEWORK Report: Tidal modelling 20
COURSEWORK Inundation modelling 30
EXAM Exam 50

Teaching and Learning Strategy

Hours
Lecture

10 hours modelling + 10 hours oceanography

20
Private study

Practical experience of writing and using computer models 60 hours. Background reading and work on assignments 120 hours.

180

Transferable skills

  • Literacy - Proficiency in reading and writing through a variety of media
  • 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

Courses including this module

Compulsory in courses:

Optional in courses: