PHYSICS OF THE SEA
Oral exam: candidates will be asked questions regarding the topics discussed in class (75% of the final grade).
Computing project: the active presence and the performance during the lab sessions will be evaluated (25% of final grade).
Provide basic knowledge of the physics of the oceans. Show the usefulness of mathematical and physical models for the description and the understanding of geophysical fluid dynamics. Provide basic knowledge of oceanographic data formats and processing and visualization tools (netcdf files, Matlab scripts).
In the first part of the course fundamental physical properties of the ocean will be introduced. The second part will be basic geophysical fluid dynamics, with the discussion of solutions to approximations relevant for the description of the ocean circulation. Observational data analysis through the Matlab program will be performed in the laboratory.
Ocean Physics: Light and sound propagation. Temperature and salinity. Equation of state. Stratification. Tracer distribution. Heat fluxes. Water masses. T-S diagrams.
Oceanic Dynamics: Navier-Stokes equation. Mass conservation. Hydrostatic approximation. Geostrophic. Thermal wind equation. Vorticiity. Boundary layer. Large scale circulation and winds. Subtropical and subpolar gyres. Western boundary currents. Gravity waves. Rossby and Kelvin waves. Turbulent fluxes.
Ocean data analysis: Introduction to ocean databases, use of netcdf files through the software program Matlab, introduction to spatio-temporal data analysis, visualization of ocean maps.
Textbook and teaching resource
Stewart, “Introduction to Physical Oceanography”, freely available on line.
Marshall and Plumb “Atmosphere, Ocean, and Climate Dynamics”, Academic Press (2008)
Vallis “Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics”, Cambridge UNiv. Press (2006)