EOSC 512 · Advanced Geophysical Fluid Dynamics

This course is not eligible for Credit/D/Fail grading.

Course Availability & Schedule


First Class - Thursday, Sept 7 2017, 9:30am, EOS-Main room 101

Learning Goals


The purpose of this course is to a) introduce the student to the dynamical principles governing the large-scale low-frequency motions in strongly rotating fluid systems (like the ocean, atmosphere, and planetary liquid core), and their consequences, and b) to develop the skills required to manipulate and use these equations to solve problems.  At the end of this course, students should be able to

  • Write down the "standard equations" of GFD, identify the different terms, and explain how different dynamical features depend on these terms.
  • Define standard terms (the "language'' of GFD) and identify them when they arise in the context of dynamical interpretations.
  • Use the following mathematical techniques to simplify complex equation sets:
    1. linearization
    2. scaling arguments and perturbation expansions (incl. WKBJ) 
    3. normal mode techniques  
    4. complex exponentials in wave and instability problems
  • Choose the appropriate mathematical technique to simplify and solve particular "canonical'' GFD problems. Examples include:
    1.  Taylor-Proudman theorem
    2.  Long Waves in Nonrotating systems (seiches, edge waves):
    3.  Long Waves in Rotating systems (Poincare, Sverdrup, Kelvin, Rossby)
    4.  Rossby Reflection and Adjustment problems
    5.  Rayleigh, baroclinic, and barotropic instability
    6.  Ekman boundary layers


R. Pawlowicz


None, or alternatively, most of the 'standard' GFD texts for different bits of the course. Plus stuff I have not seen anywhere.

Course Content

Lecture Topics

Preliminaries, Scaling 1 hour
Governing Equations 3 hours
Fundamentals of Thermodynamics 3 hours
Rotating Flows 5 hours
Concepts in Wave Propagation 2 hours
inviscid Shallow Water Equations 8 hours
Stratification 2 hours
Friction and Viscosity 3 hours
Inbstability in rotating flows 3 hours
Convection 3 hours
Review 1 hour