Introduction to Physical Oceanography and ClimateFAS course web page for EPS 131 (Spring 2014)
Field trip to Woods Hole oceanographic institution, spring 2014.
- Eli Tziperman, office hours: please see FAS course web page.
- Chris Horvat, firstname.lastname@example.org. Tel, office, office Hours: please see FAS course
- Monday, Thursday, 2:30-4.
- University Museum (24 Oxford St), first floor, room 105 (Daly Seminar Rm)
- To Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Thursday, April 3, 2014. Departing
early morning, returning around 6pm.
Matlab Intro Session:
- date TBA (Feb 2014) time TBA, location: TBA
- time TBA, location: TBA.
Field trips to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution: 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014.
EPS 131 Oscar events: 2005, 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014.
zeta vs xi (ζ vs ξ) competition: 2008, 2010, 2012, 2014.
Last updated: January 5, 2015
The final course time will be determined during the first two weeks of classes, to minimize
conflicts with other courses for interested students
Feel free to write or call me with any questions:
Eli Tziperman; eli AT eps.harvard.edu
Office hours: call/ write.
(Obligatory & fun) field trip to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI): April 3
2014. We’ll be leaving Cambridge very early in the morning, back in the late afternoon. Our Host
will be Dr. Bob Pickart; in previous trips we visited the R/V Atlantis, R/V Knorr, the submersible
Alvin, and toured the labs of WHOI; photos;
Main ones, although it wont be followed very closely:
- (Kn) J. A. Knauss, introduction to physical oceanography, 2nd edition, 1996, Prentice
Hall, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey.
Also useful: see additional readings below.
This course will cover observations and the understanding of ocean phenomena from local
surface beach waves to the effects of the oceans on global climate. We will discuss ocean
waves, the Coriolis force and ocean currents, the large scale temperature and salinity
distributions and more. As part of the ocean’s role in climate we will cover the wind-driven
circulation and the Gulf stream, the thermohaline circulation and the potential instability of
Europe’s climate due to global warming, El Nino events in the equatorial Pacific ocean,
and more. The basic fluid dynamics equations will be gradually introduced. A field
trip to the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Code will be held during
the course, which will be an opportunity to learn about sea-going oceanography as
The students will be introduced to the Matlab software for scientific computation and graphics,
which will be used for some of the homework assignments.
Prerequisite: Mathematics 21ab or Applied Mathematics 21ab; Physics 15abc or 12ab or
applied physics 50ab; or equivalents/ permission of instructor.
Detailed lecture notes, directory with all source materials for the lectures.
- Outline and motivation
- Temperature and salinity
- Horizontal circulation I: currents, Coriolis force
- Waves and oscillations I: basics
- Sea-going physical oceanography Finally, the real stuff. Two lectures by Dr. Bob
Pickart from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, and a field trip to Woods
- Friction moving icebergs and feeding the fish
- The thermohaline circulation
- Horizontal circulation II: Gulf Stream and other western boundary currents
- El Nino
- Abrupt climate change
- Some fluid dynamics fundamentals
- Waves and oscillations II: deep ocean waves and waves affected by the
- Misc Advanced topics (time permitting);
4 Additional reading
- John A. Knauss, Introduction to Physical Oceanography, 320 pages; 2nd edition, 2005.
- J. Marshall and R. A. Plumb, Atmosphere, ocean, and climate dynamics, Elsevier
Academic Press, Burlington, MA, USA, 2008, 319pp.
- G. L. Pickard and W. J. Emery, Descriptive Physical Oceanography - An Introduction,
Butterworth Heinemann, 1990.
- Stephen Pond and George L. Pickard, Introductory dynamical Oceanography, 3rd
edition, Butterworth-Heinemann, 1993.
- Open university: Ocean Circulation (Second Edition); Evelyn Brown, Angela Colling,
Dave Park, John Phillips, Dave Rothery and John Wright
- Open university: Waves, Tides and Shallow-Water Processes, Second Edition;
- (St) Robert H. Stewart, on-line physical oceanography book
- On-line version of ’Regional oceanography’
- Philander, S. G. H., El Nino, La Nina, and the Southern Oscillation., Academic Press,
- (Ku) Kundo P.K. and Cohen I.M., Fluid mechanics. 2nd edition 2002.
- Benoit Cushman-Roisin, Introduction to geophysical fluid dynamics, Prentice-Hall,
- Vallis, G., 2005, Atmospheric and oceanic fluid dynamics, fundamentals and large-scale
circulation, Cambridge University Press.
- Pedlosky, J., 1987, Geophysical Fluid Dynamics., 2nd edition, Springer-Verlag.
- Pedlosky, J., 1996, ocean circulation theory, Springer-Verlag, Berlin-Heidelberg-New
- Pedlosky, J., 2003, waves in the ocean and atmosphere., Springer-Verlag,
- Gill, A. E, 1982, Atmosphere–ocean dynamics, Academic Press, London
Quasi-weekly homework will be given throughout the course. The best 90% of the homework will
constitute 40% of the final grade. Each student will be invited to present a brief informal
description of some aspects of the ocean circulation and its role in climate and possibly do a class
presentation of a fluid experiment (30%), see details here for a list of possible subjects. The final
exam may be a take home (30%).