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MSMS 5050 Physical Oceanography: Getting Started

Course guide for Physical Oceanography

Physical Oceanography

Physical Oceanography
MSMS 5050
Summer 2024

This course is intended to give students a view to how wind, radiation, gravity, friction, and the Earth's rotation determine the ocean's temperature and salinity patterns and currents. Some important process we will study include heat budget of the oceans, exchange of heat with the atmosphere and the role of the ocean in climate, surface mixed layer, waves in the ocean, geostrophy, Ekman transport, upwelling, Rossby waves, subtropical gyres, western and eastern boundary currents. Students will learn how to explain physical features of the ocean ranging from microscopic turbulence to global circulation.

Recommended Textbooks:

Students will learn: 

  • How wind, radiation, gravity, friction, and the Earth's rotation determine the ocean's temperature and salinity patterns and currents
  • The complex nature of the relationships between oceanic and atmospheric processes 
  • How physical processes may influence marine organisms.

At the end of the course, students will be able to effectively communicate the subject of this course, including terminology and main concepts of physical oceanography. 

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