Study-Unit Description

Study-Unit Description


TITLE Introduction to Physical Oceanography 2

LEVEL 03 - Years 2, 3, 4 in Modular Undergraduate Course


DEPARTMENT Geosciences

DESCRIPTION Course work:

The study-unit covers theoretical, descriptive and practical aspects in the physical oceanography and will build on the study-unit ‘Introduction to Physical Oceanography I’. The main emphasis will be on the physics governing the oceans, the dynamical understanding of the circulation of the sea, tides, sea-level variability, waves and shallow water processes. The course will also tackle specialized methods in oceanographic data processing and analysis.


More specifically the study unit will deal with:

• ocean dimensions and seabed configuration;
• basic dynamical theory of the ocean;
• wind forcing: ocean circulation;
• introduction to sea waves and tides;
• methods in the analysis of ocean observations;
• ocean data management, quality control and exchange.

Learning outcomes:

Knowledge & Understanding:
By the end of the study-unit the student will be able to:

• understand and apply the basic concepts underlying the physical characteristics and dynamic behaviour of the oceans with appropriate mathematical description;
• make linkages to the other components of the marine ecosystem and apprehend the available technologies to observe the sea and methods of interpretations.

The students will be able to:

• quantitative understanding of the basic physical laws applied to the ocean continuum;
• apprehend basic literature referring to the marine physical environment;
• tap data and information sources on physical oceanography;
• apply high level tools for the scientific presentation and interpretation of oceanographic data.

Recommended Texts:

Brown, Evelyn, Angela Colling et al. (Open Unviersity) (1995) Seawater: its composition, properties and behaviour, Malton Keynes, Pergamon, 168pp
Brown, Joan, Angela Colling et al. (Open University) (1989) Ocean Circulation, Oxford, Pergamon, 238 pp
Brown, Joan, Angela Colling et al. (Open University) (1989) Waves, Tides and Shallow-Water Processes, Oxford, Pergamon 187pp

Additional Reference Books

Duxbury A.C. and Duxbury A.B (1991) An introduction to the World’s Oceans, 3rd edition C.brown Publishers
Gille A.E. (1982) Atmosphere-Ocean Dynamics Academic Press
Pickard George L & Willaim J Emery (1990) Descriptive Physical Oceanography, Oxford Pergamon Press, 320 pp.
William J Emery, Richard E Thomson, Data Analysis Methods in physical Oceanography , 654 pp.

ADDITIONAL NOTES Pre-requisites: Good background in Physics and Mathematics.

Before taking this study-unit you must take PHY1203 and other Earth Science study-unit.


Assessment Component/s Resit Availability Weighting
Classwork No 20%
Examination (1 Hour and 30 Minutes) Yes 80%


The University makes every effort to ensure that the published Courses Plans, Programmes of Study and Study-Unit information are complete and up-to-date at the time of publication. The University reserves the right to make changes in case errors are detected after publication.
The availability of optional units may be subject to timetabling constraints.
Units not attracting a sufficient number of registrations may be withdrawn without notice.
It should be noted that all the information in the description above applies to study-units available during the academic year 2020/1. It may be subject to change in subsequent years.