spring 2016

BIO-2516 Ocean Climate - 10 ECTS

Sist endret: 07.04.2017

The course is provided by

Faculty of Biosciences, Fisheries and Economics


Tromsø |

Application deadline

Applicants from Nordic countries: 1 June for the autumn semester and 1 December for the spring semester. Concerns only admission to singular courses. Exchange students and Fulbright students: 1 October for the spring semester and 15 April for the autumn semester.

Type of course

The course is available for students at the study program Biologi, klima og miljø, Miljøledelse og forurensningsbiology and exchange students at a biology study program. Students from other Departments for instance geology and physics are also welcome. The course is available as a singular course.

Students are encouraged to also take BIO-2010 Marine ecology and BIO-2513 Marin biodiversitet (Please note! Norwegian taught course)

Admission requirements

Applicants from Nordic countries must have:

Generell studiekompetanse, samt følgende spesielle opptakskrav: Matematikk R1 eller matematikk S1+S2 og i tillegg ett av følgende programfag:

  • Matematikk (R1+R2)
  • Fysikk (1+2)
  • Kjemi (1+2)
  • Biologi (1+2)
  • Informasjonsteknologi (1+2)
  • Geofag (1+2)
  • Teknologi og forskningslære (1+2)

Application code: 9336 (Nordic applicants). It is a requirement that students have  some prior knowledge of biology and ecology, chemistry and mathematics. (Participants must have taken introductory level university courses, and achieved pass grades, in these subjects).

International applicants: Higher Education Entrance Qualification and certified language requirements in English. It is a requirement that students have  some prior knowledge of biology and ecology, chemistry and mathematics. A list of the requirements for the Higher Education Entrance Qualification in Norway can be found on the Norwegian Agency for Quality Assurance in Education website - nokut.no

Course content

The course provides a descriptive introduction to physical processes in the ocean and the ocean¿s role in the climate system. The students will be given an introduction to the physical setting of the oceans, the basic physical and chemical properties of seawater, basic principles of ocean circulation and mixing in the ocean, tides and waves. We will discuss interactions between atmosphere and ocean, the ocean¿s role in the global heat budget and the climate system, and connections to anthropogenic climate change. Lectures will be supplemented by laboratory exercises and seminars to further explore the most important physical processes. The course includes a scientific cruise to the Lofoten area. The students will get experience in handling oceanographic instruments for data acquisition and programming for data analysis, and will produce a cruise report.¿At the end of the course, the students will be able to explain the basic physical processes in the ocean and the ocean¿s impact on the climate system, and use their knowledge of ocean physics to analyse and interpret oceanographic data.

Objectives of the course

At the end of the course, the students will be able to:

  • explain and use oceanographic terminology
  • describe the basic physical and chemical properties of sea water
  • demonstrate basic principles of density and wind driven circulation in the ocean
  • sketch simple explanations of basic models for ocean circulation, e.g. geostrophic circulation or Ekman transport
  • provide an elementary explanation for tidal forcing
  • distinguish and classify different types of waves
  • discuss the ocean¿s role in the climate system
  • use oceanographic literature such as scientific papers to obtain relevant information
  • make standard oceanographic observations, and analyse and interpret the results.

Language of instruction


Teaching methods

Lectures, laboratory exercises, seminars, research cruise


3 hour written exam(50% of final grade), lab reports (30%), seminar presentation (20%). Letter grades A-F where A-E are required to pass, F is fail. The lab reports and seminar presentation have to be approved (i.e. receive a pass grade, grade A-E) before students are admitted to the final exam.

Students who fail the exam will be able to take a re-sit exam. In the re-sit exam the grades from the seminar presentation and lab report (ordinary exam) will apply, and there will only be a new written exam.

Date for examination

Written 03.06.2016

The date for the exam can be changed. The final date will be announced in the StudentWeb early in May and early in November.


Course overlap

BIO-2514 Marine ecology 1.5 stp
BIO-2510 Basic Physical Oceanography 8 stp
GEO-2010 Marine Geosciences 1.5 stp

Recommended reading/syllabus

Selected pages from The Open University Series. Pergamon