autumn 2020
FYS-8030 Fluid dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans - 10 ECTS

Sist endret: 08.05.2020

Application deadline

Programstudents may register for the course through Studentweb. The registration deadline is September 1st/February 1st.

Other PhD students at UiT and external applicants may apply for admission through Søknadsweb, application code 9301. The application deadline is June 1st for the autumn semester and December 1st for the spring semester.


Type of course

The course is available as a singular course.

Admission requirements

PhD students or holders of a Norwegian Master of Science degree of five years or 3+ 2 years (or equivalent) may be admitted. PhD students must upload a document from their university stating that there are registered PhD students. This group of applicants does not have to prove English proficiency and are exempt from semester fee.

Holders of a Master´s degree must upload a Master´s Diploma with Diploma Supplement / English translation of the diploma. Applicants from listed countries must document proficiency in English. To find out if this applies to you see the following list:

Proficiency in English must be documented - list of countries


For more information on accepted English proficiency tests and scores, as well as exemptions from the English proficiency tests, please see the following document:

Proficiency in english - PhD level studies


PhD students at UiT The Arctic University of Norway register for the course through StudentWeb .

External applicants apply for admission through SøknadsWeb.

Application code 9303

More information regarding PhD courses at the Faculty of Science and Technology is found here.

Course content

The course gives the basic theory for the large-scale dynamics of atmospheres and oceans, and provides the foundation for more specialized studies of atmosphere and ocean dynamics. The course includes the fundamental equations for atmosphere and ocean fluid dynamics, the effects of rotation and stratification, the beta-plan approximation, the Boussinesq and anelastic equations, scaling relevant for the Earth atmosphere and ocean circulations, the Rossby number, static instability and gravity waves, the Ekman layer, the shallow-water approximation and its wave solutions, available potential energy, vorticity, potential vorticity, the circulation theorems, Rossby waves, and barotropic and baroclinic instability, the Eliassen-Palm flux and the transformed Eulean mean (TEM) eqations.

Recommended prerequisites

FYS-1001 Mechanics, FYS-2001 Statistical physics and Thermodynamics, FYS-2018 Global climate change, MAT-1003 Calculus 3, MAT-2200 Differential Equations

Objectives of the course

Knowledge - The student can:

  • identify the basic equations relevant for the circulation in the atmosphere and ocean
  • describe the concept and the characteristics of constant density, barotropic, and baroclinic fluids
  • explain the implication on a fluid by rotation, and describe the concept of an f-plane and beta-plane.
  • explain the advantages and limitations of the Boussinesq and anelastic approximations, and describe the reasons for, and implications of the density variations in the Earth's atmosphere and ocean
  • describe the concept of thermal-wind balance
  • explain the role of static stability and instability and its implications for gravity and acoustic waves
  • describe the advantages and the limitations of the shallow-water approximation
  • identify wave solution to the shallow-water equations such as Kelvin and Poincaré waves
  • explain the Kelvin theorem and the concept of vorticity and potential vorticity
  • describe the quasi-geostrophic approximation and identify its Rossby wave solution
  • explain barotropic and baroclinic instability
  • explain more advanced concepts concerning wave-mean flow interaction, such as the Eliassen-Palm flux and the transformed Eulean mean equations

Skills - The student can:

  • solve basic problems within atmosphere and ocean fluid dynamics
  • apply appropriate scaling of equations associated with atmosphere and ocean fluid dynamical problems
  • apply more advanced theory for investigating wave-mean flow interaction.

General competence - The student can:

  • incorporate current knowledge and new scientific information into critical thinking
  • communicate theories, problem descriptions, and solutions

Language of instruction

The language of instruction is English and all of the syllabus material is in English. Examination questions will be given in English, but may be answered either in English or a Scandinavian language.

Teaching methods

Lectures: 40 hours

Exercises: 20 hours


An oral examination counts about 100 % of the assessment. Assessment scale: letter grades A-F.

Re-sit examination (section 22): There is no access to a re-sit examination in this course.

Postponed examination (sections 17 and 21): Students with valid grounds for absence will be offered a re-scheduled examination during the semester if possible, otherwise early in the following semester. 

See indicated sections in Regulations for examinations at the UiT The arctic university of Norway for more information.

Access to the final examination requires submission and approval of up to three assignments.


Course overlap

FYS-3030 Fluid dynamics of atmospheres and oceans 8 stp
  • Om emnet
  • Studiested: Tromsø |
  • Studiepoeng: 10
  • Emnekode: FYS-8030