SOEE2210 Atmosphere and Ocean Dynamics

Reading List
  • Taught: Semester 1 View timetable
  • Credits: 10
  • Class Size: 30
  • Module Manager: Prof Doug Parker
  • Email:
  • Pre-Requisite Qualifications: Appropriate level of maths (SOEE1301 and SOEE1311 or equivalent)
  • This Module is approved as a Discovery Module
  • This module replaces ENVI2210
  • This module has the following Pre-requisites:
    • SOEE1301 Intermediate Mathematics for Environmental Scientists
    • SOEE1311 Advanced Mathematics for Environmental Scientists

Discovery module overview

Module Summary

Module Summary

This module deals with the way in which we can understand, interpret and predict the flow of air and of water in the Earth's environment. The syllabus beings with discussion of the general properties of fluids, with relevance to interpreting and understanding their motion (such as the evolution of vortices), before moving to explore the flows of air and water in the environment. Simple models related to atmospheric, oceanic and river flows will be developed. Two practicals, one of which is computer-based, are used to investigate these topics. The module would be of interest to any students interested in the physical environment and is relevant to many applications, such as pollution transport, hydrology or sedimentology. It would also represent a good introduction to fluid dynamics for Physical Scientists, or a complement to other fluids modules studied by Engineers or Mathematicians.


On completion of this module, students will understand the basic principles of Newtonian fluid mechanics, with an emphasis on the flow of air and water. They will be familiar with the Navier-Stokes equations, and the scale analysis which leads to simplified forms that are used in practice. The behaviour of incompressible, inviscid flows will be covered in some detail. The module will illustrate the theoretical ideas by reference to observations of real environmental flows. Students will apply this knowledge to practical work using model and laboratory data. They will develop skills in managing and handling diverse data types.


Kinematics---vorticity and divergence; Lagranian and Eulerian frames of reference and the Lagrangian derivative; Continuity and state equations; Forces in a Newtonian fluid; The Navier Stokes equations and some basic solutions; Scale analysis and the Reynolds number; Bernoulli's theorem; Incompressible and irrotational flows; The vorticity equation; Some effects of buoyancy and stratification; Fluids on a rotating plane---the Coriolis force; Turbulence.

Skills Outcomes

The module places considerable emphasis on:

  • - recognising and using subject-specific theories, paradigms, concepts and principles.

The module places moderate emphasis on:

  • - analysing, synthesising and summarising information critically, including prior research;
  • - applying knowledge and understanding to address familiar and unfamiliar problems;
  • - collecting, recording and analysing data using appropriate techniques in the field and laboratory;
  • - receiving and responding to a variety of information sources (eg textual numerical, verbal, graphical);
  • - appreciating issues of sample selection, accuracy, precision and uncertainty during collecting, recording and analysis of data in the field and laboratory;
  • - solving numerical problems using computer and non-computer based techniques;
  • - identifying and working towards targets for personal, academic and career development;
  • - developing the skills necessary for self-managed and lifelong learning (eg working independently, time management and organisation skills).

The module places some emphasis on:

  • - collecting and integrating several lines of evidence to formulate and test hypotheses;
  • - planning, conducting and reporting on investigations, including the use of secondary data;
  • - referencing work in an appropriate manner;
  • - communicating appropriately to a variety of audiences in written, verbal and graphical form;
  • - preparing, processing, interpreting and presenting data, using appropriate qualitative and quantitative techniques and packages;
  • - using the Internet critically as a means of communication and a source of information;
  • - identifying individual and collective goals and responsibilities and performing in a manner appropriate to these roles;
  • - developing an adaptable and flexible approach to study and work.

Assessment and teaching

Assessment and teaching


Assesment type Notes % of formal assesment
Report 2 x project reports. Structured questions / exercises linked to practical classes. 40
Total percentages (Assessment Coursework) 40


Exam type Exam duration % of formal assessment
Standard exam (closed essays, MCQs etc) 1 hr 0 mins 60
Total Percentage (Assesment Exams) 60

Private Study

16 hours: practical preparation and write-up;
39 hours: reading and revision;
20 hours: examples preparation.

Progress Monitoring

Written feedback from project reports. Informal feedback in example classes.

Teaching methods

Delivery type Number Length hours Student hours
Example Class 4 1 4
Lecture 17 1 17
Practical 2 2 4
Private Study Hours 75
Total Contact Hours 25
Total hours (100hr per 10 credits) 100

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