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Large Scale Turbulence in the Atmosphere and Ocean

11.04.2011 - 13.05.2011

Large Scale Turbulence in the Atmosphere and Ocean

  Week one: Lectures Monday-Thursday, 9:15-12:00 (week 15, 11-14/4)

Week two: Lectures Monday-Thursday, 9:15-12:00 (week 19, 9-12/5)

Exam: 13/5



Joe LaCasce

Department of Geosciences

University of Oslo

For non-UiO candidates travel expences will be covered. Please notify us about need for refund of travel expences in the registration form.

The course examines nonlinear motion in the atmosphere and ocean from the perspective of homogeneous turbulence theory. We begin with an illustration in a simplified system to show how linear motion becomes chaotic with nonlinearity. Then we examine Kolmogorov's theory of turbulence, and its extension to two dimensions and to stratified systems. Next is the dispersion of a passive tracer, such as air pollution or oil, in a turbulent flow. We conclude with the turbulent transport of active tracers, like vorticity, and discuss how that is parametrized.


The student will gain an understanding of how nonlinear processes fundamentally affect the dynamics of atmospheric and oceanic flows. Such processes affect storm propagation, the advection of heat and pollutants and also limit predictability. The student will also learn about the necessity of statistical descriptions of turbulent flows and the use of statistical measures.



The course will be held over two weeks, with four lectures per week. A problem set will be given between the two weeks. Final exam is oral, on the Friday following the lectures. The course has its own compendium; supplemental reading will be suggested.



Lecture 1: Chaos in a simplified system

Lecture 2: Energy conservation, triad interactions

Lecture 3: Kolmogorov's theory for 3-D turbulence

Lecture 4: 2-D turbulence

Lecture 5: The Beta effect and topography

Lecture 6: Stratified turbulence

Lecture 7: Turbulent dispersion

Lecture 8: PV fluxes

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