GEO234 Atmospheres and Oceans

Level 2
Credits 20
Availability Approved for BA Geography; BSc Geography; Environmental Science; Geography & Planning
Semester Spring
Prerequisite GEO101
Description This module will give students an understanding of the global climate, focusing on the atmospheres, the oceans, and their interaction. The first part of the module will consider the main characteristics of, and processes behind, climate from the global to the local scale. The second part of the module will examine the physical characteristics of the oceans and their geographical variation, and the role of the oceans in the climate system.
Aims This unit aims to:
  1. Further develop knowledge of the characteristics of the global climate system
  2. Develop understanding of the processes behind climate at a global, regional and local scale
  3. Identify the characteristics of, and processes underlying, the physical properties of the ocean
  4. Develop an awareness of the role of the oceans in the earth system
  5. Give an appreciation of links between atmosphere, ocean and climate
Learning Outcomes By the end of the unit, a student will be able to:
  1. Demonstrate knowledge of the main features of global climate
  2. Identify the dominant processes shaping the mean climate and causing climate variability at a range of scales
  3. Demonstrate a firm grasp of the characteristics and underlying processes of the oceans
  4. Understand how the oceans interact with the rest of the climate system
Outline Contents
  1. Global climates: the Earth's radiation balance, forces in the atmosphere.
  2. The atmospheric general circulation, modes of interannual variability
  3. Regional climates: mid-latitude and tropical
  4. Atmospheric moisture and stability
  5. Local-scale atmospheric circulations; microclimate
  6. Basic introduction to physical oceanography
  7. The ocean general circulation: properties and theories
  8. The tropical ocean; El Nino
  9. The polar ocean and sea ice; deep convection and the thermohaline circulation
  10. The role of the oceans in climate
Delivery Methods Lectures, practicals and fieldwork (on campus)
Student Contact Hours 35
Supporting Texts
  • Barry, R.G. and Chorley, R.J. (2003) Atmosphere, Weather and Climate
Assessment Methods 2-hour examination (60%), practical write up (40%)
(convenor underlined)
Dr Edward Hanna, Dr Julie Jones

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