Report on “Turbulence in the Atmosphere and Ocean, 2021”

The course was held remotely (on Zoom) in week 7 (15-19 February) and week 11 (15-19 March). This year we had 11 PhD students, from Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim, Tromsø and Svalbard. We discussed basic statistics, chaos theory and fundamental turbulence theory, before moving on to large scale turbulence in the atmosphere and ocean. The students were assigned daily exercises and we discussed those at the beginning of the lecture the next day. They also gave research talks on the final day, on topics relevant to the course and their own research. The talks covered a wide range of topics, including the role of turbulence in the Atlantic overturning circulation, turbulence driven by surface waves, turbulence schemes in numerical weather prediction, convective systems and the planetary boundary layer, and turbulence in relation to wind energy. The talks were among the best I’ve seen during my years teaching the course.
This was the first time we’ve offered the course over Zoom. In some ways this worked well. I derived equations on a tablet which I then streamed to my browser and shared with the students. But the feedback from the students was less positive; some felt the course would have been much better in person, allowing for interactions with the other students and with the lecturer. I’m sure that’s correct – the interactions were much better in previous years when we met in person.
Nevertheless, the students were quite engaged, asking questions along the way. The discussions helped keep everyone active, a challenge with online teaching. And as no flying was required, the course was at least more environmentally friendly than when we met in person.

Text and photo: Joe LaCasce, University of Oslo