Turbulence in the Atmosphere and Ocean

When: 13-17 March & 17-21 April 2023
Where: Online
Credits: 5 ECTS
Course lecturer & organizer: Joseph LaCasce / UiO


(registration deadline: 19 February 2023)

Course description:

The course examines how nonlinearity affects large scale dynamics in the atmosphere and ocean. We examine chaos, a sensitivity to initial conditions which renders the system unpredictable. Such systems are best described statistically, and we discuss measures which are useful. Then we consider fully nonlinear homogeneous turbulence, in three and two dimensions. 3D turbulence is relevant for small scale mixing in the atmosphere and ocean while 2D turbulence pertains to large scales. We consider the implications for weather predictability and discuss how geophysical effects (the earth’s rotation, stratification) affect the flows, as well as the transport of tracers, like volcanic ash and oil.

The material will be discussed in morning lectures. In the afternoons students will work on problems, to deepen their understanding. At the end of the course the students given presentations on a topic of their choice, relevant both to the course and their own research. The course has its own compendium, although supplemental reading is also suggested.

Students learn basic elements of statistics and chaos theory. They also learn how turbulence theory can be used to understand many observed phenomena, such as storm interactions and transport. They also learn to summarize fairly difficult material and then present it in a clear manner to peers.