Turbulence in the Atmosphere and Ocean – 2021

February 15, 2021 – March 19, 2021 all-day
Virtual (via ZOOM)

Responsible: Joe LaCasce / UiO
Credit point:  5 ECTS
Registration form here (deadline: 5 February 2021)

Course description:

The course examines nonlinear motion in the atmosphere and ocean from the perspective of turbulence theory. We begin with a simplified system to illustrate how linear motion becomes chaotic with nonlinearity. Then we examine Kolmogorov’s theory of 3-D turbulence, and its extension to two dimensions. We consider the implications for weather predictability and discuss how geophysical effects (the earth’s rotation, stratification) alter the flows. Then we consider the dispersion of passive tracers, like volcanic ash and spilled oil, in turbulent flows.


The students will learn basic elements in statistics and chaos theory. The student will also learn how nonlinear processes fundamentally affect the dynamics of atmospheric and oceanic flows, in particular by making them unpredictable, requiring statistical descriptions. Nonlinear processes are central to many observed phenomena, such as storm interactions and the transport of heat, pollutants and biological material.


The course will be held over two weeks, with five three hour lectures the first week and four the second week. The lectures will be given via Zoom. Problems are given out underway, and we’ll discuss the results each morning. The students will also make a final presentation on a topic of interest to them which is also relevant to the course. There is no exam. The course has its own compendium, though supplemental reading will also be suggested.
Week 7, 2021 – Lectures Monday to Friday 9:15 – 12:00
Week 11, 2021 – Lectures Monday to Thursday 9:15 – 12:00, Presentations Friday 9:15 – 15:00