The Program offers a wide variety of courses in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. These courses are designed to help students understand the fundamentals and to expose them to the advanced research topics in the field. In addition, students have opportunities to take courses offered by other departments and programs (e.g., Applied and Computational Mathematics, Physics, Ecology and Evolutionary Biology).
GEO 361/ENV 361/CEE 360/AOS 561 (Fall Semester) (Fueglistaler)
This course discusses the processes that control Earth's climate - and as such the habitability of Earth - with a focus on the atmosphere and the global hydrological cycle. The course balances overview lectures (also covering topics that have high media coverage like the 'Ozone hole' and 'Global warming', and the impact of volcanoes on climate) with selected in-depth analyses. The lectures are complemented with homework based on real data, demonstrating basic data analysis techniques employed in climate sciences.
GEO 425/MAE 425 (Fall Semester) (Vecchi)
Introduction to Physical Oceanography
The study of the oceans as a major influence on the atmosphere and the world environment. The theoretical and observational bases of our understanding of ocean circulation and the oceans' properties. The Coriolis-dominated equations of motion, atmospheric and upper oceanic Ekman layers, the thermocline, wind-driven and thermohaline-driven circulation, oceanic tracers, waves, and tides.
GEO 427 (Fall Semester - alternate years, next taught in Fall 2021) (Delworth)
Fundamentals of the Earth's Climate System
The goal of the course is to provide students with an introductory overview of the broad factors that determine our current climate, as well as past and future climates. We first build a foundation for understanding the principal features of today's climate. This includes examining the Earth's energy and water cycles, the processes determining the principal atmospheric and ocean circulation features, climate feedback processes, and dominant modes of variability. We then use this framework to interpret observational records of past climates, including ice age cycles, and to examine projections of future climate change.
GEO 503/AOS 503
GEO 521/AOS 521 (Spring Semester) (Sigman)
AOS 523 (Spring Semester) (Fueglistaler)
Water in the Atmosphere
Despite the paramount importance of atmospheric water vapour for climate, our understanding of the processes that regulate its distribution and changes therein in a changing climate, remains incomplete. This course analyses observations and discusses theoretical approaches, both basic concepts and novel ideas, to the problem.
AOS 527 (Fall Semester) (Ramaswamy/Ming)
Atmospheric Radiative Transfer
The structure and composition of terrestrial atmospheres. The fundamental aspects of electromagnetic radiation, absorption and emission by atmospheric gases, optical extinction by particles, the roles of atmospheric species in the Earth's radiative energy balance, the perturbation of climate due to natural and anthropogenic causes, and satellite observations of climate systems are also studied.
AOS 537/GEO 537 (Spring Semester - alternate years, next taught in 2021) (Horowitz)
Natural gas phase and heterogeneous chemistry in the troposphere and stratosphere, with a focus on elementary chemical kinetics; photolysis processes; oxygen, hydrogen, and nitrogen chemistry; transport of atmospheric trace species; tropospheric hydrocarbon chemistry and stratospheric halogen chemistry; stratospheric ozone destruction; local and regional air pollution, and chemistry-climate interactions are studied.
AOS 547 (Spring Semester - alternate years, next taught in spring 2021) (Donner)
Atmospheric Thermodynamics and Convection
The thermodynamics of water-air systems. The course gives an overview of atmospheric energy sources and sinks. Planetary boundary layers, closure theories for atmospheric turbulence, cumulus convection, interactions between cumulus convection and large-scale atmospheric flows, cloud-convection-radiation interactions and their role in the climate system, and parameterization of boundary layers and convection in atmospheric general circulation models are also studied.
AOS 571 (Fall Semester) (Griffies) (GFD I)
Introduction to Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
This course covers the physical principles and mathematical tools fundamental to the theoretical, observational, experimental, and numerical study of the atmosphere and oceans. Topics include: kinematical, dynamical, and thermodynamical equations for rotating and stratified fluids; hydrostatic and geostrophic balance; Boussinesq approximation; energetic balances; transport of scalar fields by advection and diffusion; vorticity and potential vorticity; shallow water theory; quasi-geostrophic theory.
AOS 572 (Spring Semester) (Legg) (GFD II)
Atmospheric and Oceanic Wave Dynamics
Observational evidence of atmospheric and oceanic waves; laboratory simulation. Surface and internal gravity waves; dispersion characteristics; kinetic energy spectrum; critical layer; forced resonance; and instabilities. Planetary waves: scale analysis; physical description of planetary wave propagation; reflections; normal modes in a closed basin. Large-scale baroclinic and barotropic instabilities, Eady and Charney models for baroclinic instability, and energy transfer.
AOS 573 (Spring Semester - alternate years, next taught in spring 2022) (Zhang)
Response of the ocean to transient and steady winds and buoyancy forcing. A hierarchy of models from simple analytical to realistic numerical models is used to study the role of the waves, convection, instabilities, and other physical processes in the circulation of the oceans.
AOS 575 (Fall Semester - alternate years, next taught in Fall 2020 (Hallberg)
Numerical Prediction of the Atmosphere and Ocean
Barotropic and multilevel dynamic models; coordinate systems and boundary conditions; finite difference equations and their energetics; spectral methods; water vapor and its condensation processes; orography, cumulus convection, subgrid-scale transfer, and boundary layer processes; meteorological and oceanographic data assimilation; dynamic initialization; verification and predictability; and probabilistic forecasts.
AOS 576 (Fall Semester - alternate years, next taught in Fall 2021) (Garner)
Current Topics in Dynamic Meteorology
An introduction to topics of current interest in the dynamics of large-scale atmospheric flow. Possible topics include wave-mean flow interaction and nonacceleration theorems, critical levels, quasigeostrophic instabilities, topographically and thermally forced stationary waves, theories for stratospheric sudden warmings and the quasi-biennial oscillation of the equatorial stratosphere, and quasi-geostrophic turbulence.
AOS 578/GEO 578
The chemical composition of the oceans and the nature of the physical and chemical processes governing this composition in the past and the present. The cycles of major and minor oceanic constituents, including interactions with the biosphere, and at the ocean-atmosphere and ocean-sediment interfaces.
AOS 580 (AOS Faculty)
Graduate Seminar in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
Atmospheric composition and thermodynamics including effects of water. Simple radiative transfer, elementary circulation models, phenomenological description of atmospheric motions, structure of the troposphere, stratosphere, mesosphere, and thermosphere, chemistry of ozone, and comparison with atmospheres on other planets.
CEE 588/GEO 588/AOS 588 - (Spring semester - alternate years, next taught in 2022) (Bou-Zeid)
Boundary Layer Meteorology
Basic dynamics of the Atmospheric Boundary Layer (ABL) and how it interacts with other environmental and geophysical flows. Topics covered include: mean, turbulence, & higher order flow equations; similarity theories; surface exchanges and their impact on the stability of the atmosphere; different ABL flow regimes (convective, neutral, and stable); role of the ABL in the hydrologic cycle; the fundamentals of scalar (pollutant, water vapor, etc) transport; modeling and measurement approaches for the ABL; and the role of the ABL in large-scale atmospheric flows and how it is represented in coarse atmospheric models.
CEE 593/AOS 593 (Fall Semester) (Zondlo)
Aerosol Observations and Modeling
This course focuses on ground-based and satellite observations of aerosol particles and their impacts on climate through modeling studies. Course material includes satellite and ground-based measurements of aerosol particles, mathematical formulation of transport, and numerical models of aerosol distribution. It studies how aerosols impact climate change through direct and indirect effects including cloud-aerosol interactions. Offered every year, in the fall.