updated 5iii2001 ATM S 509/OCEAN 512 SLN: 5814
MWF 9:30-10:20, Lectures in OSB 425
F 10:30-11.20 Lab demonstrations in OTB 206 (across street from OSB) or in OSB 107
[OSB is Ocean Sciences Building, newly built, on Boat St at 15th Ave NE]
[OTB is Ocean Teaching Building, across Boat St. from OSB.]

go to Subpolar Atmosphere/Ocean Dynamics and Climate Change..Spring 2001

Geophysical Fluid Dynamics - I - 2001


Professor P.B.Rhines
Ocean Sciences Building 319
tel: 543-0593
office hours: MW, 2:30-3:30pm and by appointment

Teaching Assistant:

Leif Thomas
Ocean Sciences Building 308
tel: 543-0769
office hours: Monday, Wednesday 10.30-11.30; Friday 11.30-12.30 and by appointment

Homework Message Board Grades

Course description Prerequisites Outline Textbook Class Notes Lecture notes Labs Schedule and Homework Links

Course Description

Dynamics of rotating stratified fluid flow in the atmosphere/ocean and laboratory analogues. Equations of state, compressibility, Boussinesq approximation. Geostrophic balance, Rossby number. Poincare, Kelvin, Rossby waves, geostrophic adjustment. Ekman layers, spin-up. Continuously stratified dynamics: inertia gravity waves, potential vorticity, quasigeostrophy.

Final Exam

... note day and time below! The exam will be open-book (you may use notes and texts) and will emphasize the last half of the course. It will not include internal gravity waves, which are being treated during the final week. The room location will probably change since OSB 425 is conflicted. Stay tuned.

6 March 2001: Web weather sites.

Today the east-coast low offshore has developed like a classic 'Nor-Easter', recycling ocean water and heat into snow falling on New England. See animations, below. As well as the usual sites linked at atmos.washington.edu, try the COLA site (Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, Maryland) http://grads.iges.org/home.html) a particularly nice set of weather model map output.


excellent loops at www.weather.unisys.com. You have a choice of several models; I like the MRF model (www.weather.unisys.com/mrf/mrf_500p_9panel.html), click on 'Loop'. Note the detached highs and lows in the SLP and 500mb height animations, and then the jet stream riding above them in the 300mb animation. Good Doppler radar at http://weather.noaa.gov/radar/.

Modelled Kelvin waves traveling eastward along the equator in the Pacific; note how they turn poleward after hitting mountain barriers, particularly the Andes at 80W longitude...the atmosphere has walls! Fields are outgoing longwave radiation and sealevel pressure, 40 hPa contour interval; these are launched as part of the Madden-Julian Oscillation. . From Hadley Center GCM, Matthews et al., Quart J. Royal Met Soc 1999. Wave speed is about 55 m/sec.


A course in basic fluid mechanics, particularly Ocean 511A, Atmos Sci 505A, Amath 505a



Gill, A.E. Atmosphere-Ocean Dynamics. Academic Press
Week 1 -2 Chapters 1,2
Week 3 Chapters 3,4
Week 4 Chapter 5
Week 5 Chapter 7.1 - 7.10
Week 6 Chapter 8.2 only, 9.1-9.6
Week 7-8 Pedlosky Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Chap 2 (vorticity, pv, geostrophic flow, thermal wind, spherical domain), Gill Chapter 12.1-12.3 (pv)
Week 9-10 Pedlosky Geophysical Fluid Dynamics 3.16-3.17 (barotropic Rossby wave), , Gill Chapter 12.7 (baroclinic Rossby wave)
.....internal waves 6.4-6.6 (note: internal waves will not be included on the final exam).

Pedlosky, J. Geophysical Fluid Dynamics. Springer Verlag
Salmon, R. Lectures in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics. Oxford University Press
D.J. Acheson, Elementary Fluid Dynamics. Oxford University Press.
P.K. Kundu, Fluid Mechanics. Academic Press.

Class Notes

Please take notes. We will try to help out by posting as much lecture material as possible on this page.

Lecture Notes and Supplemental Reading


Visit the GFD lab website and a poster showing some of our teaching, term projects, and research in the lab. We teach lab projects courses of various kinds; on the poster site, click on the '1997 Undergraduate Projects Course' then on 'Sediment mobilization in the Surf Zone' an example of undergraduate work. Click on 'Graduate GFD Projects Course' too.!

Schedule and Homework

Week Homework, exams events Date Homework sol'ns etc. Lab Demo
1. 01/01/01 First day of classes Weds 3 Jan Lab #1: buoyancy, pressure,eqn. of state ... Lab #1 images
2. 8i2001 Homework#1 due Weds 17 Jan. 1 ,2 ,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 Lab #2: Waves-I ... Lab #2 images
3. 15i2001 Homework #2 due Weds. 24 Jan. 1 ,2 ,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12 Lab #3: Coriolis-I... Lab #3 images
MLK Jr's B'day Mon no class Mon 15 Jan
4. 22i2001 Homework #3 1 ,2 ,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 Lab #6 images: Convection, diffusion
5. 29i2001 Review problems
6. 5ii2001 Midterm-1, 2 Weds. 7 Feb 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 Lab #4 geostrophic adjustment... Lab #4..images
7. 12ii2001 Homework#4 due Weds 21 Feb. 1 ,2 ,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13 Lab #5 images: Ekman layers, spin-up
8. 19ii2001 Presidents' Day no class Mon 19 Feb. Geostrophic quiz Weds. 21 Feb Notes for quiz Quiz solutions: 1 2 3 4
9. 26ii2001 Homework#5..1..2 due Weds, 7 March Homework#5 discussion Lab#7 images: Rossby waves
homework #5: new problem 4 Last minute discussion:homework#5 #5 solutions: 1 ,2 ,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14,15 Lab#8 images: Internal waves, mountain waves, estuaries
10. 5iii2001 Final exam.. 1 2 3
Last day of classes Fri. 9 Mar.
Final Exam; open book NOTE CHANGE OF TIME Mon March 12 1.30 p.m. Ocean Teaching Building Room 206

click on the Rossby wave


Your course grade will be based on homework and exams. There will be problem sets due one week after being handed out. These will be worth 60% of your grade. Problem sets must be worked out individually, without consultation with other students (of course discussion of lecture material and basic ideas among classmates is encouraged). There are two exams, each worth 20% of the final grade.

While the lectures define the core material for the course, some material from reading assignments will be included in exams; we will specify how much detail this involves. Lab demonstrations are also a part of the required material, and ideas from these may appear on problem sets and exams.

Consulation hours for Thomas and Rhines will be established: please see us when the lectures or homework do not make sense to you.


<rhines@ocean.washington.edu> 01/01/01

Hurricane Bonnie. Note cloud streets over Florida and Cuba indicating rotary winds. If Ekman convergence causes rising motion at a low-pressure center, why is there usually (unfortunately not visible here) a clear eye in a hurricane?

Unstably growing eddies in Weddell Sea, marked by ice (320x260km)

Isopycnal model simulation of N. Atlantic circulation surface temp (R.Bleck, Micom)