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ATM3050 - Dynamical meteorology

6 points, SCA Band 0 (NATIONAL PRIORITY), 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate Faculty of Science

Leader(s): Professor Michael Reeder


Clayton Second semester 2009 (Day)


The motion of a density-stratified fluid in a rotating frame of reference; important parameters and their magnitudes; 'homogeneous flows' in the atmosphere and ocean; shallow-water and Rossby-wave motion; western boundary currents; gradient-wind balance and vortex motion; dynamics of stratified fluids, including stability, blocking, internal gravity waves and thermal-wind balance.


Upon the completion of this unit, students will:

  1. understand the equations of fluid motion in an inertial reference frame, and be able to extend them to both a rotating frame of reference and a density-stratified fluid;
  2. appreciate how to approximate the full equations in circumstances which are relevant to motions in the atmosphere and/or oceans of various scales;
  3. recognise the constraints that rotation places on fluid motion and understand how this affects the motion of the atmosphere and ocean;
  4. understand the dynamics of wave motions, including Rossby waves, and be able to determine and interpret the group velocity of a dispersive wave disturbance;
  5. recognise the role of rotation in atmospheric vortices of different scales;
  6. appreciate the key effects introduced by density stratification, including stability, blocking and the dynamics of internal gravity waves;
  7. be able to interpret observational data and recognise evidence of the dynamics that were examined in the approximated theoretical analysis related to objectives 3-6 above;
  8. be able to communicate clearly the key concepts covered in the unit, both verbally and in written form.


Final examination (3 hours): 70%
Assignments: 20%
In-semester tests and support-class activities: 10%

Contact hours

Three 1-hour lectures per week, one 2-hour laboratory/support class per week, plus private study/research time


MTH2010 (ATM2020 and ATM2030 recommended)


MTH2032 (or equivalent)

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