AOS - Atmospheric & Oceanic Sciences Course Offerings
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).
CEE 588/GEO 588/AOS 588 - (Spring semister - alternate years, next taught in 2014)
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/AOS 593 (Fall Semister) (Ginoux/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.
GEO 415 (Fall Semister) (Fueglistaler)
Introduction to Atmospheric Science
An introduction to atmospheric sciences. The course discusses aspects of weather and climate both from a phenomenological and analytical point of view. The course balances overview lectures (also covering topics that have high media coverage like the "Ozone Hole" and "Global Warming") with a few in-depth analyses of selected aspects. The lectures are complemented with homework based on real data, demonstrating basic data analysis techniques employed in atmospheric sciences.
GEO 423 (Spring Semister) (Medvigy)
Introduction to Atmospheric Science: Meteorology
This course provides the rigorous introduction to the moving atmosphere needed to understand Earth's weather and climate. The fundamental forces of the atmosphere (pressure gradient, gravity, and Coriolis) and conservation laws (mass, momentum, energy) will be developed. Approximations relevant to Earth's large-scale circulation and regional-scale extreme events will be discussed. Important consequences of atmospheric turbulence will also be covered. Throughout, connections between dynamical equations and atmospheric observations will be strongly emphasized
GEO 425/MAE 425 (Fall Semester) (Vecchi)
Introduction to Physical Oceanography
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 430 (Fall Semister - alternate years, next taught 2013) (Medvigy)
Climate and the Terrestrial Biosphere
Earth's climate is inextricably intertwined with the terrestrial biosphere. In this course, we will explore the key mechanisms that link climate (e.g., cloudiness, rainfall, and temperature) with the terrestrial biosphere (e.g., ecosystem composition, structure, and functioning), and how these mechanisms are altered by humans. We will review basic aspects of climate, surface energy balances, and terrestrial plant ecology, and then investigate feedbacks and forcings arising from biophysical properties of the land surface, biogeographical properties of ecosystems, deforestation, fires, increase in atmospheric CO2, and other factors.
AOS 522 (Fall Semester - alternate years, next taught in 2014) (Medvigy)
Inverse Methods: theory and applications
Inverse problems are ubiquitous in geosciences, occurring whenever it is necessary to infer a quantity or parameter from indirect measurements. This course will treat inverse problems from both theoretical and applied perspectives. We will develop the necessary theory to pose, interpret, and solve inverse problems, focusing on topics including error characterization, linear and non-linear methods, approximations, Kalman filters, use of prior constraints, and observing system design. These concepts will be illustrated with examples from the current literature on the Earth’s carbon cycle. In particular, we will focus on how measurements of carbon dioxide concentrations can be used to infer surface-to-atmosphere carbon dioxide fluxes.
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. In this course, we will analyse observations and discuss theoretical approaches (both basic concepts and novel ideas) to the problem.
AOS 527 (Fall Semester) (Ramaswamy)
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 (Spring Semester - alternate years, next taught in 2015) (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 2015) (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) (Garner) (GFD I)
Introduction to Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
Physical principles fundamental to the theoretical, observational, and experimental study of the atmosphere and oceans; the equations of motion for rotating fluids; hydrostatic and Boussinesq approximations; circulation theorem; and conservation of potential vorticity; scale analysis, geostrophic wind, thermal wind, quasigeostrophic system; and geophysical boundary layers.
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 2014) (Vallis)
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 2014 (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 2013) (Held)
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 577f (Fall Semester - alternate years, next taught in Fall 2014) (Delworth)
Climate of the Earth: Present, Past and Future
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, important climate feedback processes, and dominant modes of variability. We then use this framework to interpret observational records of past climates, including ice age cycles. Finally, we examine possible future climate change, and put this in the context of past climate change.
AOS 577 (Spring Semester - alternate years, next taught in Spring 2014) (Lau)
Weather and Climate Dynamics
An examination of various components of the Earth's climate system. Dynamics and physical interpretation of principal tropospheric circulation systems, including stationary and transient phenomena observed in middle and low latitudes. Reviews of phenomena of topical interest, such as El Nino, seasonal climate anomalies, and natural and anthropogenic climate changes.
AOS 578/GEO 578 (Fall Semester - alternate years, next taught in fall 2014) (Sarmiento)
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.
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.