Oceanography : general concepts and case studies

Lecturer(s): Louis GOSTIAUX, Pietro SALIZZONI
Course ⋅ 16 hStudy ⋅ 12 h


This course will address several aspects in the field of Ocean Sciences, in relation with the scientific background of students in mathematics (signal processing, numerical modelling), physics & chemistry (fluid mechanics, thermodynamics) and energetics (energy balance, geo-engineering). Ocean Sciences cover an important field of knowledge related to environmental, economcal and geopolitical questions of the XXIst century. Several applied studies will be made by the students in order to introduce them to realistic datasets and cases.


Oceanography, Physics, Fluid Mechanics, Data Analysis, Energy, Environment


«The planetary ocean» (2x2h + BE1) Typical scales, main basins. Earth motion. Pressure and sea-level variations. Properties of Sea Water, stratification. Differences between coastal and offshore. «The moving ocean» (3x2h + BE2) Surface waves. Barotropic tides. Internal waves and tides. Gravity currents. Inertial waves, Rossby and Kelvin waves. Ekman layers and pumping. Vorticity. Global circulation. Stommel, El Niño. «The living ocean» (1x2h) Ecosystems. Nutriments, turbulence biologic activity. «The energetic ocean» (2x2h + BE3) Energy budget, forcings and dissipation. Parametrization. Thermal and hydrokinetic energy. Mining and drilling.

Learning Outcomes

  • Understanding of the basic concepts in physical oceanography, in relation with the generic scientific background of the students.
  • Make use of institutional databases to understand the physical environment in a given region of the oceans.
  • Analyse and interpret in situ measurements, in regard with the present course materials, as well as with other sources of information.
  • Garantee a global vision of the maritime environment, with the different physical, chemical, and biological factors to be involved.


Final mark = 60% Knowledge + 40% Know-how • Knowledge = 66% final exam + 34% continuous assessment (MCQ) • Know-how = 100% continuous assessment (three reports of BE)