Atmospheric and Climate Physics

15 credits

Syllabus, Bachelor's level, 1ME400

Education cycle
First cycle
Main field(s) of study and in-depth level
Earth Science G2F, Physics G2F
Grading system
Fail (U), Pass (3), Pass with credit (4), Pass with distinction (5)
Finalised by
The Faculty Board of Science and Technology, 27 February 2023
Responsible department
Department of Earth Sciences

Entry requirements

60 credits in science/engineering including Geometry and Calculus II, 10 credits. Participation in Thermodynamics 5 credits.

Learning outcomes

On completion of the course, the student should be able to:

  • apply thermodynamics on dry air, humid air and seawater
  • assess the stratification state of the atmosphere and ocean
  • describe how clouds and precipitation are created
  • analyze the governing equations describing the flow motions and how they are simplified in meteorology
  • explain how winds are created in the atmosphere and how they influence oceanic motions


The course deals with flow motions and thermodynamic concepts relevant for the atmospheric, oceanic and climate systems.

The properties of dry, humid air and seawater. Thermodynamic diagrams. Height determination from radiosoundings. Methods for stability analysis. Cloud formation processes and the properties of clouds. Precipitation processes.

Application of the basic equations of fluid dynamics on atmospheric and oceanic flows. Relation between the distributions of wind, pressure and temperature. Scale analysis of flow motions. Basic kinematics. Continuity equation. Bjerknes circulation, vorticity theorems and their application on atmospheric motions. The influence of the earth's surface on the atmosphere. Ekman flow for atmosphere and oceans.


Lectures, group discussions, practical assignments and project work.


Two written examinations: one in dynamics (7.5 credits) and the other on thermodynamics (6 credits). Oral and written presentation of project work and written lab report (1.5 credits).

If there are special reasons for doing so, an examiner may make an exception from the method of assessment indicated and allow a student to be assessed by another method. An example of special reasons might be a certificate regardingspecial pedagogical support from the disability coordinator of the university.

Other directives

The course cannot be included in the same degree as 1ME401 Amospheric physics, 15 credits