Advanced Atmospheric Dynamics

Postgraduate course

Course description

Objectives and Content


The course aims to introduce students to advanced topics in atmospheric dynamics taking the students to the frontiers of the scientific field in certain topics. The students will acquire new and deeper knowledge about the dynamics of the atmosphere and learn new solution techniques to solve advanced physical problems. The course thereby aims to aid the students in understanding the complex workings of the atmosphere and its circulation.



The course treats advanced Atmospheric Dynamics utilitzing the governing equations scaled for various problems ranging from the large- to the meso-scale. The quasi-geostrophic vorticity equation will be used for extended treatment of baroclinic instability, discussing the differences of the Eady, Charney and Phillips models and their relevance to real atmospheric flow. The course will expand the concept of potential vorticity and discuss synoptic to meso-scale atmospheric phenomena in the light of potential vorticity thinking. The concept of eddy-mean-flow interactions and wave breaking will be introduced together with the Eliassen-Palm flux. In this context, vertical and horizontal propagation of Rossby waves will be discussed as well.

Learning Outcomes

On completion of the course the student should have the following learning outcomes defined in terms of knowledge, skills and general competence:


The student

  • has understanding of the use of potential vorticity thinking to diagnose and interpret atmospheric flow and instabilities
  • has learned the basics of wave-mean-flow interactions, wave breaking, and the Eliassen-Palm flux
  • is able to describe and discuss different types of baroclinic instability using quasi-geostrophic theory



The student

  • can derive and use dispersion relations for gravity and planetary waves
  • can formulate and solve advanced problems in the quasi-geostrophic framework
  • can write a computer code to solve numerical problems and to visualize the results
  • can present and defend scientific results in front of a group


General competence

The student

  • is able to develop ideas for analytical and (to some extent) numerical solutions to a problem
  • is able to formulate problems in a physical and mathematical framework
  • is able to give presentations and defend own ideas in front of a group

ECTS Credits


Level of Study


Semester of Instruction

Autumn. Will run first time spring 2025

Enrolment to this course is based on application. Application deadline is wednesday in week 33 for the autumn semester. Please, see this page for more information:

Place of Instruction

Required Previous Knowledge
Bachelor's degree in Meteorology and Oceanography, Bachelor's degree in Climate, Atmosphere and Ocean Physics or equivalent programs.
Recommended Previous Knowledge
Turbulence in ocean and atmosphere (GEOF311/GEOF310), atmosphere and ocean dynamics (GEOF313).
Credit Reduction due to Course Overlap
Access to the Course
Access to the course requires admission to a master's programme at The Faculty of Mathematics and Natural Sciences.
Teaching and learning methods
The teaching is given as lectures with discussions and as group exercises.
Compulsory Assignments and Attendance

- Regular attendance of the course and exercises

- Presentation of at least three own solutions during the exercise,

Valid for two semester: The semester the course runs and the following semester.

Forms of Assessment

The forms of assessment are:

  • Mid-term exam, counts 20 per cent of the final grade
  • Final exam, oral, 45 minutes. Counts 80 per cent of the final grade and must be passed

We add up scores form the partial assessments to determine the final grade in the course. All partial assessements must be passed to pass the course.

Grading Scale
The grading scale used is A to F. Grade A is the highest passing grade in the grading scale, grade F is a fail.
Assessment Semester
Examination both spring semester and autumn semester. In semesters without teaching the examination will be arranged at the beginning of the semster.
Reading List
The reading list will be available within July 1st for the autumn semester and Decenber 1st for the spring semester
Course Evaluation
The course will be evaluated by the students in accordance with the quality assurance system at UiB and the department.
Examination Support Material
Programme Committee
The Programme Committee is responsible for the content, structure and quality of the study programme and courses.