GEO4964 – Upper Ocean Processes and Transport

Schedule, syllabus and examination date

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Changes in the course due to coronavirus

Autumn 2020 we plan for teaching and examinations to be conducted as described in the course description and on semester pages. However, changes may occur due to the corona situation. You will receive notifications about any changes at the semester page and/or in Canvas.

Spring 2020: Teaching and examinations was digitilized. See changes and common guidelines for exams at the MN faculty spring 2020.

Course content

The upper-ocean interacts with the atmosphere on many temporal and spatial scales, and the processes at or near the air-sea interface are of critical importance in climate dynamics. Wind-generated surface waves play a central role in many of these processes. We study the basic theory of the air-sea fluxes of mass, momentum and energy, and also the mathematical models that allow us to describe the time-dependent upper ocean dynamics in some detail. Simple numerical models will be used to demonstrate the role of the various physical processes on the drift of e.g. oil spills and plastics.

Learning outcome

After taking this course you will:

  • Understand the fundamental scaling laws and the basic theory behind air-sea interactions, including how these are influenced by surface waves.
  • Have received an introduction to the specific air-sea fluxes of mass, momentum and energy, with demonstrations of how these fluxes are parameterized in operational forecast systems.
  • Have learned the basic theory of the transient response of the ocean mixed layer to atmospheric forcing, and have gained an understanding of the roles of stratification, turbulence, and wave-mean flow interactions.
  • Understand the fundamental roles of surface waves for oceanic drift, and also have a basic understanding of the processes that determine the drift of buoyant materials such as certain planktons, oil spills, and most plastics.

Admission to the course

Students at UiO register for courses and exams in Studentweb.


2 hours of teaching and practicals per week throughout the semester. 

A mandatory written project report must have been approved before the final examination.

Attendance at the first lecture is compulsory. Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Student administration (

We reserve the right to change the teaching form and examination of the course in semesters where 5 or fewer students have been admitted.


  • A written project report must have been approved before the final examination. 
  • Final oral examination counts 100%. 

Examination support material

No examination support material is allowed.

Grading scale

Grades are awarded on a scale from A to F, where A is the best grade and F is a fail. Read more about the grading system.

Resit an examination

Students who can document a valid reason for absence from the regular examination are offered a postponed examination at the beginning of the next semester.

Re-scheduled examinations are not offered to students who withdraw during, or did not pass the original examination.

Special examination arrangements, use of sources, explanations and appeals

See more about examinations at UiO

Last updated from FS (Common Student System) Sep. 22, 2020 1:12:56 PM

Facts about this course

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