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Course content

The course deals with the fluid dynamics of large scale motion on Earth, with application to the atmosphere and ocean.  Motion at such scales, including storms, the Jet Stream and Gulf Stream, is profoundly influenced by the Earth's rotation. Key aspects of the motion can be captured with simplified dynamics, as shown in the course.

Learning outcome

The student will obtain a fundamental knowledge of:

  • the equations of motion for a rotating system
  • the geostrophic and hydrostatic balances, and the thermal wind relation
  • gravity and planetary waves
  • turbulent boundary layers and the energy cascade
  • barotropic and baroclinic instability


Students who are admitted to study programmes at UiO must each semester register which courses and exams they wish to sign up for in Studentweb.

If you are not already enrolled as a student at UiO, please see our information about admission requirements and procedures.


Formal prerequisite knowledge

In addition to fulfilling the Higher Education Entrance Qualification, applicants have to meet the following special admission requirements:

  • Mathematics R1 (or Mathematics S1 and S2) + R2

And in addition one of these:

  • Physics (1+2)
  • Chemistry (1+2)
  • Biology (1+2)
  • Information technology (1+2)
  • Geosciences (1+2)
  • Technology and theories of research (1+2)

The special admission requirements may also be covered by equivalent studies from Norwegian upper secondary school or by other equivalent studies (in Norwegian).

Recommended previous knowledge

MEK1100 – Vector CalculusMEK3230 – Fluid Mechanics


2 lectures/week, 1 group session every second week and 6 obligatory submissions, which must be passed prior to the final exam.

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 Students who fail to meet, are considered to have withdrawn from the course unless they have previously given notice to the Studies administration, email address:


Six (6 ) written submissions which count for 40% of the final grade, and which have to be passed before you can take the final exam. Written final exam (three hours) counts for 60% of the final grade.

Examination support material

  • Calculator
  • Rottmann's mathematical formula collection

Language of examination

Norwegian, English on demand. The students can submit their assignments in English or a Scandinavian language.

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.

Explanations and appeals

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.

Withdrawal from an examination

It is possible to take the exam up to 3 times. If you withdraw from the exam after the deadline or during the exam, this will be counted as an examination attempt.

It will also be counted as one of the three attempts to sit the exam for this course, if you sit the exam for one of the following courses: GEF4450 – Geophysical Fluid Dynamics (continued)GEO3900 – Atmosphere Ocean Dynamics (discontinued)GEO4900 – Atmosphere-Ocean Dynamics (continued)

Special examination arrangements

Application form, deadline and requirements for special examination arrangements.


The course is subject to continuous evaluation. At regular intervals we also ask students to participate in a more comprehensive evaluation.


This course changed code from GEF3450 to GEO3900 autumn 2018.


Facts about this course






Autumn 2017

This course continue in new code GEO3900 autumn 2018.


Autumn 2017

Teaching language

Norwegian (English on request)