5. Fundamental Physics of the Fluid Earth

Docenti / Lecturers

Federico Porcù (UNIBO-DIFA) Francesco Trotta (UNIBO-DIFA)

1 CFU - 8 ORE / 1 UEC - 8 HOURS


In the module Introduction to Physical Oceanography, the student acquires the understanding of some of the basic concepts of ocean dynamics solving the classical problems of the wind driven ocean circulation for the world open ocean areas. The module enables students to comprehend the physical processes that govern ocean circulation: the interaction of the ocean with the atmosphere, and the distribution of oceanic winds, currents, heat fluxes, and water masses.

The main topics covered by the module are:

  • Physical and chemical properties of seawater;
  • Distribution of water characteristics in the world ocean and in the Mediterranean;
  • Principles of dynamical oceanography: equation of continuity, equations of motion; main approximations used in geophysical fluid dynamics;
  • Large scale circulation in the ocean: surface and thermohaline circulation, the global ocean conveyor belt
  • Ocean general circulation models. The main community models.

In the module Introduction to Atmospheric Physics, the physical characteristics of the atmosphere are presented, focusing on the attributes that are able to impact on the radiative transfer and earth surface observation. Moreover, the basic physical process occurring in the atmosphere are introduced, discussing the capability of remote sensing for studying and monitoring.  

The student acquires the basic knowledge to link meteorological processes and their signature in satellite observation. The main topics covered by the module are:

  • Structure of the Atmosphere;
  • Thermodynamic and dynamical processes;
  • General circulation and large scale features.