12.003 Physics of Atmospheres and Oceans

Fall 2007

Image of dye in rotating tank of water.
Observed motion of introducing dye into a rotating tank of water. (Image by Prof. J. Marshall.)

Course Description

The laws of classical mechanics and thermodynamics are used to explore how the properties of fluids on a rotating Earth manifest themselves in, and help shape, the global patterns of atmospheric winds, ocean currents, and the climate of the Earth. Theoretical discussion focuses on the physical processes involved. Underlying mechanisms are illustrated through laboratory demonstrations, using a rotating table, and through analysis of atmospheric and oceanic data.

Special Features

Technical Requirements

Special software is required to use some of the files in this course: .mpeg and .rm.

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Prof. John Marshall

Course Meeting Times

Three sessions / week
1 hour / session

One session / week
1 hour / session