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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Paul D Quay
OCEAN 210
Seattle Campus

Ocean Circulation

The large-scale circulation of the ocean. Topics include temperature-salinity analysis; water mass identification; water, salt, and heat budgets; chemical tracer distributions; advection and diffusion. Prerequisite: either OCEAN 200, or OCEAN 250/BIOL 250/FISH 250; recommended: either PHYS 114 or PHYS 121. Offered: A.

Class description

We will learn about the processes that control the large scale surface and deep water circulation of the ocean. We will look at the distribution of temperature, salinity, nutrients, dissolved oxygen and chemical tracers to detect the circulation pathway of currents in the deep sea. In the surface ocean, we will learn how the ocean responds to forcing from surface winds and how this response controls the pattern and speed of surface currents.

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

There are three lectures per week. The lectures focus mainly on presenting the major concepts and the oceanographic data that illustrate these concepts. All the figures referred to in the lectures and the lectures notes are available at the class web site. In class problems are used to demonstrate concepts and provide practice for the assigned weekly problem sets and exams.

Recommended preparation

The course is both quantitative and descriptive. Thus familiarity with basic concepts (e.g., units, forces, vectors,) covered in an introductory Physics class will help. Although the exams and problem sets are quantitative, the mathematical skill level is fairly basic. Studying the lecture notes (provided) before class will help significantly. Basic familiarity with Excel, or a similar spreadsheet program, will be needed for some problem sets.

Class assignments and grading

There are weekly problem sets which test the student's understanding of the concepts discussed in class.

Grades are based on your performance on the two exams given during the quarter, the final and weekly problem sets.


The information above is intended to be helpful in choosing courses. Because the instructor may further develop his/her plans for this course, its characteristics are subject to change without notice. In most cases, the official course syllabus will be distributed on the first day of class.
Additional Information
Last Update by Paul D Quay
Date: 09/12/2005