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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Thomas B Sanford
OCEAN 517
Seattle Campus

Methods and Measurements in Physical Oceanography

Principal instruments and experimental methods of physical oceanography. Devices and systems that measure pressure, temperature, electrical conductivity, sea state, and velocity. Prerequisite: permission of instructor.

Class description

A. Course Description

This course acquaints first and second year graduate students with the common instruments and experimental methods of Physical Oceanography. Students interested in methods used in physical oceanography from other disciplines are welcome. The principles of experiment design and uncertainty analysis are presented. Sensors and systems are discussed in the classroom, and complete systems are examined/operated in the weekly laboratory session. The emphasis is on information useful to users of the instrumentation and the interpretation of ocean measurements. We expect to have a brief cruise aboard the R/V TG Thompson on the student cruise in local waters.

B. Syllabus

I. Elements and Practice of Observational Physical Oceanography II. Fundamentals of Instruments and Measurements III. Ocean as a Measurement Environment IV. Oceanographic Methods, Sensors and Systems 1. Platforms 2. Navigation 3. Pressure, Depth and Bottom Topography 4. Ocean Water Properties (T, S, p, c, O2) 5. Velocity (Eulerian and Lagrangian Methods) 6. Ocean Acoustics 7. Ocean Optics and EM 8. Remote Sensing 9. Instrument Location and Tracking 10. Data Acquisition and Communications V. Instrument Design and Evaluation VI. Experiment Design VII. Field Operations VIII. Data Processing, Display and Analysis

Student learning goals

General method of instruction

Each week one class is devoted to lecture and class discussion. In most weeks, the second class will examine instrumentation, preferably in a laboratory actively engaged in the deployment and use of the equipment.

Recommended preparation

Attendance in class and laboratory sessions. Reading all handout materials. Ask questions and participate in class discussions. Read assigned materials from Reserve List. Prepare an excellent paper on a selected instrument system and its use. Do well on written examination.

Class assignments and grading

Term Paper: The purpose is for the student to demonstrate understanding of the tools and practice of observational oceanography through the analysis and reporting of a particular measurement sensor, system or method. In particular, it is important to identify the strengths and weaknesses of chosen hardware or methodology. I encourage critical thinking about the topic and inclusion of the analysis in the paper, not just a recitation of material from articles and books. One way to achieve this goal, is to discuss examples of appropriate and inappropriate applications of an instrument or method.

Topic for class project or paper is agreed upon between instructor and student. It should not be directly related to your research or a topic in another course (too easy that way). The work should demonstrate an understanding of the basic points discussed in the course. A list of suggested topics will be distributed.

1. Class participation 20% 2. Quality of term paper 40% 3. Performance on examination 40%


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.
Last Update by Thomas B Sanford
Date: 01/12/2002