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Instructor Class Description

Time Schedule:

Mitsuhiro Kawase
OCEAN 420
Seattle Campus

Physical Processes in the Ocean

Physical properties and processes of the ocean: methods of describing ocean currents, waves, tides, and mixing and their effect on movement of water parcels. Prerequisite: either PHYS 114 or PHYS 121; either MATH 125 or Q SCI 381, which may be taken concurrently; OCEAN 210. Offered: W.

Class description

In this course, we will study different types of water motions that exist in the open ocean and in coastal and estuarine environments.

Student learning goals

Know how to characterize different kinds of water motions that occur in the marine environment quantitatively.

Understand qualitatively, and where possible quantitatively, how each type of motion is generated.

Know how they affect transport of chemicals and particulate matter, influence marine ecosystems, and sediment dynamics.

Use quantitative reasoning based on personal and practical experience as well as class learning to come up with answers to questions about our marine environment.

General method of instruction

Four one-hour lectures per week plus a weekly one-hour lab session. NOTE: In order to accommodate the senior field trip for Oceanography students, this course will be given as an eight-week course with the last week of the class being February 23-27. The final exam will be held during one of the class hours during the last week.

Recommended preparation

Students should brush up on calculus skills. IT IS HIGHLY RECOMMENDED THAT THIS CLASS BE TAKEN AS SOON AS POSSIBLE AFTER THE STUDENT HAS FULFULED THE PREREQUISITES, so that the needed mathematical knowledge is still fresh on mind.

Class assignments and grading

Homeworks sets throughout the course, based on class-related exercises and short laboratory reports. Students are encouraged to work in groups on the homework sets, but each student must turn in one's own assignment.

The homework sets (including the short lab reports) will be worth 40%, the mid-term 30% and the final 30% of the grade. The mid-term will cover the first half of the course; the final will cover the second half.


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 Mitsuhiro Kawase
Date: 01/05/2009