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ATM S 560/Ocean 560, Spring Quarter 2001
Coupled Atmosphere - Ocean Interactions
The blue marble from Apollo 17Larsen Ice Shelf, AntarcticaAntarctic Ozone hole, 2000
Class Meeting Times and Location: Tuesday/Thursday from 1:30 to 2:45 pm in Room 310C in the Atmospheric Sciences Building

Instructor:David Battisti
Phone: (206) 543-2019
Office: Room 718 in the Atmospheric Sciences Building
Office hours: By appointment 

Course Description

The class will be subdivided in three parts:

  • The Basic Physics of the Mean Climate:  We will start by reviewing the essential elements (physics and geometry) that are responsible for the gross features of the mean climate state and the annual cycle in the global ocean and atmosphere. This introduction will help to build an intuition for the processes responsible for variability in the climate system, from seasonal to decadal time scales. 
  • Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean Variability in the Tropics:  In this part of the class, we will focus on the dynamics of the El Nino/Southern Oscillation phenomenon, including the possible repercussions from ENSO on atmosphere-ocean coupling in midlatitudes. ENSO is the most important and simplest example of natural climate variability on interannual time scales, and has been shown to have some impact on weather outside of the tropics. Included in the first half of the course will be a brief overview of the dynamics of the tropical oceans and atmosphere.  
  • Coupled Atmosphere-Ocean Variability in the midlatitudes:  In this part of the course we will focus on climate variability due to atmosphere and ocean interactions in the middle and high latitudes.  These higher latitude interactions are thought to result from a fundamentally different set of dynamics than those in the tropics, and are much more difficult to sort out in the data.  We will examine the likely scenarios of atmosphere-ocean interaction that could be responsible for interannual-to-decadal decadal climate variability in the midlatitudes which have been hypothesized during the last decade.  Scenarios discussed include the null hypothesis (the response of the coupled system to stochastic dynamical forcing), the Latif/Barnett and gyre-intergyre hypotheses and the possible causes for the observed decadal trend in the Arctic/North Atlantic Oscillation. 

See the syllabus for a more detailed description.

The first day of class is Tuesday, March 27 2001: Course overview and introduction.  See you in class!


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