Syllabus contents:





ATM S 560 / OCN 560 , Spring Quarter 2001
Coupled Atmosphere - Ocean Interactions
The blue marble from Apollo 17Larsen Ice Shelf, AntarcticaAntarctic Ozone hole, 2000


Part I: The Climatology of the Global Atmosphere and Ocean

1. The zonally averaged circulation of the atmosphere

(a) Angular momentum, geometric and energy constraints

(b) The role of atmospheric eddies

2. The Ocean Circulation: an inevitable fallout

(a) Wind Driven

(b) Thermohaline

(c) Feedback to the atmosphere: passive and active coupling

3. A zero-order look at the annual cycle of surface temperature and circulation

(a) The annual mean

(b) Zonal asymmetry of the annual cycle: Passive atmosphere-ocean interaction and land-sea contrasts

(c) Zonal asymmetry of the annual cycle: active atmosphere-ocean interaction:

Bjerknes feedback in the tropics ( -> teleconnections)

The thermohaline circulation and the thermocline

(d) Zonal asymmetry of the annual cycle in the midlatitudes: the relative importance of Land-Sea contrast, Atmospheric and Oceanic Heat transport for midlatitude climate.

Part II: Climate Variability: the Tropics

4. ENSO: the one clear example of active atmosphere-ocean interaction

(a) Observations of ENSO

(b) Overview of atmospheric response to changes in tropical SST

(c) Overview of ocean response to changes in tropic wind forcing

(d) The Coupled Response and the ENSO mode

5. The hypotheses for the Low Frequency Variability of ENSO

(a) Stochastic; Exotic; Anthropogenic

(b) The paleo record of ENSO

6. Teleconnections to midlatitudes

Part III: Climate Variability: the Midlatitudes

7. Midlatitude vs. Tropical Coupling: fundamental differences

8. Basic Effects of coupling in the Midlatitudes

(a) Observations

(b) Reduced thermal damping and re-emergence

(c) Implications for interpreting AMIP experiments

9. The Atmospheric Response to Ocean Induced Forcing in the Midlatitudes

(a) SST vs. heat flux forcing

(b) The atmospheric response to midlatitudes sea surface temperature anomalies

(c) Stationary and transient response

10. Decadal Variability and Midlatitude Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions: Gyre and Intergyre Ocean Circulation and Hypothesized Feedbacks to the Atmosphere.

(a) Ocean midlatitude gyre: intrinsic and forced variability

(b) The Latif-Barnett and the gyre-intergyre hypotheses for decadal variability in the Pacific and Atlantic, respectively.


You should have had some background experience in atmospheric or ocean dynamics.  Please call or email if you have questions. 


I am working on it, but it is likely that we will have assigned readings, some assignments and a research project/term paper.  

    Participation in Lectures 10%

    Lectures 10% each  
    Research project/Term paper up to 80% 




 Last Updated:

Contact the instructor at: david@atmos.washington.edu