Dipartimento di Scienze della Vita e dell'Ambiente - Guida degli insegnamenti (Syllabus)


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Seat Scienze
A.A. 2016/2017
Credits 6
Hours 48
Period 1^ semestre
Language ENG
U-gov code SM02 3S067


Knowledge about Math and Physic courses topics

Development of the course

The course consists in 48 hours of frontal lessons equivalent to 6 credits  

Learning outcomes

This course allows the students to acquire the fundamental knowledge regarding the ocean structure and dynamics. The students will learn all the elements necessary to understand and describe: the ocean vertical structure, the air-sea interactions, the processes governing the water masses formation and transformation and eventually how the ocean circulation influences the climate system. Some details will be given regarding the oceanography of the polar regions, the cryosphere and the role it plays both at local and large scale. The Mediterranean Sea will be also studied. In particular, it will be pointed out the characteristic processes that drive its tri-dimensional dynamics and the variability observed in the last decades. 

Ability to apply the knowledge:
The student will acquire the knowledge: 1) regarding the main ad more updated instruments used to measure the main physical oceanographic parameters, 2) to understand the ocean vertical water column structure from experimental data and to described the processes that determine the stability, the mixing and re-distribution of the water mass characteristics.   

Soft skills:
During the course will be treated arguments extremely important in the climatological context. These topics will allow the student to acquire basic knowledge regarding the climate changes, the natural climate variability and also regarding how some mechanism (feedback mechanisms) can contribute to amplify or dampening the global warming effects. 


Contents of the lectures (frontal lessons, 6 credits, 48 hours) :
Basic concepts:
Definition of the main physical oceanographic parameters and their distribution in the ocean both in the vertical and horizontal plane. T/S diagrams and how they are used in oceanography. E-(P+R) budget. Volume and Salt conservation in semi-enclosed basin. 
Ocean dynamics:
Equation of motion. Friction and turbulence in the ocean. Dynamics without friction: inertial motion and geostrophic balance. The equation of motion with viscosity: Eddy viscosity. Wind driven circulation. Deep circulation. Periodic motions. Coastal processes. 
Descriptive oceanography
Instruments and measurement methods. Global ocean climatology. TheMediterranean Sea: process variability at different space and time scales.

Development of the examination

Methods for assessing learning outcomes:
In order to evaluate the student level of understanding and learning, during the course two written tests will be done. Each test consists in 20 questions. Some of them will be multiple-choice questions, while in other questions, the student will be ask to solve a specific problems or to describe a course topic. In this way it will be evident if the student is able to synthesize an argument as well as to apply some practical analysis methods that will be explained during the lessons. 

Criteria for assessing learning outcomes: 
The students will have two hours to complete the test and the outcome is sufficient if the test score is greater or equal to 8/30. The two test scores can be added together to obtain the total score that the student can or cannot accept as final vote of the exam. The test score will be computed assigning: one point for a correct answer, ½ point for a partially correct answer and 0 point for a wrong answer thus any penality will be attribute for a wrong answer. The score of each test will be scaled to obtain 15/30 as maximun score. 

Criteria for measuring learning outcomes:
The grades are on scale of thirty. The exam is passed if the grade is greater or equal to 18/30. The highest grade is 30/30 cum laude. 

Criteria for conferring final mark:
In general, the exam will be oral. The students attending the course can take advantage of the aforementioned tests. Based on student request, the grades of the two tests can be added and the total (on scale of thirty) will provide the final score for this module of the integrate course. Also, the grade obtained can be risen up to three more points if the student will answer correctly to an oral question but this part is not mandatory. The laude will be conferred if the student will answer correctly to all the test questions without any errors or if the oral exam is excellent. 
Because of this course is one of the two modules of which the integrate course is made, the final grade for the integrate course is conferred evaluating the outcomes of both the modules. The laude is conferred when the student showed fully comprehension of the programme arguments of both the modules. 

Recommended reading

Notes taken during the lectures and PowerPoint presentation handed out by the lecturer.

Further reading:
-R.H. Stewart, “Introduction To Physical Oceanography”, Texas A & M University, free download from the web
-Open University Course Team, “Ocean Circulation”, Butterworth-Heinemann.
-L.D. Talley, G.L. Pickard, W. J. Emery, J. H. Swift, "Descriptive Physical Oceanography: An Introduction", Academic Press-Elsevier

  • Biologia marina

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