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 2^ semestre
Language ENG
U-gov code ST03 W000004


Knowledge of matemathical subjects

Development of the course

Theoretical lessons and practical works  carried out  both as individual and little groups works, are planned.

Learning outcomes

The course enables students to acquire the basic knowledge of physics of geophysical fluids (dynamics and thermodynamics), in order to understand the relevant processes and the interactions between them. It also provides knowledge about some aspects of cloud microphysics, of planetary boundary layer and the main radiative processes. Some knowledges about the processes that regulate the Earth's climate complete the 

Ability to apply the knowledge:
The student will also acquire the following professional skills: the ability of description of the main physical phenomena that affect the atmosphere and the ocean, for a better understanding of the connection with the different topics or with different environmental issues.

Soft skills:
The course helps to improve the capacity of analysis and synthesis of information and the communication skills of the students.


Contents (lezioni frontali, 6 CFU, 48 ore):
Introduction to atmospheric and oceanographic science.
Oceanography, meteorology and climatology and their applications; physical properties of seawater; atmosphere structure; physical parameters and their distribution; scales of atmospheric motions.
Atmospheric thermodynamics
The gas laws; the hydrostatic equation; adiabatic processes; potential temperature; phase transitions; static stability; thermodynamic diagrams
Clouds and precipitation
saturation; nucleation of water droplets and ice crystals; growth mechanisms; classification of clouds
forces and Newton's second law; equations of motion; winds and currents; the continuity equation; apparent forces in a rotating system; geostrophic approximation; Rossby waves; vorticity
Radiative phenomena
The spectrum of radiation; radiation laws; orbital factors; absorption, emission and diffusion; the global energy balance
The general circulation
Energy considerations; thermal wind; jet stream; general circulation of the atmosphere 
Synoptic meteorology
structures of high and low pressure; cyclogenesis; air masses and fronts; analysis of synoptic charts; weather forecasting
Boundary layer and small-scale circulation
evolution of the boundary layer; turbulence; Ekman spiral; small-scale atmospheric circulations
composition and physical characteristics of seawater;  ocean circulation; tydal forcing
types of climate; history of the Earth's climate; climate change; ocean-atmosphere interaction; teleconnections: "El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO)" and North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).

Practical works:
Exercitations on the use of thermodinamic diagrams are planned.

Development of the examination

Methods for assessing learning outcomes:
The assessment of learning is through an oral interview. The exam consists of three questions regarding course content, which may also include the use of knowledges acquired through the exercitations. For each response is given a score between 0 and 10 points. The exam is passed when the final grade is greater than or equal to 18.

Criteria for assessing learning outcomes: 
During the interview, kowledge of the course arguments, mathematical formalism and communication ability are evaluated. 

Criteria for measuring learning outcomes:
The final mark is awarded out of thirty. The exam is passed when the mark is greater than or equal to 18. It is expected to be awarded the highest marks with honors (30 cum laude).

Criteria for conferring final mark:
The final grade is given by adding the scores for each of the three questions of the exam. Laude is attributed when the score obtained from the previous sum is equal to the value of 30, and at the same time, the student has demonstrated good command of the subject.

Recommended reading

teacher's lecture notes
J. M. Wallace, P. V. Hobbs: Atmospheric Science II ed., Academic Press
R. V. Rohli,  A. J. Vega, Climatology, Jones and Barlett Publishers 
S. Pond, G. L. Pickard, Introductory Dynamic Oceanography, II ed., Pergamon Press

  • Scienze ambientali e protezione civile

Università Politecnica delle Marche
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