The course shows how important dynamic phenomena in the atmosphere and the ocean can be explained with the help of fundamental fluid equations, in particular the “shallow-water equations”. While they are in many cases insufficient for a fully realistic description, these equations are very useful for understanding various dynamic phenomena. The course treats geostrophic adjustment, the separation onto slow and fast mode, reduction to quasi-geostrophy, different geophysical waves (e.g. Rossby waves and gravity waves), conservation laws and stability theory.

The video below shows how the sea surface elevation in the Pacific varied during 1993-2009. (It is based on satellite observations, and was made by Leon Chafik.) The theory in the course explains how the fluctuations in the surface elevation are connected with the sub-surface currents, and several of the phenomena that are treated in the course can be identified on the video (e.g. equatorial and coastal Kelvin waves, and Rossby waves.)



Admittance requirements

Knowledge corresponding to Atmospheric Physics and Chemistry, 30 HECs (MO4000) or Meteorology I, 15 HECs (MO8001) and Meteorology II, 7.5 HECs (MO8002). Also required is knowledge equivalent to Swedish upper secondary school course English B/6.


The schedule will be published at least one month before the course starts.

Schedule Autumn 2020

Course literature

Geoffrey K. Vallis: Essentials of Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics, Cambridge University Press, 2019


The syllabus is a formal document for the course:

Course material

Grading criteria, course literature and other material and correspondence related to the course, will be available on the course Athena-site at or ask the responsible lecturer.

Upcoming courses

Starts during the first half of the autumn semester.


Via (Swedish) or (English). For more information see Application and admissions.