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 GEOL1820, Fall 2016

GEOL 1820: Geophysical Fluid Dynamics: Waves and Mean Flows

Brown Critical Review Link

Explores theories of the large-scale ocean and atmosphere, including quasigeostrophic, planetary geostrophic, and shallow water equations. Topics will vary to focus on features of the general circulation and climate system (e.g. thermocline, westward intensification, jet stream dynamics, polar vortex, meridional overturning circulations), instabilities and waves (e.g. gravity, Rossby, and Kelvin), or rotating stratified turbulence. May be repeated with permission of instructor. Pre-requisites: GEOL0350 or PHYS0720 or APMA 0340 and GEOL1510 or GEOL1520.

The Fall 2016 version will focus on Waves and Mean Flows. You can access the syllabus, class calendar, notes, and reading

Class Meetings and Notes

Class meets Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays 9-9:50 in GeoChem 039. All assignments due by classtime on day noted. Baylor's office hours are Mondays 1:30-2:30 and Thursdays 2:00-3:00 or by appointment (just check my availability and request a time). The calendar of lectures with slides and links is below. It is also available as a public subscription iCalendar called "GEOL1820: GFD" at Be sure to click on the HW & Reading where you can check under "Description" and maybe also "more details" for assignment and reading links.

Web Resources and Texts

  2. Peer reviewing guidelines
  3. Reading assignment guidelines
  4. Math Resource Center
  5. Tutoring
  6. Science Center Advising

Main Texts

  1. Buhler, Waves and Mean Flows, 2nd Ed.
  2. Chapman and Rizzoli, Wave Motions in the Ocean: Myrl's View


  1. Final Paper Assignment (Due 12/13).
  2. Assignment 3 key (reviews due 11/4).
  3. Assignment 3 due 10/31 (reviews due 11/4).
  4. Assignment 2 key (reviews due 10/25).
  5. Assignment 2 due 10/17.
  6. Assignment 1 Key (reviews due 10/5).
  7. Assignment 1 due 9/23 (reviews due 9/29).

Secondary Textbooks (available online):
  1. Cushman-Roisin and Beckers, Introduction to geophysical fluid dynamics: Physical and Numerical Aspects
  2. Marshall and Plumb, Atmosphere, ocean, and climate dynamics: an introductory text
  3. Vallis, Atmospheric and Oceanic Fluid Dynamics : Fundamentals and Large-Scale Circulation
  4. Fowler, Mathematical Geosciences
  5. Robert H. Stewart's Introduction to Physical Oceanography
  6. Strogatz, Nonlinear Dynamics and Chaos : With Applications to Physics, Biology, Chemistry, and Engineering
  7. Arfken, Weber, and Harris, Mathematical Methods for Physicists, Seventh Edition: A Comprehensive Guide
  8. Bender & Orszag, Advanced Mathematical Methods for Scientists and Engineers
  9. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Assessment Report (AR5, WGI), 2013: Physical Science Summary, and Summary for Policymakers


  1. Wolfram Alpha
  2. Mathematics of Planet Earth
  3. Cleon Teunissen's Rotation Physics

Additional Fun Reading


  1. Lamb, 1917: Lamb, On Waves in an Elastic Plate
  2. Love, 1897: Theoretical Mechanics: An Introductory Treatise on the Principles of Dynamics with Applications and Numerous Examples
  3. Taylor, 1920: Tidal Friction in the Irish Sea
  4. Hofstadter, Goedel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid
  5. Paulos, Innumeracy: Mathematical Illiteracy and Its Consequences
  6. Bowditch, 1880: The American Practical Navigator
  7. Maury, 1860: The Physical Geography of the Sea and Its Meteorology


  1. Square, Flatland
  2. Verne, Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Seas
  3. Dana, Two Years Before the Mast
  4. Defoe, Robinson Crusoe
  5. Homer, The Odyssey
  6. London, The Sea Wolf
  7. Stevenson, Treasure Island

Brown Specific Guidelines

  1. Disability Support Services
  2. Academic & Student Conduct Codes, *Note* Prof. Fox-Kemper regards inappropriate cellphone and laptop use as disruptive behavior.
  3. Academic Code

The Idea Behind Stokes' Theorem,