Share Course Ware
Earth Sciences > Environmental Science > Turbulence in the Ocean and Atmosphere
 Turbulence in the Ocean and Atmosphere  posted by  boym   on 2/8/2008  Add Courseware to favorites Add To Favorites  
Further Reading
More Options

Flierl, Glenn, and Raffaele Ferrari, 12.820 Turbulence in the Ocean and Atmosphere, Spring 2006. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), (Accessed 09 Jul, 2010). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

12.820 Turbulence in the Ocean and Atmosphere

Spring 2007

Examples of turbulent flows.
Examples of turbulent flows at the surface of the sun, in the earth's atmosphere, in the Gulf Stream at the ocean surface, and in a volcanic eruption. (Images courtesy of NASA, NOAA and USGS.)

Course Highlights

This course features movie "Fluid Dynamics Film - Turbulence" and simulations "Two-dimensional Flow around an Obstacle" about turbulence in the study materials section.

Course Description

This course presents the phenomena, theory, and modeling of turbulence in the Earth's oceans and atmosphere. The scope ranges from centimeter to planetary scale motions. The regimes of turbulence include homogeneous isotropic three dimensional turbulence, convection, quasi-geostrophic turbulence, shallow water turbulence, baroclinic turbulence, macroturbulence in the ocean and atmosphere.

Technical Requirements

Special software is required to use some of the files in this course: .ram, .mov, .tif.




The mathematics and physics required for admission to the graduate curriculum in the EAPS department, fluid dynamics at the level taught in Fluid Dynamics of the Atmosphere and Ocean (12.800), or consent of the instructor.


Introduction to turbulence in geophysical systems, including 3-D, 2-D, and quasi-geostrophic turbulence. Transition to turbulence through primary and secondary instabilities. Statistical theories of fully-developed turbulence. Influence of stratification and rotation. Parameterization of turbulent processes in ocean models.


Transition to turbulence

Statistics and turbulence


3D turbulence

Two-D turbulence

QG turbulence

Mean field approximation

SQG turbulence

Effective diffusivity

Transformed Eulerian mean

Transformed Eulerian mean in 3D

Particle motions, Stokes' drift

Atmospheric macroturbulence

Baroclinic turbulence

Wind-driven turbulence


Turbulent boundary layers

Nonlinear internal waves, solitary waves

Topographic waves   Tell A Friend