The University of Southampton

SOES3042 Computational Data Analysis for Geophysicists and Ocean Scientists

Module Overview

The module will present a variety of different types of geophysical, oceanographic and remote sensing data and will explore methods for processing, analysing and modelling using MATLAB.

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

• To provide a basic understanding of the mathematical methods used in the processing, analysis and modelling of a diverse range of geophysical and oceanographic data. • To provide the skills required to implement analysis methods in your own computer programs, including statistical analysis, spectral analysis and filtering.

Learning Outcomes

Transferable and Generic Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Programming skills;
  • report writing.
Subject Specific Intellectual and Research Skills

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Data manipulation including the identification of noise and filtering
Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Analyse data using a variety of statistical and processing techniques.
  • Manipulate datasets and present them in an informative manner.
  • Produce a quantifiable interpretation of data.
  • Implement mathematical algorithms in MATLAB programs


The module will introduce statistical analysis, curve fitting and the interpolation of data. The analysis of data in the frequency domain using the Fourier Transform will be covered with applications to filtering in 1-D and 2-D. The fundamentals of computer programming will be taught in practical sessions using MATLAB and will involve implementing the techniques covered in the lectures. The course will include optimal methods for the display of data.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Formal lectures: Lectures will systematically cover the main concepts and topics by the use of PowerPoint presentations. Illustrated handout materials will complement most lectures. Where relevant, lecturers' own research experience in the appropriate fields is brought into the lecturing sessions. References to the applicable chapter of course text and/or relevant journal articles are provided to complement some of the lectures. Practical sessions: Will exemplify the theory. Practical sessions will be computer-based exercises used to illustrate the concepts covered in the formal lectures. Computer practical sessions will use the software package MATLAB. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs

Independent Study90
Total study time150


Assessment Strategy

Computing Exercises 1 & 2 (2 x 30%): You will write simple MATLAB programs to analyse and plot oceanographic and geophysical datasets. Tests Learning Outcomes: 1, 2 and 4. Mini Project (40%): You will write a substantial MATLAB program, or a number of smaller programs, to process and analyse one or more datasets. You will interpret the results of the analysis and present these in a written report including the analysis methods you have applied to the data. Tests Learning Outcomes: 1, 2, 3 and 4.


MethodPercentage contribution
Computing exercise 60%
Mini-Project 40%
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