The University of Southampton

SOES3010 Large Scale Ocean Processes

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Module Aims

This module will provide an introduction to the dynamics of the deep oceans and the processes that give rise to ocean circulation. The module is mathematically-based but uses real world examples of ocean circulation observations to illustrate the physics of the oceans.

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Understand the dynamical approach to physical oceanography.
  • Interpret the mathematical results from dynamical ocean models.
  • Quantify these results for ocean circulation.
  • Appreciate the physical interactions between the deep ocean, the atmosphere and the shelf seas and their relation to global processes.
  • Numerical and mathematical skills
  • A working knowledge of mathematical models and techniques.
  • Application of mathematical methods to ocean circulation.


The module will explore processes that give rise to ocean circulation and how recent observations (e.g. RAPID 26N measurements of the meridional overturning circulation) are providing new insights into how the system works. It will include global processes (waves, wind, buoyancy forcing) and how these processes influence the deep ocean. The global ocean circulation: its causes, its measurement and its role in the climate system will be explored. Computer based practicals and example sheets will underline key concepts in the module.

Special Features

This module may be available to students on both the final year of four-year undergraduate programmes, and to postgraduate taught master's programmes.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Formal Lectures (22 x forty-five minutes): will provide the underlying theory of large scale ocean processes (waves, hydrographic data, ocean circulation and processes, boundary layers, and ocean/shelf interactions and processes.) Practical sessions: practicals will exemplify the theory and allow you to develop your mathematical, analytical and data analysis skills. Several practical sessions will use the rotating table to illustrate key concepts. Tutorial Support: will be available within scheduled sessions. A wide range of support can be provided for those students who have further or specific learning and teaching needs.

Independent Study106
Practical classes and workshops18
Total study time144



MethodPercentage contribution
Boatwork report 40%
Theory examination 60%

Linked modules

Pre-requisites: MATH1008 or SOES2028 OR MATH1009 and SOES2010

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