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The University of Southampton

SOES6005 Large Scale Ocean Processes and Climate

Module Overview

Aims and Objectives

Learning Outcomes

Learning Outcomes

Having successfully completed this module you will be able to:

  • Quantify large-scale ocean processes in terms of water mass transformation
  • Apply Lagrangian diagnostics to understand ocean circulation and mixing
  • Understand the utility of numerical ocean models for simulation and prediction
  • Understand ocean-atmosphere-cryosphere interactions, in relation to weather and climate
  • Synthesize observations and models to explain the ocean's key role in climate change


The module will explore processes that determine the physical state and circulation of the World Ocean. Observations and model data will be used together with a water mass transformation framework and virtual particle tracking, to explore how the ocean is forced to move and mix. Following an introduction to ocean and atmosphere re-analysis datasets, and ocean/climate models, analyses will be undertaken to reveal the patterns and timescales of climate variability and change, with a focus on dramatic changes that have played out across the North Atlantic and Arctic since 1980. Computer based practicals and example sheets will underline key concepts in the module.

Learning and Teaching

Teaching and learning methods

Formal Lectures (20 x forty-five minutes): in the first half of the module, lectures will introduce water masses, the basic character of ocean currents and ocean circulation, and the water mass transformation framework; in the second half of the module, lectures introduce re-analysis data for the ocean and atmosphere, and ocean/climate models, proceeding to cover processes driving climate variability and change in low, mid and high latitudes, with a focus on the North Atlantic and Arctic. Practical sessions: (10 x 2 hour computing practicals): in the first half of the module, particle trajectory data are analysed to obtain key Lagrangian statistics for selected current systems in the World Ocean, followed analysis of surface properties and heat/freshwater fluxes to diagnose water mass transformation, globally and for the North Atlantic; in the second half of the module, ocean, atmosphere and cryosphere data are analysed to reveal patterns and timescales of climate variability and change since 1980. 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.

Follow-up work4
Practical classes and workshops20
Independent Study112
Total study time156



MethodPercentage contribution
Coursework 60%
Coursework 40%


Costs associated with this module

Students are responsible for meeting the cost of essential textbooks, and of producing such essays, assignments, laboratory reports and dissertations as are required to fulfil the academic requirements for each programme of study.

In addition to this, students registered for this module typically also have to pay for:


There are no additional costs associated with this module.

Please also ensure you read the section on additional costs in the University’s Fees, Charges and Expenses Regulations in the University Calendar available at

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