Wave Motions in the Ocean and Atmosphere

A blue dot moves across a green screen causing a wavy pattern.

An animated illustration of internal gravity waves. (Image courtesy of Prof. Glenn Flierl.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Spring 2004



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Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course is an introduction to basic ideas of geophysical wave motion in rotating, stratified, and rotating-stratified fluids. Subject begins with general wave concepts of phase and group velocity. It also covers the dynamics and kinematics of gravity waves with a focus on dispersion, energy flux, initial value problems, etc. Also addressed are subject foundation used to study internal and inertial waves, Kelvin, Poincare, and Rossby waves in homogeneous and stratified fluids. Laplace tidal equations are applied to equatorial waves. Other topics include: resonant interactions, potential vorticity, wave-mean flow interactions, and instability.

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Related Content

Glenn Flierl. 12.802 Wave Motions in the Ocean and Atmosphere, Spring 2004. (Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare), http://ocw.mit.edu (Accessed). License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA

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