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Atmosphere & Ocean Science - ENV00034H

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  • Department: Environment and Geography
  • Module co-ordinator: Prof. Nicola Carslaw
  • Credit value: 20 credits
  • Credit level: H
  • Academic year of delivery: 2022-23

Related modules

Co-requisite modules

  • None

Prohibited combinations

  • None

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Autumn Term 2022-23 to Spring Term 2022-23

Module aims

This module aims to provide students with an insight into atmosphere and ocean science, and builds on previous modules covering Climate Change, Ecosystem Processes and Environmental Geochemistry. It will explore in detail the physical and chemical aspects of oceans and atmospheres and focus on key issues of concern, such as ocean acidification, urban air quality and El Nino Southern Oscillation. The lectures will be complemented by lab and PC practicals, examples classes and a field trip to gain experience of how air quality is managed by local authorities. The material in this module will focus heavily on topical research in the two areas and also, the interface between them.

Module learning outcomes

By the end of this module students should:

  • have in depth knowledge of the structure and composition of the atmosphere and oceans, and their biological, physical and chemical controls
  • understand and be able to employ mathematical descriptors of atmospheric and ocean dynamics
  • have an awareness of current research and developments in atmospheric and ocean science
  • design experiments to explore key concepts in ocean science and present your findings succinctly as an oral presentation
  • be able to critically analyse current research papers (in ocean or atmospheric science)

Generic / Employability Skills:

  • improved knowledge and understanding of the Earths system
  • introduction to the environmental division of a local council
  • experience of independently designing and performing laboratory experiments
  • confidence in using mathematical equations to describe environmental processes
  • independent study
  • oral presentation skills


Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Atmosphere & Ocean Sci Open Exam
8 hours 70
Oral presentation/seminar/exam
Oral Presentation
N/A 30

Special assessment rules



Task Length % of module mark
Reassessment Essay
N/A 100

Module feedback

Within the usual 4-week turnaround time.

Indicative reading

Much of the course reading will be research papers, which will be identified as we go through the lectures.

For the atmospheric part of the course, no books cover the whole course content, but those listed below are useful for different aspects of the course. In terms of air quality management (for those considering a future in this area), the book by Jacobson is probably the most useful.

  • M. Jacobson (2002), Atmospheric Pollution, Cambridge.
  • R.G. Barry and R.J. Chorley (2009), Atmosphere, weather and climate (8th edition), Routledge
  • R. Harrison (2006), An Introduction to Pollution Science, Chapter 2, RSC Publishing, offers an excellent overview of the course. Chapter 6 provides further information on health issues.

The following texts could be of use in helping you to understand basic principles in physical, chemical and biological oceanography.

  • A. Trujillo and H. Thurman, (2013), Essentials of Oceanography, Prentice Hall
  • A. R. Duxbury, A. C. Duxbury and K. A. Sverdrup, (2002) Fundamentals of Oceanography, McGraw Hill
  • L. D. Talley, G. L. Pickard, W. J. Emery and J. H. Swift (2012) Descriptive Physical Oceanography, Elsevier
  • G. Bigg, (2003) The Oceans and Climate, Cambridge
  • S. M. Libes, (2009) Introduction to Marine Biogeochemistry, Academic Press

You will also be expected to read the relevant sections of The Physical Science Basis chapter of the 2013 (AR5) IPCC report for some aspects of the course (available at

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University is constantly exploring ways to enhance and improve its degree programmes and therefore reserves the right to make variations to the content and method of delivery of modules, and to discontinue modules, if such action is reasonably considered to be necessary by the University. Where appropriate, the University will notify and consult with affected students in advance about any changes that are required in line with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.