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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: 2024-25

Module will run

Occurrence Teaching period
A Semester 2 2024-25

Module aims

This module aims to provide students with insight into atmosphere and ocean science, covering aspects of climate change, ecosystem processes and 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 (including indoor) air quality and stratospheric ozone depletion. The lectures will be complemented by practicals, workshops, seminars and a field trip. The material in this flipped-module will focus on topical research in the two areas and also, at 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

  • be able to critically analyse current research papers (in ocean or atmospheric science)

Generic / Employability Skills:

  • improved knowledge and understanding of the Earths system

  • confidence in using mathematical equations to describe environmental processes

  • independent study

  • critical reading skills

Indicative assessment

Task Length % of module mark
Online Exam - 24 hrs (Centrally scheduled)
Atmosphere & Ocean Sci Open Exam
8 hours 100

Special assessment rules


Indicative reassessment

Task Length % of module mark
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

The information on this page is indicative of the module that is currently on offer. The University constantly explores 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. In some instances it may be appropriate for the University to notify and consult with affected students about module changes in accordance with the University's policy on the Approval of Modifications to Existing Taught Programmes of Study.