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  • Dynamics II
  • Lecturer: Prof. Dr. D. Olbers
  • Tel: 0471-4831-1760
  • dirk.olbers@awi.de
  • Time: Monday 3 – 6 p.m.
  • Location: S-3032 (PEP lecture room)
  • Credits: 4 credit points
  • Final exam:

Lecture content:

The Earth is subject to constant change. Even the solid body of the Earth or the great polar ice caps are not steady but move over periods of tens to millions of years. These movements are essentially fueled by the sun‘s energy, the heat stored in the Earth`s interior and energy given off through radio-active deday of minerals in the crust and upper-mantle. Exchange of matter and energy between various components of the Earth system are mainly due to circulation processes in the oceans and the atmosphere but also the living world is affected and is involved.

The Earth is made up of the following subsystems: geosphere, atmosphere, hydrosphere (the oceans and lakes), cryosphere (the great ice caps, sea ice and mountain glaciers), and the biosphere (the living world). Each obeys certain natural laws, mostly arising from physics. On short times scales, specific for each sphere, each subsystem is in a state of dynamic equilibrium. On longer periods of time, fluctuations and transitions from one state of equilibium to another may become visible. These delicate states of equilibrium may be permanently disturbed by changes in external conditions. The Earth system is thus constantly in a state of change.

The lecture introduces the fundamental physical laws governing the dynamics of atmosphere, oceans, ice and solid earth. Various forms and approximations are considered and applied to learn from simple, preferably analytical models how equilibria are established and variability of the systems arises.

Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, J. Pedlosky:. Springer-Verlag, 1986
Fundamentals of Atmospheric Physics, M. L. Salby, Academic Press, New York 1996