PAOC Spotlights

PAOC Undergraduate Courses: 12.003

Wed October 27th, 2010
TA's John Taylor and Allison Wing demonstrate convection12.003 (Atmosphere, Ocean and Climate Dynamics) is an undergraduate class designed to introduce students to the physics that govern the circulation of the ocean and atmosphere with a focus on the processes that control the climate. The course presents the radiative budget of our planet, the circulation of the ocean and atmosphere. Taking it gives students a good grasp of the role of the atmosphere and oceans on climate. Concepts are introduced through a combination of theory, observations, and laboratory experiments.

Offered each Fall, 12.003 is taught by Prof. Raf Ferrari who, this year, is aided by teaching assistants Allison Wing, Tim Cronin and Andrea Dubin.

When asked what he had enjoyed most about 12.003 when he took it a couple of years ago, Physics major Todd Mooring ('11) explained that he had particularly liked "seeing how the basic characteristics of the large-scale ocean and atmosphere circulations can be derived from classical mechanics". He added that "the ability to "predict" the existence of western boundary currents in oceans based on a relatively simple argument whose primary premise is that the Earth is rotating had opened his eyes to the power of such analyses (explaining complex things from simple principles): Western boundary currents are easy enough to see in surface current data, but it is quite remarkable that they should have such a simple explanation."