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ESE 200: Large-scale Dynamics of the Atmosphere

(Caltech)

Introduction to the global-scale fluid dynamics of the atmosphere, beginning with an analysis of classical models of instabilities in atmospheric flows and leading to currently unsolved problems. We will analyze models of baroclinic instability (the instability mechanism responsible for weather variability in midlatitudes); discuss theories of large-scale waves in the atmosphere; and examine such currently unsolved problems as the modeling of the macro-turbulence of the atmosphere. The course is designed for students in environmental science and planetary science and for applied mathematicians and engineers seeking an introduction to current research topics in atmospheric dynamics.

Topics include: barotropic Rossby waves; the quasigeostrophic two-layer model (potential vorticity, baroclinic instability); wave-mean flow interaction theory (non-acceleration theorem); turbulent fluxes in the extratropical climate; geostrophic turbulence; global-scale tracer transport; Hadley cell dynamics.

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