Atmosphere–Ocean Interactions (海气相互作用)
Department of Earth System Science, Tsinghua University

This course focuses on the physics and climatic effects of atmosphere–ocean interactions at a variety of scales. The course begins with an introduction to the atmosphere–ocean climate system and general circulation, including reviews of the relevant thermodynamics and dynamics and an examination of boundary layers on both sides of the ocean surface. The second half of the course focuses on coupled atmosphere–ocean variability, including the El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO), coupled monsoon systems, the Madden–Julian Oscillation (MJO), interannual and decadal variations in the northern Pacific Ocean, and coupled atmosphere–ocean–sea ice interactions in the Arctic. The course concludes with a discussion of the role of atmosphere–ocean coupling in forced climate change, particularly the evolution of long-lived greenhouse gases, relationships between surface temperature and ocean heat content, and how the recent "hiatus" period stimulated research and new understanding of coupled climate variability.

The materials provided on this website are a work in progress (particularly the lecture notes, which are currently only available through lecture 7, with lecture 8 about one third complete). Most of the original figures are based on atmospheric and ocean reanalyses, often following published works. The data used are typically linked near the bottom right corner of the slide. I have also included materials and illustrations from other sources. I have attempted to acknowledge and directly link these sources where appropriate; please contact me if you find any materials that are unattributed (or misattributed). See also my short course in Python, which is related to this course. Comments, questions, and constructive feedback are welcome.

Thanks to Suqin Duan for the 中文 translations of notes for lectures 1 and 2.

Syllabus (2017 version)

  1. An overview of the ocean–atmosphere system: an energy balance perspective
    [lecture slides] [lecture notes] [lecture notes (中文)]
  2. Structure and composition of the atmosphere and ocean
    [lecture slides] [lecture notes] [lecture notes (中文)]
  3. Review of thermodynamic concepts, part 1
    [lecture slides] [lecture notes]
  4. Review of thermodynamic concepts, part 2
    [lecture slides] [lecture notes]
  5. A brief review of geophysical fluid dynamics
    [lecture slides] [lecture notes]
  6. Boundary layers
    [lecture slides] [lecture notes]
  7. The general circulation of the atmosphere
    [lecture slides] [lecture notes]
  8. The general circulation of the ocean
    [lecture slides] [lecture notes]
  9. Atmosphere–ocean coupling in the tropics: the El Niño–Southern Oscillation
    [lecture slides]
  10. Atmosphere–ocean coupling in the tropics: the Madden–Julian Oscillation
    [lecture slides]
  11. Atmosphere–ocean coupling in the tropics: coupled monsoon systems
    [lecture slides]
  12. Extratropical air–sea interactions: the North Pacific
    [lecture slides]
  13. Atmosphere–ocean–sea ice interactions in the Arctic
    [lecture slides]
  14. Air–sea interactions of long-lived greenhouse gases
    [lecture slides]
  15. Climate modeling and climate change
    [lecture slides]