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Physical Oceanography

Code: MA116     Acronym: OF

Classification Keyword
OFICIAL Physical Oceanography

Instance: 2018/2019 - 2T (of 19-11-2018 to 18-01-2019) Ícone do Moodle

Active? Yes
Responsible unit: Aquatic Production
Course/CS Responsible: First Cycle Degree (BSc) in Aquatic Sciences

Cycles of Study/Courses

Acronym No. of Students Study Plan Curricular Years Credits UCN Credits ECTS Contact hours Total Time
LCMA 40 Oficial Plan 2018 1 - 5 49 135

Teaching Staff - Responsibilities

Teacher Responsibility
Isabel Iglesias Fernandez

Teaching - Hours

Theoretical classes: 4,50
Laboratory Practice: 2,50
Type Teacher Classes Hour
Theoretical classes Totals 1 4,50
Isabel Iglesias Fernandez 4,50
Laboratory Practice Totals 2 5,00
Isabel Iglesias Fernandez 5,00

Teaching language

Suitable for English-speaking students


It is intended that students acquire a general understanding about the fundamental concepts of physical oceanography, global circulation, coastal phenomena and methods to obtain, manage and analyse meteorological and oceanographic datasets by lectures and practical sessions

Learning outcomes and competences

Students must be able to recognize the main processes that regulate the oceans, identify the major circulation systems and understand the role of the oceans in the climate. It is also expected that students are autonomous in the management, analysis and interpretation of meteorological and oceanographic information.

Working method


Pre-requirements (prior knowledge) and co-requirements (common knowledge)

Basic math training skills



History of oceanography

Introduction to oceanography

Ocean floor structure

Climatic system

Basic concepts

Atmosphere-ocean interaction

Heat transport

Physical properties of sea water

Water masses and ocean circulation

Coastal Oceanography

Measuring instruments and numerical modelling

Mandatory literature

George L. Pickard, William J. Emery; Descriptive Physical Oceanography: An Introduction [5th (SI) Enlarged Edition], Pergamon Press, 1990. ISBN: 0-08-037952-4
Open University Course Team; Open University third-level course, S330 Oceanography: Volume 3 - Ocean Circulation, Pergamon Press in association with The Open University, 1989. ISBN: 0-08-036369-5
Open University Course Team; Open University third-level course, S330 Oceanography: Volume 2 - Seawater: Its Composition, Properties and Behaviour, Pergamon Press in association with The Open University, 1991. ISBN: 0-08-036367-9

Teaching methods and learning activities

Lectures: Explanation of contents using slides projection and examples of the theoretical concepts.

Practical sessions: Analysis, interpretation and management of meteorological and oceanographic data using free software.


Ocean Data Viewer: http://odv.awi.de
Integrated Data Viewer (IDV): http://www.unidata.ucar.edu/software/idv/

Evaluation Type

Distributed evaluation with final exam

Assessment Components

Designation Weight (%)
Exame 70,00
Trabalho escrito 30,00
Total: 100,00

Amount of time allocated to each course unit

Designation Time (hours)
Estudo autónomo 86,00
Frequência das aulas 49,00
Total: 135,00

Eligibility for exams

Minimum attendance of 75% of practical sessions

Calculation formula of final grade

Final exam with T/F, multiple choice, interpretation and written synthesis questions (70% of the final mark)

Practical assignments (30% of the final mark):

  • Group assignment using the methods learned at the practical lessons:
    • Report (20% of the final mark)
    • Final presentation to the class (10% of the final mark)

Minimum exam mark to approve the course: 8.5/20

Final mark: Weighted average between the marks of the exam and practical assignments

The final mark must be equal to or greater than 9.5 points to approve the course

Examinations or Special Assignments

Apart from the exam, report and oral presentation it is not required any further exam or assignment

Special assessment (TE, DA, ...)

The special statute students have access to the first and second calls, as well as to special exam periods. The practical assignments and attendance are optional. The minimum attendance is required for those who opt to perform the practical assignments. If not, the final mark corresponds to the mark obtained at the exam.

Classification improvement

The exam mark can be improved in the second call. The marks of the practical assignments cannot be improved. The final mark will be the weighted average of the marks of the exam and the practical assignments using the same weights of the ordinary period (70% exam, 30% practical assignments)

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