Università degli Studi di Napoli "Parthenope"

Teaching schedule

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Second semester
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Course description

The course aims at providing the basic understanding of the ocean processes that control the climate dynamics and govern climate variations in the past, present and future. Exercises will concern the representation, analysis and interpretation of in-situ oceanographic and climate data.
The student must demonstrate they have the knowledge and ability to understand the ocean’s processes and their role in the climate system.
Applying knowledge and understanding: The student must demonstrate the ability to use the acquired concepts to analyze and interpret the oceanographic and climate phenomena and their spatial and temporal variability from the data analysis.

Making judgments: Students must be able to autonomously perform exercises and applications provided by the teacher.
Communication skills: The student must have the ability to hold a discussion on the topics dealt with using a scientific language and acquired concepts appropriately.
Learning skills: The student must be able to update himself, through the consultation of texts and publications (also in English) suggested by the teacher, in order to acquire the ability to deepen the topics of oceanography and climate studies.


The students must have acquired knowledge and skills transmitted in the following courses: Oceanography and Meteorology


The Climate System (Composition and Physical Properties
of the Ocean and Atmosphere, solar radiation, the greenhouse effect, timescales and feedbacks).
Ocean, atmosphere and cryosphere: surface energy balance of the ocean, gas exchange, bio-geochemical cycles. sea ice, land ice).
Ocean convection and deep-bottom water formation (buoyancy, stability, deep convection, NADW, entrainment, shelf and under-ice processes, AABW).
Global Ocean circulation: Meridional Overturning Circulation (overturning circulation maintained by mixing and wind), Wind-driven Circulation (the great gyres, Ekman and wind-induced geostrophic flows) role of the Southern Ocean.
Ocean’s role in climate: ocean heat transport (mechanisms and effects).
Ocean and climate variability from weakly to decadal time scales (Weekly variability and the weather, NAO, SAM, NPO/PDO, ENSO).
Paleoclimatic Ocean Circulation (oceanic role in the geological evolution of climate).
Ocean and climate change (global warming, changes in salinity, freshwater, ocean circulation and Cryosphere, sea level rise)
Visualization, analysis, and interpretation of oceanographic (in-situ observations) and climate data (reanalysis data climate indices time series) with matlab software.

Introduction (2 hours)
The Climate System (2 hours)
Ocean, atmosphere and cryosphere interactions: (6 hours)
Ocean convection and deep-bottom water formation (4 hours)
Global Ocean circulation: Meridional Overturning Circulation & Wind-driven Circulation (4 hours)
Ocean’s role in climate: ocean heat transport (2 hours)
Ocean and climate variability from weakly to decadal time scales (6 hours)
Paleoclimatic Ocean Circulation (2 hours)
Ocean and climate change (8 hours)
Visualization, analysis, and interpretation of oceanographic and climate data (12 hours)

Teaching Methods

Lectures and exercises


The teaching material (handouts in pdf and pptx format) is provided during the course by the teacher.
The Oceans and Climate. Bigg, G. (2003). Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. doi:10.1017/CBO9781139165013.
Climate and the Oceans. Geoffrey K. Vallis (2012). Princeton University Press.
Ocean Circulation and Climate_ A 21 Century Perspective, 2nd Edition. Gerold Siedler, Stephen M. Griffies Dr., John Gould, John A. Church (2013). Elsevier Academic Press.
Atmosphere, ocean, and climate dynamics: an introductory text. John Marshall and r. Alan Plumb (2008). Elsevier Academic Press.

Learning assessment

The assessment’s goal is to quantify, for each student, the degree of achievement of the learning objectives listed above. The exam includes an oral discussion in which the ability to link and compare different aspects treated during the course and a project concerning the data analysis part will be evaluated. During the oral examination the student will have to answer the teacher's questions, producing also graphs, diagrams and explanatory drawings.

More information

Lectures are in Italian. The professor is fluent in English and is available to interact with students in English, also during the examination.