Module Information

Module Identifier
Module Title
Academic Year
Semester 2
Mutually Exclusive
Newtonian mechanics as part of MP14010; Thermodynamics as part of PH11010

Course Delivery

Delivery Type Delivery length / details
Lecture 22 hours lectures


Assessment Type Assessment length / details Proportion
Semester Exam 1.5 Hours   Semester Exam  70%
Semester Assessment Semester Assessment  Worksheets. Short Student Presentations.  30%
Supplementary Exam 2 Hours   Supplementary Exam  100%

Learning Outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:

1. Use the principle laws of fluid statics and fluid dynamics to solve problems in atmospheric dynamics.

2. Explain the balance of energy in an atmospheric system.

3. Explain the vertical structure of the neutral atmosphere in terms of the underlying physics.

4. Discuss the factors controlling the vertical temperature profile.

5. Understand the basic processes which determine the composition of the atmospheric layers.

6. Discuss the factors controlling winds and tides above a planetary surface.

7. Understand the properties of atmospheric acoustic-gravity waves.

Brief description

This course will provide students with the basic techniques in fluid dynamics and an overview of planetary atmospheric science.


  • Fluid mechanics and its application to neutral atmospheres
  • Introduction to atmospheres. Structure of the Earth's atmosphere. Heating and layer formation.
  • Vertical stucture. Hydrostatic equilibrium and scale heights. Atmospheric layers.
  • Planetary atmospheres - differences from Earth.
  • The vertical stucture of the Earth's neutral atmosphere.
  • Winds and tides in the Earth's atmosphere.
  • Atmospheric acoustic-gravity waves.
  • Modelling planetary atmospheres - approaches and constraints.

Reading List

Recommended Text
Saha, Kshudiram (2008) The Earth's Atmosphere - Its Physics and Dynamics


This module is at CQFW Level 5