Module Identifier PH29610  
Academic Year 2007/2008  
Co-ordinator Dr Andrew R Breen  
Semester Semester 2  
Other staff Dr David Barnes, Balazs Pinter  
Pre-Requisite Satisfactory completion of part 1 of the degree scheme.  
Mutually Exclusive PH28720  
Course delivery Lecture   10 Hours. lectures  
  Seminars / Tutorials   3 seminars  
  Seminars / Tutorials   1 Hours. poster presentation workshop  
  Practical   6 Hours. practicals  
Assessment TypeAssessment Length/DetailsProportion
Semester Exam1.5 Hours Examination  70%
Semester Assessment Worksheets  20%
Semester Assessment poster presentation  10%
Supplementary Exam3 Hours examination  100%

Learning outcomes

On successful completion of this module students should be able to:
1. Explain how observations enable us to probe planetary interiors.

2. Explain the balance of energy in an atmospheric system.. Solve simple problems in radiative transfer.

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

4. Discuss the factors controlling fluid flow above a planetary surface.

5. Use a computational modelling suite to derive flow patterns above a planetary susrface, display the results using a visualisation system and interpret them in terms of the underlying physics.

6. Use the model results to plan the best path for an airbourne planetary robot to follow above the terrain for specificexperiment targets.

7. Present the results in poster form.

Brief description

This course will provide students with an overview of planetary atmospheric science, including the constraints on robotic planetary exploration and the use of computational modelling of planetary atmospheres.


Atmospheric energy balance. "Greenhouse effect". Convection and atmospheric dynamics.

Vertical structure. Hydrostatic equilibrium and scale heights. Atmospheric layers.

Planetary atmospheres - differences from Earth.

Atmospheric flow - fluid mechanics as applied to atmospheres.

Modelling planetary atmospheres - approaches and constraints.

Interpreting model results for flow over a planetary surface.

Reading Lists

** Recommended Text
Hargreaves, J.K. (1995) The solar-terrestrial environment: an introduction to geospace-the science of teh terrestrial upper atmosphere, ionosphere and the magnetosphere 0521427371
Hartmann,W.K. Moons and Planets Wadsworth


This module is at CQFW Level 5