PHYSICS 2300. Introductory Oceanography. Fall 2015


Instructor: Dr. Iakov (Yakov) Afanassiev

Office: Physics C-4065

email: afanai at

Course Times: Slot 06 M-T-R 13:00-13:50 pm, Room C2045

Office Hours: TBD

Web Page:


Evaluation Scheme:

1.      Mid-Term 20%

2.      Assignments 20%

3.      Term Paper 20%

4.      Final Exam 40%


The assignments will be a combination of calculations and reports based upon reading. The tests will follow the model of the assignments requiring some simple calculations and asking the students to demonstrate both a knowledge and understanding of the material provided.



A new textbook Physical Oceanography: A short course for beginners  by Y. D. Afanasyev

is now available from CreateSpace eStore

(and from Amazon).



ISBN-13: 978-1535312387 
ISBN-10: 1535312386 

Oceanography is a vast science, and beginners often feel overwhelmed by the number and variety of different topics. This book presents a distilled version of physical oceanography by providing physical insight into the circulation of the Earth’s oceans. A consistent view of the circulation is presented using only simple mathematics and an intuitive approach; however, hints to various phenomena are given for those who are willing to explore beyond this book. The book also contains an elementary introduction to fluid mechanics.  
 This book is written at a mathematical level appropriate for undergraduate students in oceanic and climate science.


CreateSpace eStore:





1.      Formation of the Oceans (origin of atmosphere and ocean, ocean basin formation and plate tectonics, hydrostatics, isostasy)

2.      Properties of Seawater (physical and chemical properties, equation of state and nonlinearity, density and water structure)

3.      Elementary dynamics of water on the rotating Earth (Coriolis effect, inertial motion)

4.      Currents with and without friction (hydrostatic dynamics, geostrophy, Ekman dynamics)

5.      Atmosphere and Ocean general circulation (large scale wind, oceanic gyres, upwelling, El Nino, deep ocean circulation)

6.      Ocean waves (gravity waves, internal waves, Kelvin and Rossby waves)

7.      Tides

8.      Marine Ecology and Biological productivity

Term Paper