Quasi-Balanced Circulations in Oceans and Atmospheres

Streamfunction in eigenmode way.

The eigenmodes of the velocity streamfunction. (Image by Prof. Kerry Emanuel.)


MIT Course Number


As Taught In

Fall 2009



Cite This Course

Course Description

Course Features

Course Description

This course introduces the students to dynamics of large-scale circulations in oceans and atmospheres. Basic concepts include mass and momentum conservation, hydrostatic and geostrophic balance, and pressure and other vertical coordinates. It covers the topics of fundamental conservation and balance principles for large-scale flow, generation and dissipation of quasi-balanced eddies, as well as equilibrated quasi-balanced systems. Examples of oceanic and atmospheric quasi-balanced flows, computational models, and rotating tank experiments can be found in the accompaniment laboratory course 12.804, Large-scale Flow Dynamics Lab.

Related Content

Kerry Emanuel. 12.803 Quasi-Balanced Circulations in Oceans and Atmospheres. Fall 2009. Massachusetts Institute of Technology: MIT OpenCourseWare, https://ocw.mit.edu. License: Creative Commons BY-NC-SA.

For more information about using these materials and the Creative Commons license, see our Terms of Use.