Faculty of Science

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This unit entry is for students who completed this unit in 2016 only. For students planning to study the unit, please refer to the unit indexes in the the current edition of the Handbook. If you have any queries contact the managing faculty for your course or area of study.

Monash University

6 points, SCA Band 2, 0.125 EFTSL

Undergraduate - Unit

Refer to the specific census and withdrawal dates for the semester(s) in which this unit is offered.



Organisational Unit

School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment


Dr Dietmar Dommenget



  • Second semester 2016 (Day)


The unit provides the opportunity for students to understand the weather and climate of the atmosphere and oceans. Topics discussed include: the characteristics of the atmosphere, radiation and the global energy balance, the greenhouse effect and climate change, the global wind distribution, Hadley circulation, mid-latitude westerlies, global heat balance, geostrophic wind, thermal wind, the oceans circulation and causes and characteristics of climate variability from seasons to ice ages.


On completion of this unit students will be able to:

  1. Understand the basic physical theory of the Earth's energy balance and large-scale climate dynamics and how it can be constructed from basic principles using mathematical analysis and numerical modelling;
  2. Demonstrate knowledge and skills in using mathematical models and applications in atmospheric science and oceanography;
  3. Demonstrate high-level knowledge and skills of the important techniques, terminology and processes of the large-scale physical climate, climate change and variability;
  4. Develop, apply, integrate and generate knowledge to analyse and solve problems in physical climate dynamics;
  5. Understand the importance of the physical climate dynamics to climate change and variability;
  6. Collect, organise, analyse and interpret quantitative information meaningfully, using mathematical and/or statistical tools as appropriate to physical climate dynamics, including numerical programming;
  7. Convey climate dynamics concepts, processes and results to diverse audiences.


Examination (3 hours): 60%
Assignments and tests and support-class activities: 40%

Workload requirements

Three 1-hour lectures and 2 hours of support classes per week (average)

See also Unit timetable information

Chief examiner(s)

This unit applies to the following area(s) of study


MTH1030 or MTH1035, or equivalent. ATM2030 is also recommended.


ATM3022, ATM2022