MSCI3001-5004 - Physical Oceanography

The most extreme ocean heat wave ever recorded off Western Australia. The Ningaloo Nino had dramatic and ongoing impacts on local marine species and associated fisheries.

What drives ocean currents? How does an El Niño Work? How will Global Warming affect the ocean? Does water spiral down the toilet in different directions in Australia (Southern Hemisphere) and Austria (Northern Hemisphere)? This course will examine the fundamentals of oceanography: how the ocean works, how it interacts with the rest of the climate system and how the physical ocean environment is critical for understanding marine biology. You will also learn how to use state-of-the-art analysis tools to work with real ocean and climate data.

Term 2

Study level: Undergraduate

MSCI5004 - Postgraduate enrolment

6 units of credit


MSCI3001 Current handbook entry

MSCI3001 Current timetable

Course Outline

Who should I contact?

Coordinator: Alex Sen Gupta

ARGO: a new way to remotely measure the top 2km of the ocean using autonomous floats.

What does this course cover?

  • Basic ocean characteristics
  • How we observe and model the ocean
  • Forces that drive ocean circulation
  • Wind driven circulation, upwelling, subtropical gyres and western boundary currents
  • Ocean waves
  • The thermohaline circulation
  • Oceans and climate variability: El Niño and La Niña
  • Oceans and Global Warming

Where does this course fit into my degree?

This is a third year (MSCI3001) or postgraduate (MSCI5004) course.

Is there assumed prior knowledge or a co-requisite?

Assumed knowledge: Any 6 Units of Credit of Level I Mathematics (MATH1131, MATH1141, MATH1031, MATH1011).

Are there mandatory activities for this course?

There is no field trip for this course.

I took this course a while ago, and need proof of what was covered.

2015 Course Outline

Student perspectives

Find out wht alumni of MSCI3001 have to say about the course.

NB: All information provided on this page is superseded by information provided by the course coordinator or lecturer(s).