© 2008

Dynamical Oceanography


Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages I-XV
  2. Introduction

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Henk A. Dijkstra
      Pages 3-25
    3. Henk A. Dijkstra
      Pages 27-49
    4. Henk A. Dijkstra
      Pages 51-69
    5. Henk A. Dijkstra
      Pages 71-88
  3. Midlatitude circulation

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 89-89
    2. Henk A. Dijkstra
      Pages 91-125
    3. Henk A. Dijkstra
      Pages 127-153
    4. Henk A. Dijkstra
      Pages 155-172
    5. Henk A. Dijkstra
      Pages 173-196
    6. Henk A. Dijkstra
      Pages 197-216
    7. Henk A. Dijkstra
      Pages 217-237
  4. Equatorial circulation

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 239-239
    2. Henk A. Dijkstra
      Pages 241-272
    3. Henk A. Dijkstra
      Pages 273-291
  5. Planetary circulation

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 293-293
    2. Henk A. Dijkstra
      Pages 295-326
    3. Henk A. Dijkstra
      Pages 327-350
    4. Henk A. Dijkstra
      Pages 351-374

About this book


This textbook provides a mathematical introduction to the theory of large-scale ocean circulation and is accessible for readers with an elementary knowledge of mathematics and physics, including continuum mechanics and solution methods for ordinary differential equations. The book consists of four parts. Part I (chapters 1 - 4) is a very brief introduction to ocean circulation and the mathematical formulation of the governing equations of ocean flows. In addition, concepts are introduced that are necessary to describe and understand large-scale ocean currents. In part II (chapters 5 - 10), the theory of mid-latitude wind-driven ocean circulation is presented. The consideration of model development includes a top-down approach and reduced equations are derived using asymptotics and scaling. Part III (chapters 11 - 12) focuses on the understanding of equatorial currents and El Nino. In the last part IV, chapters 13 - 16, the theory of planetary scale flows is presented, covering topics such as the thermocline problem, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current, the stability of the thermohaline circulation and the Arctic Ocean circulation. At the end of each chapter several exercises are formulated. Many of these are aimed to further develop methodological skills and to get familiar with the physical concepts. A few exercises also serve to introduce extension topics. Fully worked out answers to all exercises can be downloaded from the book web site.


Arctic Ocean Climatology Mathematical Applications in Geosciences Meteorology Ocean Oceanography Scale Wind

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Inst Marine and Atmospheric ResearchUniv. Utrecht3584 CC UtrechtNetherlands

About the authors

Henk A. Dijkstra is professor of dynamical oceanography at the Institute for Marine and Atmospheric research Utrecht (IMAU) at the Department of Physics and Astronomy of Utrecht University, the Netherlands. After graduating in applied mathematics at the University of Groningen in 1984. During his Ph.D. he worked in Groningen on a Spacelab experiment involving Marangoni convection under microgravity conditions. From 1988-1990 he continued this research at the Department of Chemical Engineering at Cornell University (USA) . In 1990 he started to work on problems in physical oceanography at Utrecht University. His main research interests are in the stability of ocean currents and the physics of low-frequency variability of the climate system. He is the author of the book "Nonlinear Physical Oceanography" of which the 2nd edition appeared in 2005 (Springer).

Bibliographic information

Industry Sectors
Oil, Gas & Geosciences


From the reviews:

"This book is a must for any fluid dynamicist, physical oceanographer, coastal engineer, or physicist working with fluids. This clear, excellently written, comprehensive volume combines, in one place, all of the fundamental governing equations of fluid flow and ocean circulation. … The clarity of the writing … and the excellent, manageable problem sets at the end of each chapter make this a superb advanced undergraduate or graduate-level work for anyone working with large-scale fluid motion. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections." (B. Ransom, CHOICE, Vol. 46 (01), September, 2008)

“This well-organized and insightful textbook provides a very nice introduction to modern oceanography, especially ocean circulation in various parts of the globe, at a level appropriate to an advanced undergraduate, or introductory graduate course. Each chapter addresses a particular ocean feature of interest. … Each chapter concludes with a summary box, outlining the basic lessons learned, and a set of exercises that add extra detail to some of the model calculations.” (Peter Bernard Weichman, Mathematical Reviews, Issue 2011 i)

“‘Dynamical Oceanography’ is a textbook that introduces the reader to the subject by using a mathematically oriented approach that integrates elements of physical oceanography and geophysical fluid dynamics. Hence, the book is very attractive for students and researchers with a background in mathematics and physics and with an interest in ocean circulation. … A large number of figures, many in color, illustrate the material presented.” (Nina Kirchner, Zentralblatt MATH, Vol. 1214, 2011)