Accessibility Skip to Global Navigation Skip to Local Navigation Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Site Map Menu

OCEN321 Ocean Physics and Modelling

Analytic and numerical modelling of oceanic processes. An opportunity to apply mathematics and physics skills to understand a critical part of our climate system.

Many earth science problems are tackled with numerical models. This paper examines how scientists develop models to study the physical characteristics and dynamics of the ocean to understand their connection to ocean biology, chemistry and climate change. The paper is intended for students interested in the quantitative study of the earth oceans, climate and paleoclimate. Assignments cover the fundamentals of numerical methods to study geophysical fluids and develop student programming skills to access and analyse numerical model output. Applications will include waves in the ocean, Newton’s laws on a rotating planet and wind-driven flow.

Paper title Ocean Physics and Modelling
Paper code OCEN321
Subject Oceanography
EFTS 0.1500
Points 18 points
Teaching period Second Semester
Domestic Tuition Fees (NZD) $1,080.30
International Tuition Fees (NZD) $4,858.95

^ Top of page

MATH 170 and one of OCEN 201, PHSI 231, PHSI 243 or EMAN 204
Recommended Preparation
: (OCEN 201 or PHSI 243), MATH 203, (PHSI 131 or PHSI 132 or PHSI 191) and OCEN 301
Schedule C

Dr. Ata Suanda

Teaching staff

Course Coordinator: Dr Ata Suanda

Teaching Arrangements
Lectures and labs

There is no required text for this paper.
Lecture notes and supplementary material will be made available.

Graduate Attributes Emphasised
Global perspective, Interdisciplinary perspective, Scholarship, Communication, Critical thinking, Information literacy, Research, Self-motivation, Teamwork.
View more information about Otago's graduate attributes.
Learning Outcomes
  • Classify differential equations and models based on their type, order and complexity.
  • Understand numerical principles behind solving differential equations.
  • Be able to determine the appropriate model to use for a given application.
  • Understand numerical model uncertainty, the use of approximations and the need for model parameterisation.
  • Use analytical and critical-thinking skills to identify and describe numerical methods found in literature.
  • Use practical MATLAB-based computer skills: be comfortable running computer codes, create effective visualisations and interpret model output.

^ Top of page


Second Semester

Teaching method
This paper is taught On Campus
Learning management system

Computer Lab

Stream Days Times Weeks
A1 Friday 09:00-11:50 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
L1 Tuesday 09:00-09:50 28-34, 36-41
Wednesday 09:00-09:50 28-34, 36-41


Stream Days Times Weeks
T1 Thursday 14:00-15:50 28-34