Classic and Modern Papers in Physical Oceanography
Instructor: Fiamma Straneo
The objective of this course is to create a forum for the reading, discussion and
understanding of some of the fundamental papers in physical oceanography and
related fields. The course will cover 3 main topics with several weeks spent on
each topic. Topics for this semester are: lateral fluxes, internal and surface gravity
waves, the thermohaline circulation. Within each topic, the selection of papers
will try to follow the historical evolution and provide an equal balance of
theoretical and observational papers.
The class will meet once a week, for one and a half hours, to discuss the selected
paper (papers if short). The paper's content will be first presented
(approximately 30-45min) to the class by one pre-assigned student (on a
rotational basis) followed by a group discussion, facilitated by the instructor. All
students are expected to read the paper in question prior to class, and the
presenting student may find it helpful to read one or more related papers.
He/She is also welcome/encouraged to seek the help of the instructor or other
faculty members for clarification.
The primary goal of this course is to provide a different perspective on some of
the fundamental problems in our field by considering some of the individual
works which, when pieced together, contribute to the more cohesive description
of how the ocean works presented in today's textbooks and classes. The
`discussion format' of the class is meant to encourage students to consider the
many different aspects of the work in question including motivation, approach
utilized, and implications for the broader context.
The course is also intended to help students develop basic analytical and critical
skills in paper reading and, therefore, writing. To facilitate this, the final 10-
15min of each class will be devoted to a discussion of the paper's structure and
clarity of the material presented. Finally, students will benefit from the practice
in synthesizing information and making oral presentations.
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2004 Reading List
2005 Reading List