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CODE 112038
MODULES Questo insegnamento è composto da:


The course aims to provide the foundations of i) geophysical fluid dynamics and ii) mixing processes in air and sea. Regarding i), significant attention will be given to the study of the Earth's rotation effect on triggering dynamic phenomena not present when the Earth's rotation is neglected in the equations of motion. As for ii), the main mechanisms responsible for mixing in air and sea will be analyzed, including the role of static stability. Although the course primarily aims to provide the theoretical bases that regulate geophysical fluid dynamics and mixing processes, great attention will also be paid to the computer exercise part aimed at applying theoretical concepts to practical problems of interest concerning various environmental applications, including the study of dispersion through the Lagrangian method.



The course aims to equip students with a solid theoretical and practical understanding in the field of geophysical fluid dynamics and mixing processes in air and marine environments. Through a teaching approach that balances theoretical lessons with practical exercises, the course aims to achieve the following educational objectives:

Foundations of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics: To provide students with an in-depth understanding of the fundamental principles that govern the dynamics of geophysical fluids, with particular emphasis on the effects of Earth's rotation on fluid behavior. Students will acquire the necessary knowledge to analyze and interpret the unique dynamic phenomena that arise from the Earth's rotation, which are absent when the apparent forces associated with Earth's rotation are neglected.

Mixing Mechanisms in Air and Sea: To explore the main mechanisms responsible for fluid mixing in the atmosphere and oceans. Special attention will be dedicated to the role of static stability and its effects on mixing processes. Students will be guided through the study of various factors that influence mixing, allowing them to understand the complex interactions between different environmental factors.

Practical and Environmental Applications: Beyond the solid theoretical foundation, the course commits to providing students with practical skills through computer exercises. These sessions are designed to apply theoretical concepts to real environmental problems, including the study of substance dispersion in the environment using the Lagrangian method. Students will develop skills in using computational tools to model and predict fluid behavior in real scenarios.

Interdisciplinary Approach: The course promotes an interdisciplinary approach, encouraging students to integrate knowledge and methods from different scientific areas. This approach is essential for addressing complex contemporary environmental issues, which require a holistic understanding of natural systems.

Preparation for Research and Profession: To prepare students for professional and academic careers in the field of environmental and oceanographic sciences. Through the course, students will not only acquire the theoretical and practical skills necessary to excel in their field but also the ability to think critically and solve complex problems related to geophysical fluid dynamics and mixing processes.

In conclusion, this course aims to train students capable of significantly contributing to the advancement of environmental sciences and the sustainable management of air and marine ecosystems, through a solid understanding of geophysical fluid dynamics and mixing processes.


To ensure that students can derive the maximum benefit from the course, it is important to establish some essential prerequisites. These preliminary requirements are designed to ensure that all participants have an adequate base of knowledge and skills to understand the advanced concepts discussed in the course. The suggested prerequisites are listed below:

Basic Knowledge in Mathematics and Physics: A solid understanding of the fundamental principles of mathematics and physics is indispensable. This includes algebra, differential and integral calculus, and classical mechanics. Familiarity with ordinary and partial differential equations is particularly relevant for effectively following the theoretical parts of the course.

Fundamentals of Meteorology and Oceanography: An introductory knowledge of the main concepts of meteorology and oceanography, such as the structure and dynamics of the atmosphere and oceans, is recommended. This background will help students contextualize the specific topics of geophysical fluid dynamics and mixing processes.

Basic Programming Skills: Basic programming skills, preferably in languages such as Python or MATLAB, which are commonly used for simulations and data analysis in the scientific field. The ability to write simple scripts and use computational software is essential for practical exercises and data processing.

Preliminary Courses: Participation in preliminary courses or possession of equivalent knowledge in Fluid Dynamics, Thermodynamics, and Mechanics of Fluids is recommended. These courses provide a critical foundation for understanding the phenomena studied in geophysical fluid dynamics.

Reading and Critical Analysis Ability: Students should be able to read and understand scientific articles and technical material in English, as well as critically analyze data and research findings. This skill is fundamental for following the reference literature and actively participating in classroom discussions.

Motivation and Interest in Environmental Sciences: A strong interest in environmental issues, meteorology, and oceanography, combined with the motivation to explore how physical processes affect the natural world, will significantly contribute to the student's success in this course.

Students who meet these prerequisites will be better prepared to face the intellectual challenges of the course and fully exploit the learning opportunities offered. This initial preparation will ensure a common platform of knowledge from which to start, allowing the instructor to focus on the more advanced and applied aspects of geophysical fluid dynamics and mixing processes.


Exam Board






The final assessment of the course involves a balanced approach aimed at evaluating both the practical skills and the theoretical understanding of the students. This approach is structured in two main phases: a practical computer exercise and an oral examination.

Practical Computer Exercise

The first phase of the exam consists of a practical exercise using the computer, during which students are called to demonstrate their abilities in applying the theoretical concepts learned to concrete environmental interest problems. This part of the exam is designed to assess the student's ability to use advanced computational tools, such as specific programming languages like Python, to model fluid dynamics and mixing processes in realistic scenarios.

During the exercise, students will need to solve a set of selected problems that will require data processing, implementation of numerical models, and interpretation of the results obtained. The goal is to evaluate not only the accuracy of the proposed solutions but also the ability to critically and creatively apply the knowledge acquired, as well as clarity in the presentation of results.

Oral Examination

The second phase of the exam consists of an oral test, during which the theoretical understanding of the topics covered in the course will be verified. The oral examination aims to assess the depth of the student's knowledge on the fundamental principles of geophysical fluid dynamics, mixing mechanisms, and the theoretical implications of the phenomena studied. During the oral, students may be asked specific questions on course themes, requiring an in-depth discussion that highlights a solid understanding of the concepts.

In addition to the theoretical part, the oral examination will also include the discussion of a report prepared by the student. This report must be based on the practical computer exercise and aims to evaluate the student's ability to synthesize and effectively communicate the results of the work done, integrating theoretical and applied aspects. The report represents an opportunity for the student to demonstrate their critical and analytical approach to problems, as well as the skills acquired in data interpretation and the formulation of valid conclusions.

Overall Assessment

The final assessment of the course will be based on the combination of performances obtained in the practical computer exercise and the oral examination, taking into account both the quality of the solutions proposed and the ability to argue and present the theoretical concepts. This multidimensional approach to assessment ensures a comprehensive view of the student's skills, rewarding not only theoretical knowledge but also practical and analytical abilities, essential for a career in the field of environmental engineering.


The method of assessing students' preparation for the course has been carefully designed to ensure a fair and comprehensive evaluation of the skills acquired, both from a theoretical and practical perspective. This evaluation process aims to provide students with the opportunity to fully demonstrate their understanding and abilities, through various phases that include:

Practical Computer Exercise

Students will first be assessed through a practical computer exercise, focusing on the application of the theoretical concepts studied to real geophysical fluid dynamics problems. This phase of the assessment will verify the student's ability to use specific software and computational tools, like Python, to model complex phenomena and analyze scientific data. The accuracy of the proposed solutions, clarity in presenting results, and a critical and creative approach to problem-solving will be key elements in evaluating the practical skills acquired.

Oral Examination

Subsequently, students will undergo an oral examination aimed at ascertaining the depth of their theoretical understanding and the ability to link the principles of geophysical fluid dynamics to mixing processes in real environmental contexts. During the oral exam, topics covered in the course will be discussed, with questions designed to explore the students' understanding of fundamental concepts and practical applications. Furthermore, particular importance will be given to the discussion of a report written by the student, based on the practical exercise, to assess the ability to synthesize, effectively communicate scientific results, and integrate theory and practice.

Report Evaluation

The written report represents a fundamental aspect of the assessment, as it allows evaluating the student's ability to conduct independent analysis, process data collected during the practical exercise, and present the results clearly and coherently. The quality of the report, in terms of content, structure, and presentation, will be carefully considered in the overall evaluation.

Evaluation Criteria

The final assessment will take into account various criteria, including the technical and theoretical correctness of the answers provided during the oral exam, originality and analytical approach demonstrated in the practical exercise and the report, as well as the ability to argue, critique, and communicate. The goal is to ensure a holistic evaluation that fairly and accurately reflects the competencies and knowledge acquired by the student throughout the course.

In summary, the assessment method has been structured to provide a complete and detailed measurement of the student's preparation, emphasizing the importance of integrating theoretical knowledge and practical skills, essential in the field of geophysical fluid dynamics and mixing processes.