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Table of Contents

1. Course title

Ilmakehän yleinen kiertoliike I
Atmosfärens allmänna cirkulation I
Atmospheric General Circulation I


2. Course code


Aikaisemmat leikkaavat opintojaksot 53648 Ilmakehän yleinen kiertoliike I, 5 op

3. Course status: compulsory

-Which degree programme is responsible for the course?
Master's Programme in Atmospheric Sciences

-Which module does the course belong to?
ATM300 Advanced Studies in Atmospheric Sciences (compulsory for Study Track in Meteorology)

-Is the course available to students from other degree programmes?

4. Course level (first-, second-, third-cycle/EQF levels 6, 7 and 8)

Master’s level, degree programmes in medicine, dentistry and veterinary medicine = secondcycle
degree/EQF level 7
Doctoral level = third-cycle (doctoral) degree/EQF level 8

-Does the course belong to basic, intermediate or advanced studies (cf. Government Decree
on University Degrees)?
Advanced studies

5. Recommended time/stage of studies for completion

Spring term either in the first or second year of MSc studies.

6. Term/teaching period when the course will be offered

Each year in period III.

7. Scope of the course in credits

5 cr

8. Teacher coordinating the course


9. Course learning outcomes

In this course you get an observationally based view on the large-scale behavior of the Earth’s atmosphere and learn how this behavior can be understood theoretically using thermodynamic and hydrodynamic principles. In particular, you gain a detailed understanding of the atmospheric energy and angular momentum budgets and the role of different atmospheric circulation systems in transporting energy and angular momentum. 

10. Course completion methods

The course has weekly lectures and exercises. Attendance is not obligatory but recommended.

To complete the course, you need to get a sufficient total number of points from the exams and exercises.

11. Prerequisites

Thermodynamic and hydrodynamic laws governing the behavior of the atmosphere and their basic applications (e.g. from the BSc level courses FYS2032 Atmospheric thermodynamics and FYS2033 Introduction to Atmospheric flow dynamics). Overview of the heat budget of the surface and the atmosphere (e.g. from FYS2035 Physical Climatology). Derivation and integration. Common vector operations. Fourier series. 

12. Recommended optional studies

Participation to the courses ATM348 and ATM349 (Dynamics of atmospheric flow structures I-II) before this course is recommended.

13. Course content

Observed time mean conditions and variability in the free atmosphere

Temporal filtering of time series

General balance conditions for time mean variables in the atmosphere

Zonal angular momentum budget in the atmosphere

Different forms of energy in atmosphere

Budget of atmospheric dry and moist heat and potential energy

Budget of kinetic energy and available potential energy

Theory of the formation of the zonally averaged time mean flow, including in particular the interaction between the mean flow and eddies and the maintenance of the Ferrel cells.

Stationary waves in the atmosphere and their maintenance mechanisms. Propagation of stationary Rossby waves.

Low-frequency atmospheric variability and its causes, with a focus on the ENSO (including its teleconnections) and NAO phenomena.,

Numerical simulation of climate with coupled atmosphere-ocean climate models, the main feedback mechanisms and the parameterization problem.

14. Recommended and required literature

Lecture notes

Lecture compendium "Ilmakehän yleinen kiertoliike I"

15. Activities and teaching methods in support of learning

Weekly lectures and exercises. Individual work. Total hours 135.

16. Assessment practices and criteria, grading scale

Grading is based on the exam (75%) and exercises (25%). 45% of total maximum points is required for grade 1/5. 85% of total maximum points is required for grade 5/5.


17. Teaching language