OCEAN 590 | Summer B 2019

Estuarine and Coastal Fluid Dynamics 2019

Credits: 9

Instructor(s): Dr. Parker MacCready , Dr. W. Rockwell Geyer


This course is intended for graduate students, typically in their second year of study or beyond, and focused on the Physical Oceanography of estuarine and coastal systems. It consists of:

  • Lectures and readings on the fluid dynamics of estuarine and coastal systems
  • Field experiments in nearby waters, complemented by realistic numerical simulation
  • A final written report and talk on individual research projects

Our primary goal is to train students and build a peer group that will be central to their careers and to the advancement of estuarine and coastal physics. The motivation for creating this course is that estuarine and coastal physics tends to be very spread out, with just a few students and faculty deeply devoted to it at any one institution. This makes it hard to develop the critical mass to offer advanced graduate classes in the subject, and the students do not have the benefit of a peer group in their field. We hear back from many of the students that the FHL experience shaped their careers, and many are promising young faculty now.

There will be a few lectures on basic fluid mechanics at appropriate scales to get all the students on the same page. There are a number of central lectures on the specifics of estuarine and coastal physics. Since they cover specialized, advanced topics these lectures will typically be the students’ first exposure to the fundamental solutions and ideas on which estuarine and coastal physics are built. We also plan to bring in 3-5 distinguished visiting experts, each for a week or so. The lectures are weighted to the first half of the course. The second half is weighted to student projects.

Most student projects will be based on field work, and a few will be based on numerical simulations. We plan to offer ~4 research sites, e.g., Admiralty Inlet, Cattle Pass, the Duwamish River, East Sound – Orcas Island, and Fisherman Bay – Lopez Island. Students will be responsible for an individual research project but will work in teams of 3-5 to plan and conduct the group project of which they are a part. They will write a 10-page paper and give a talk at the end.

Given the growing importance of numerical work in the field, there will be various numerical offerings and lectures; Dr. MacCready has a great deal of experience in realistic modeling in the Salish Sea and will provide the required models and computing resources. We also will have sufficient instrumentation for the proposed field work and plan to make extensive use of the R/V Centennial and other FHL boats. The syllabus will be similar in content to that of the previous courses, for example 2009: http://faculty.washington.edu/pmacc/Classes/FHL_2009/ecfd2009.html.

Instructors for this course are:
• Dr. Parker MacCready, University of Washington
• Dr. W. Rockwell Geyer, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

Enrollment is limited to 15 students. No textbook is required for this course.

Note:  Student transcripts from University of Washington will list “OCEAN 590: Advanced Topics in Oceanography”