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University of Wisconsin–Madison

Large Scale Dynamics

Continuing a long tradition in our department, half of our department's research projects relate to large-scale dynamical processes of rotating, stably stratified flows in the atmosphere and ocean. The first-year graduate core curriculum provides a foundation for large-scale dynamics research. It includes two courses in basic and intermediate theory, and one course in diagnostic understanding of analyzed weather systems.

At the more advanced level, we regularly provide dynamic courses on the stratosphere, the general circulation of the atmosphere, dynamics of the oceanic circulation, and the dynamics of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system.

Much of our research in large-scale dynamics is done in the context of our work in Climate and Climate Change, Oceanography, and Synoptic Meteorology.

The dynamics research includes geophysical fluid dynamics theory, and it is strongly influenced by "real world" applications which define our department's approach. Hence, modeling and diagnostic analyses of large-scale waves and flows in the troposphere, stratosphere, and ocean are guided by the theory. Some specific examples, starting in the stratosphere and working downward, include

  • stratospheric circulations and stratosphere-troposphere interaction
  • mid-latitude cyclone evolution -short-term predictability of mid-latitude disturbances
  • prediction of extra-tropical and tropical cyclones
  • dynamics of coupled atmosphere-ocean climate systems
  • dynamics of persistent anomalies such as the North Atlantic Oscillation
  • boundary layer dynamics of the atmosphere and ocean
  • dynamics of the general oceanic circulation
  • tropical circulations

Faculty Involved

Larissa BackAnkur DesaiMatt HitchmanJonathan MartinMichael MorganGreg TripoliDaniel J. Vimont