Back to: Climate and Weather major Climate and Weather major

Ever wondered what causes tsunamis or what is really happening to our ozone layer?

These and many other questions about the state of the planet will greatly challenge the way we live in the future. The Atmosphere and Ocean Sciences major will provide you with an understanding of how the Earth’s atmosphere, oceans and land surfaces influence changes to our environment. You will learn about climate modelling and prediction, the role of principal wind and ocean current systems, and how these interact with the land surface to influence weather, climate and hence the environment.

Your studies will combine knowledge from a range of disciplines, from field-based studies to more theoretical aspects. You will also gain hands-on experience that will equip you for the workplace, through project work that requires careful time management and the clear communication of results.

Careers

This major will provide you with challenging research or career opportunities in the atmospheric and marine environment. Careers outside of research may include government roles in organisations such as the Bureau of Meteorology, EPA Victoria or the CSIRO. There is also potential for work in the aerospace industry and environmental management.

Subjects you could take in this major

  • This subject gives an overview of the interaction between the ocean and the atmosphere on a wide range of time and space scales. Topics include the planetary boundary layers in the ocean and the atmosphere, momentum and heat exchanges, fundamental causes of ocean circulation, ocean wave theory including wind-waves, Kelvin and Rossby waves, ENSO theory, tidal theory, and the effects of air-sea interaction on the dynamics of tropical cyclones.

  • This subject presents a comprehensive view of the processes that are responsible for the structure, composition and properties of the atmosphere. It will focus on local and regional scales, covering aerosol and cloud processes such as formation, precipitation and lightning. It will address how these atmospheric processes interact with the climate system - discussing major weather systems, land use, air quality and greenhouse gas fluxes. This subject will involve a weekend field trip to the Creswick campus to observe the atmospheric boundary layer state and chemical composition using state of the art monitoring equipment.

  • This subject addresses the fundamental processes that govern atmospheric and oceanic motion, and how these processes interact to control the weather and climate of the Earth. Topics include the fluid dynamics of the atmosphere and ocean, the scaling of the equations of motion, the shallow-water system, vorticity and divergence, buoyancy driven flows, and numerical modelling of atmospheric and oceanic flows.On completion of this subject, students should have an appreciation of the fundamental processes that govern atmospheric and oceanic motion and interactions on a range of time and spatial scales. A qualitative as well as quantitative understanding of the atmosphere is to be gained, with the substantial mathematical analyses covered during the subject. Students will also receive experience in constructing simplified models of the atmosphere and ocean.

  • The main area of study in this subject is the broad examination of what maintains present climate and the manner in which the relevant processes may change into the future.

    The topics to be covered in the subject include the global distributions of mean climatological parameters in present climate and their interconnections. Mechanisms of atmospheric instability, including baroclinicity. Maintenance of the global energy and angular momentum budgets and the roles of eddies. Radiative influences on global climate, especially variations in solar activity, carbon dioxide and methane. Atmospheric carbon dioxide and methane budgets and the Greenhouse Effect. Modelling of climate change and the use of emission scenarios. Interpretation and statistical analysis of future-climate scenarios and the use of ensemble simulations.

Entry requirements & Prerequisites

This major is available through more than one course, both of which have their own separate entry requirements.

You can read more on the the Bachelor of Science & Bachelor of Science Extended pages.