Physical Oceanography

Physics, Second Cycle
1 ali 2 year

Prof. Dr. Vlado Malačič

Hours per week – 1. semester:


Content (Syllabus outline)

Elements of Descriptive Oceanography and kinematics: structure of marine basins, geo-morphological properties, chemical composition of sea water, definition of salinity, equation of state of sea water, conservation of volume and mass of sea water and dissolved matter, Kelvin circulation theorem.

Dynamics: system of equation for geophysical flow, Boussinesq approximation, equation of motion for long and short waves, group speed. Waves at the interface of two liquids and internal waves in a stratified fluid, dynamic stability and Richardson number. Basic geophysical flows, Ekman bottom and surface layer, geostrophic interior and ageostrophic phenomena: inertial currents and wind-driven currents. Kelvinov val, normal modes of motion, homogeneous and stratified fluids, co-oscillation of tides in coastal waters. Conservation of vorticity and quasi-geostrophic motion, circulation of the Adriatic Sea.

Experimental methods in oceanography. Numerical models in oceanography.


Pond S. and G.L. Pickard, 1978. Introductory Dynamic Oceanography. Butterworth-Heineman Ltd., 241 pp., 2nd ed. 1983, reprinted 1995, 329 pp.
Cushman-Roisin, B. and J.M. Beckers, J. M., 2011. Introduction to Geophysical Fluid Dynamics. Academic Press, Physical and Numerical Aspects, 2nd ed., Volume 101, the International Geophysics Series, 824 pp.
Kundu, P. K. and Cohen I.M.2002. Fluid Mechanics, Academic Press, 2nd ed., 730 pp.

Objectives and competences

To obtain basic knowledge on dynamics of water mass on a rotating Earth, which are coupled with the phenomena in the atmosphere. They are a ground-floor for the study of marine, maritime and ecological issues in coastal waters and oceans.

Intended learning outcomes

Knowledge and understanding:

Understanding of processes that affect the motion of water mass in oceans and seas on a rotating Earth.


Students of meteorology will gain support in studying limnology, oceanographic and ecological topics, which are linked to synoptic and climatic processes in meteorology. Reflection:

Through exercises and seminar work students will gain critical view on their own achievements through comparison with known results.

Transferable skills:

Students transfer to the working environment gained experience in making analysis of experimental data, collected by oceanographic vessel(s) and oceanographic buoy. They will be able to apply tables and mathematical expressions, simple partial differential equations, and apply tensor and vector analysis in oceanography and other environmental sciences.

Learning and teaching methods

Lectures, tutorials, seminars from topics on a list of at least 25 items.


Grades: 5 (fail), 6-10 (pass) (in agreement with the Statutes of the Univesity of Ljubljana)
Oral examination, or instead individual seminar work, submitted in a written form and defended in public.
Written examination, or instead passed the preliminary exam with one solved problem from the list of exercises.

Lecturer's references

MALAČIČ, Vlado, ŽAGAR, Nedjeljka, 2019. Seawater icicles in the Adriatic Sea (northern Mediterranean). Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society, ISSN 0003-0007, 2019, vol. , no. , 22 str., [in press], doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-18-0118.1 [COBISS-SI-ID 4973391], [JCR, SNIP].

RAICICH, Fabio, MALAČIČ , Vlado, CELIO, Massimo, GIAIOTTI, D., CAN10NI, Carolina, COLUCCI, Renato R., CERMELJ, Brank:o, PUCILLO, A .Extreme air-sea interactions in the Gulf of Trieste (North Adriatic) during the strong Bora event in winter 2012. Journal of geophysical research, ISSN 0148-0227, 2013, vol. 118, no. 1, str. 5238-5250, doi: 10.1002/jgrc,20398 [COBISS-SI-ID 2934607], [JCR. SNIP, kategorija: lAl (Z, A', Al/2).

RAMŠAK, V., MALAČIČ, V., LIČER, M., KOTNIK, J., HORVAT, M., ŽAGAR, D.. High-resolution pollutant dispersion modelling in contaminated coastal sites. Environ. Res. (N.Y.), avg. 2013, št. 125, str. 103-112, ilustr., doi: 10.1016/j.envres.2012.12.013 [COBISS-SI-ID 6203745. Kategorija: 1A1 (Z1, A').

PETELIN, B., KONONENKO, I., MALAČIČ, V., KUKAR, M.. Multi-level association rules and directed graphs for spatial data analysis. Expert syst. appl.. [Print ed.], 2013, vol. 40, issue 12, str. 4957-4970., doi: 10.1016/j.eswa.2013.03.004 [COBISS-SI-ID 2761807], kategorija: 1A1 (Z1, A'); uvrstitev: SCI, Scopus, MBP; tipologijo je verificiral OSICN točke: 27.03.

MALAČIČ, V., PETELIN, B., VODOPIVEC, M.. Topographic control of wind-driven circulation in the northern Adriatic. J. Geophys. Res., 2012, vol. 117, št. C06032, str. 1-16, doi: 10.1029/2012JC008063 [COBISS-SI-ID 2595663], kategorija: 1A1 (Z1, A'); uvrstitev: SCI, Scopus, MBP; tipologijo je verificiral OSICN točke: 39.81.