Teaching and Learning with the Book

Teaching with the Book

The book is divided into four parts, each roughly corresponding to a one term course. In fact the book grew out of such courses, taught by the author and his colleagues at Princeton. These parts are:

IFundamentals of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics
IIWaves, Instabilities and Turbulence
IIILarge-Scale Atmospheric Circulation
IVLarge-Scale Oceanic Circulation

Note though that each section within the book does not correspond to one lecture or similar; the sections are logical units, not temporal units, and may differ considerably in length.

The last two parts, as well as aspects of Part II, aim to take the reader gently to the frontiers of current thinking, and the instructor may wish to supplement the book with other material such as review articles and papers. Parts III and IV would normally be taught after a course in basic GFD (i.e., after Part I), but do not require much of the material of Part II. At Princeton, a basic GFD course is usually taught in the first semester, and a dynamical oceanography course is generally taught in the semester following, coincident with a second semester of GFD. Some instructors will likely wish to mix and match from among the different parts, and this too should be possible with a little effort: one could envision a dynamical meteorology and atmospheric general circulation course that combined material from Parts I and III.

Learning from the Book

If you are reading the book by yourself the default is just to read the chapters in order, from start to finish. However, some readers will have a background in one topic, but not in another. For example, if you may already know about GFD and want to learn about the atmospheric or oceanic general circulation, then start reading at the beginning of Parts III or IV, referring back as needed. The chapters are, within reason, self-contained and there is some repetition of material to make this possible without undue pain. It is certainly possible to go from Part I to Parts III and IV, referring back to Part II as needed.

Finally, note also that all the figures from the book are available for download as PDF files --- click on 'Extra Material' on the left.