HWM-23806 Geophysical Fluid Mechanics


Studiepunten 6.00

Course coordinator(s)dr. ir. B Vermeulen
Lecturer(s)dr. ir. AJF Hoitink
dr. ir. B Vermeulen
CBM Weijenborg
Examiner(s)dr. ir. AJF Hoitink

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

BIP-10306 Introductory Physics; AEW-23803 Water II; MAT-23306 Multivariate Mathematics Applied.

Continuation courses:

HWM-30306 River Flow and Morphology; HWM-32806 Catchment Hydrology; MAQ-32306 Boundary-layer Processes; MAQ-32806 Atmospheric Dynamics


The course focuses on the processes governing fluid flow of water as well as air and the associated dynamical forces and energy. The three most important conservation laws will be discussed: conservation of mass, conservation of momentum and conservation of energy. The subjects of vorticity and system rotation will be discussed in detail. The basic differences between water (incompressible) and air (semi-incompressible) and their consequences on the fluid flow characteristics will be discussed. The course will provide an elaborate introduction to kinematics, dimensional analysis, laminar flow, boundary layer theory and turbulence. By the end of the course, an overview of modelling approaches is offered.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the derivation of the equations governing fluid dynamics;
- apply theoretical concepts in geophysical fluid mechanics, by using an appropriate mass, momentum or energy balance (including an appropriate selection of the relevant terms in the equations);
- analyse dimensions in a geophysical problem and derive scale relations based on dynamic similarity;
- explain alternative concepts of modelling fluid dynamics;
- identify the most important characteristics of a laminar or turbulent fluid flow with or without system rotation.


The subject Fluid Mechanics consists of two parts:
- a theoretical part consisting of lectures and the solution of problems: attending the lectures; being present at, and participating in the seminars; studying the book; solving problems in relation to fluid mechanics;
- a practical part consisting of practical experiments: doing practical experiments in the Kraijenhoff van de Leur Laboratory for Water and Sediment Dynamics and working-out the measurements.


The mark for the course will be based on written examination of theory and judgment of practical assignments.The final mark for the course will be based on a written examination of the theory (5/6) and an assessment of the practical assignments (1/6). The written exam consists of a "closed book" part (1/3) and an "open book" part (2/3). In case of a resit, the exam will be completely "open book".


A reader and a document with exercises are made available at the WUR Shop. Lecture presentations, a practical guide and answers to the exercises can be downloaded from Brightspace.

Keuze voor: BSWSoil, Water, AtmosphereBSc2AF
MCLClimate StudiesMScA: Spec. A - The Physical Climate System2AF