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Oceanography Courses


OC0001 Meteorology and Oceanography Colloquium (0-1) Every Quarter

(No credit.) Departmental lecture series covering topics of current interest by NPS and outside guest speakers. Graded pass/fail. Prerequisites: none.

OC0810 Thesis Research (0-8) Every Quarter

Every student conducting research in oceanography will enroll in this course.

OC0999 Thesis Seminars (No Credit) (2-0) Every Quarter

Students in the various oceanography curricula present their thesis research. Prerequisites: Preparation of a thesis.

OC2020 Computer Computations in Air-Ocean Sciences (2-2) Summer

Introduction to the programming languages, operating systems, and computing facilities which METOC students use in MR and OC courses. Laboratory assignments are elementary problems in oceanography and meteorology. Prerequisites: Calculus and college physics.

OC2902 Fundamentals of Geospatial Information and Services (3-0) As Required

This course will give the student an appreciation for the important facts about precision location today, from the true physical shape of the earth to the fusion of geographically labeled data in modern electronic databases. Today's military officer needs to know the fundamentals of precision location systems to operate in the battlespace of the twenty-first century. We have come from precise position being 60 nautical miles in the 1700s to a few meters in the 2000s. We have gone from dead reckoning on paper charts to GPS positions fed to fully automated navigation and weapons systems. The entire process of producing modern geospatially tagged items will be reviewed. This will include the scientific background of the processes and the advantages and limitations of the steps.  Prerequisites: Students will need to have a basic understanding of algebra, geometry and trigonometry. A basic course in physics or equivalent that covers vector, conservation of energy and forces is needed. The student needs to be familiar with basic computer skills including the storage of data in arrays (spreadsheets work is sufficient for example).

OC2930 Oceanography for Undersea Warfare (3-0) Summer

An introduction to ocean processes and phenomena with applications to Undersea Warfare. Prerequisites: None.

OC3030 Oceanographic Computing and Data Display (2-2) As Required

Course emphasizes the use of the computer as a tool in oceanography problem-solving. Use of various software packages for graphics, scientific visualization, statistics and numerical computation. Prerequisites: OC/MR2020, OC3240 or MR/OC3522, or the consent of instructor. Graded: Pass/Fail.

OC3120 Biogeochemical Processes in the Ocean (4-3) As Required

Basic biological, geological, and chemical processes in the ocean. Bioacoustics, deep scattering layers, and bio-deterioration. Geomorphic features of the ocean floor; kinds and distribution of ocean bottom features. Chemical composition of the ocean. Prerequisites: None.

OC3140 Probability and Statistics for Air-Ocean Science (3-2) Summer

Basic probability and statistics, in the air-ocean science context. Techniques of statistical data analysis. Structure of a probability model, density distribution function, expectation, and variance. Binomial, Poisson and Gaussian distributions. Conditional probability and independence. Joint distributions, covariance and central limit theorem. Transformations of random variables. Histograms and empirical distributions and associated characteristics such as moments and percentiles. Standard tests of hypotheses and confidence intervals for both one-and two-parameter situations. Regression analysis as related to least squares estimation. Prerequisites: Calculus.

OC3150 Analysis of Air Ocean Time Series (3-2) Spring/Fall

Analysis methods for atmospheric and oceanic time series. Fourier transforms applied to linear systems and discrete data. Correlation functions, power density spectra and cross-spectrum. Optimal design of air-ocean data network. Laboratory work involves analysis of actual atmospheric and ocean time series using principles developed in class. Prerequisites: A probability and statistics course.

OC3210 Polar Oceanography (3-0) Summer

Covers the ice characteristics and physical oceanography of polar seas. Sea ice: types, physical and mechanical properties, heat flux, temporal and spatial distribution, melting and freezing processes, forecasting models, and remote sensing of ice/snow covered surfaces. Physical oceanography of currents and water masses, deep and bottom water formation, fronts and eddies, polynya processes, and underwater acoustics. Discuss naval and research operations in polar warfare. Prerequisites: OC3240.

OC3212 Polar Meteorology/Oceanography (4-0) Winter

Operational aspects of Arctic and Antarctic meteorology, including polar lows, boundary layer and marginal ice zone influences. Polar oceanography. Sea ice amount, seasonal distribution, melting and freezing processes, physical and mechanical properties, drift and predictions. Physical oceanography of currents and water masses, deep and bottom water formation, fronts and eddies, polynya processes. Prerequisites: MR3222 and OC3240 or consent of instructor.

OC3230 Descriptive Physical Oceanography (3-1) Spring/Fall

Physical properties of seawater. Processes influencing the distribution of heat, salt and density in the ocean. Static stability in the ocean. Circulation and water masses in the ocean. Laboratory work involves collection and analysis of actual data using principles developed in class.

OC3231 Descriptive Regional Oceanography (4-0) As Required

Overview of basic concepts. Water masses and regional circulation including littoral regions and marginal seas. Recent developments dealing with ocean circulation, sea level, climate, El Nino, ocean resources and pollution, and modern observational techniques. Prerequisites: OC3230 or the equivalent.

OC3240 Ocean Circulation Analysis (4-2) Winter/Summer

Application of dynamic concepts of ocean circulation, including conservation of mass, momentum and energy. Oceanic currents without friction: inertial and geostrophic flows. Frictional currents: Reynolds equations, Ekman and wind-driven flows. Vorticity balance: Sverdrup transport, potential vorticity, topographic steering, western intensification and Rossby waves. Thermohaline effects and thermocline theory. Prerequisites: OC3230 and OC3321 or the equivalent.

OC3260 Fundamentals of Ocean Acoustics (4-1) Spring/Fall

The fundamentals of ocean acoustics, including the acoustic wave equation, ray theory, acoustic arrays and filters, ambient noise, scattering, absorption, an introduction to normal mode theory, and sonar equations. Laboratory emphasizes acoustic signal processing techniques. Prerequisites: OC3230, partial differential equations or equivalent.

OC3300 Ocean Policy (3-1) As Required

Students will study ocean policy issues as they relate to the use and restriction of use of waters, both international and national, by the U.S. Navy and joint forces. The course will include an introduction to the institutions and players involved in the policy formulation; the policy making process; implementation, enforcement, and compliance; and consequences and effectiveness. Several questions relevant to Navy operations will be addressed: What are the consequences of the current policy structure (protected areas, impeded exercises, etc.)? How do we operate under these policies? What alternatives exist? How do we influence the policies? Students will become familiar with current issues for the Navy Environmental Readiness staff (OPNAV N45), current policy issues for the Oceanographer of the Navy staff (OPNAV N84), with current Navy guidance on environmental programs and protections, and with the reports and recommendations of the several national-level commissions on the ocean. Prerequisites: None.

OC3321 Air-Ocean Fluid Dynamics (4-0) Fall

A foundation course for studies of atmospheric and oceanographic motions. The governing dynamical equations for rotating stratified fluid are derived from fundamental physical laws. Topics include the continuum hypothesis, real and apparent forces, derivations and applications of the governing equations, coordinate systems, scale analysis, simple balanced flows, boundary conditions, thermal wind, barotropic and baroclinic conditions, circulation, vorticity, and divergence. Prerequisites: Multi-variable calculus, vectors, and ordinary differential equations (may be taken concurrently).

OC3325 Marine Geophysics (3-0) As Required

Theory and methods of marine geophysics surveys, and emphasis on gravity, magnetism, seismic and acoustic wave propagation; geophysical anomalies associated with major sea floor features; marine geodesy. Prerequisites: OC3120 (may be taken concurrently).

OC3445 Oceanic and Atmospheric Observational Systems (2-2) As Required

Principles of measurement; sensors, data acquisition systems, calibration, etc. Methods of measurement for thermodynamic and dynamic variables in the ocean and atmosphere, including acoustics and optics. Prerequisites: OC3230 and MR3420, MR/OC3150or consent of instructor.

OC3520 Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere and Ocean (4-0) As Required

Principles of radiative transfer and satellite sensors and systems; visual, infrared and microwave radiometry, and radar systems; application of satellite remotely-sensed data in the measurement of atmospheric and oceanic variability. Prerequisites: Undergraduate physics and differential/integral calculus; ordinary differential equations and MR3480 or consent of instructor.

OC3522 Remote Sensing of the Atmosphere and Ocean/Laboratory (4-2) As Required

Same as OC3520 plus laboratory sessions on the concepts considered in the lecture series. Prerequisites: Same as OC3520.

OC3570 Operational Oceanography and Meteorology (2-4) As Required

Experience at sea acquiring and analyzing oceanographic and atmospheric data using state-of-the-art instrumentation. Integration of satellite remote sensing and other operational products with in-situ data. Includes survey of instrumentation, pre-cruise planning, operations at sea, and post-cruise analysis. Prerequisites: OC3240, MR3220, or consent of instructor.

OC3571 Instruments and Observations (2-0) As Required

Introduction to the core oceanographic and atmospheric instruments used in support of environmental monitoring and modeling. Principles of instrument design and sampling protocols will be covered. Emphasis will be placed on the capabilities and limitation of autonomous platforms, on aircraft- and shore-based remote sensing, and on the major systems in place to organize and distribute environmental data. A brief introduction to data assimilation will be included to illustrate the critical link between observations and oceanic and atmospheric circulation models. Prerequisite: OC3230 or consent of instructor.

OC3572 Operational Oceanography and Meteorology Lab (0-4) As Required

This course is intended to insure a flexible hands-on experience deploying equipment in a realistic environment. Students will be required to design their individual field programs working with the instructor and the curriculum's program officer. Approved programs include: 1) design and implementation of coastal ocean or atmosphere sampling protocols using unmanned vehicles, 2) design and implementation of monitoring plans for the surf zone or estuarine environments (in this case OC4210 may be taken as an alternative), 3) design and implementation of sampling protocols for the atmosphere using fixed-location or aircraft-based sensors, 4) design of and participation in upper-ocean or lower-atmosphere sampling protocols at polar ice camps, and 5) design of and participation in deep-water surveys onboard ocean-going research vessels using NPS vessel time or faculty-mentored cruises of opportunity. Prerequisite: OC3571 (may be taken concurrently) or consent of instructor.

OC3750 Naval Astronomy and Precise Time (2-0) As Required

Positional astronomy. Coordinate systems. Solar system dynamics. Astrometry (measurements of positions and motion of stars). Time, earth rotation and atomic clocks. Naval applications of astronomy. Overview of astrophysics and cosmology. Prerequisites: College physics and calculus.

OC3902 Fundamentals of Mapping, Charting and Geodesy (3-2) As Required

Basics of map/chart generation and scientific basis for their accuracy and precision. Ellipsoids, latitudes, longitudes, datums, datum transformations, map projections, geoid and heights. Map/chart generation process including satellite surveying. Use of map/charts with modern navigation systems, including GPS. Digital map characteristics. Prerequisites: Vector analysis, probability and statistics or consent of instructor.

OC4210 Littoral Field Studies (2-4) Spring/Fall

Employs the scientific method for studying nearshore and wave processes using field observations in littoral battlespace environments. Monterey Bay, CA will be used as a natural laboratory for studying a plethora of littoral related topics. Students will design a small nearshore field experiment or set of experiments, deploy state-of-the-art instrumentation, and analyze data to test relevant nearshore hypotheses. Students will write a mini-proposal with budget focused on their scientific hypothesis, experiment, and analysis, and write a scientific final report. Introductions and limitations of instrumentation will be discussed and integrated into the field design, which will include deployment schemes and subsequent analyses. Data quality control and analysis techniques will be described and implemented. In particular, tidal harmonic analysis will be introduced and performed. The course is divided into 1) in-class discussions (instrumentation, deployment schemes, and data analysis techniques), and 2) field exercises that require student participation in performing the proposed small experiments. There is a high probability that students will get wet, but it is not a requirement. Prerequisites: OC3140OC3150; Matlab familiarity; or consent of instructor.

OC4211 Ocean Waves (4-0) Spring/Fall

Linear theory of surface, internal, inertial-internal and Rossby waves, barotropic and baroclinic instabilities. Coastal and equatorial trapped waves. Prerequisites: Partial differential equations and OC3240.

OC4212 Tides (4-0) As Required

Development of the theory of tides including the tide-producing forces, equilibrium tides, and the dynamic theory of tides; harmonic analysis and prediction of tides; tidal datum planes and their relationship with geodetic datum planes, short-term and secular changes in sea level. Prerequisites: OC4211.

OC4213 Nearshore and Wave Processes (3-1) Winter

Shoal-water wave processes, breakers and surf; nearshore water circulation; beach characteristics; littoral drift; coastal hydraulics; storm surge. Prerequisites: OC4211 or consent of instructor.

OC4220 Coastal Circulation (4-1) Spring

Coastal ocean physical processes. Dynamics and models of coastal ocean circulations driven by wind, thermohaline, tidal, boundary currents, and ocean eddy forces. Recent papers on coastal ocean circulation. Laboratory sessions on computing properties of tides, coastal trapped waves and wind-driven motions over the shelf and slope. Prerequisites: OC4211 (may be taken concurrently).

OC4262 Theories & Models in Underwater Acoustics (3-0) As Required

Development of the underlying theories and algorithms of ray, normal mode, and parabolic equation acoustic models for both range independent and dependent environments. Examination of the strengths and weaknesses of and similarities between the various models. Prerequisites: OC3260 and partial differential equations or equivalent.

OC4267 Ocean Acoustic Variability and Uncertainty (4-0) Fall

Examines sound speed profiles (time and space variability), ambient noise, absorption, and reflection and scattering from the sea surface and bottom as they affect sound propagation in the ocean. Synoptic prediction techniques for ambient noise and transmission loss are reviewed. Environmental data input and computational approximations for acoustic models are evaluated against observed signal fluctuations and transmission loss. The course is designed for the Air-Ocean Science, Operational Oceanography, and USW Curricula. Prerequisites: OC3230 and OC3260 or equivalent.

OC4270 Tactical Oceanography (3-4) Winter/Summer

Course emphasizes the tactical use of the environment and battlespace characterization as a force multiplier in naval operations including acoustic undersea warfare, special operations, amphibious warfare, and mine warfare. Using tailored lectures, students will examine oceanographic conditions and the ability for naval forces to exploit them in nearshore, coastal and deep ocean settings. Current acoustic prediction models, remote sensing, tactical decision aids and Geographic Information Systems (GIS) will be utilized by students as they explore a broad spectrum of environmental conditions and methods for exploitation by naval forces. Students will also utilize the R/V PT SUR to perform experiments and analyze data relating to acoustic propagation and the ocean. Prerequisites: For Meteorology and Oceanography students: OC3260, OC4267 (concurrent), or consent of instructor. For USW students: OC3260 and EC4450 (concurrent), or consent of instructor. Classification: SECRET Clearance and U.S. Citizenship is required. Lecture series is UNCLASSIFIED.

OC4271 Topics in Tactical Oceanography (3-0) Winter/Summer

Course emphasizes the tactical use of the environment and battlespace characterization as a force multiplier in naval operations, including acoustic undersea warfare, special operations, amphibious warfare, and mine warfare. Using tailored lectures, students will examine oceanographic conditions and the ability for naval forces to exploit them in nearshore, coastal and deep ocean settings. Prerequisites: For International Meteorology and Oceanography students: OC3260, OC4267 (concurrent), or consent of instructor. For International USW students: OC3260 and EC4450 (concurrent), or consent of instructor.

OC4323 Air and Ocean Numerical Prediction Systems (4-2) Spring

Numerical models of atmospheric and oceanic phenomena. Major components and sourcers of error for operational primitive equation prediction systems. Data assimilation concepts, techniques, and limitations. Finite difference, spectral, and finite element methods, computational instability, and approximation error. Horizontal grid variants, vertical coordinate systems, and factors affecting resolution. Overview of subgridscale processes and boundary conditions: physical parameterizations of moisture and convection; land surface models; air-ocean coupling; ocean surface forcing; topography and bathymetry; hydrostatic and nonhydrostatic ocean models. Verification methods and model output. Introduction to uncertainty, chaos, and ensembles. Prerequisites: MR4322, OC4211, partial differential equation, MA3232 desirable.

OC4324 Advanced Numerical Ocean Modeling (3-0) As Required

Advanced techniques for simulating and predicting ocean circulation, including recent modeling results. Topics to include multi-layer guasi-geotrophic models, multi-level primitive equation models, treatment of irregular geometry and open boundary conditions, satellite data assimilation and computer technology considerations. Prerequisites: MR/OC4323.

OC4325 METOC for Warfighter Decision Making (3-2) Spring

This course introduces decision science in the context of utilizing deterministic vs. stochastic meteorological and oceanographic forecasts to improve strategic, operational, and tactical planning. Various aspects of generating, communicating, and applying stochastic forecasts for optimal decision making under uncertainty are explored. Prerequisites: MR/OC3140 or similar course on statistics. MR/OC4323 and MR4324 are recommended but not required.

OC4331 Ocean Variability (4-0) As Required

Contemporary knowledge of ocean mesoscale eddies, fronts, meandering currents; baroclinic and barotropic instabilities; kinematics, dynamics and energetics for observations, theories and models. Prerequisites: OC4211 or equivalent.

OC4335 Naval Ocean Analysis and Prediction (3-2)As Required

Advanced knowledge of the U.S. Navy ocean analysis and prediction systems, including the Naval Ocean Modeling Program (NOMP), naval ocean data systems, atmospheric forcing systems, data assimilation systems, Optimal Thermal Interpolation System (OTIS), Thermal Ocean Prediction Systems (TOPS), the global ocean circulation prediction system, Shallow Water Analysis and Forecast System (SWAFS), Polar Ice Prediction System (PIPS), and global wave prediction system (WAM). Prerequisites: OC4211 andMR/OC4323 (may be taken concurrently).

OC4413 Air/Sea Interaction (4-0) Summer

Fundamental concepts in turbulence. The atmospheric planetary boundary layer, including surface layer, and bulk formulae for estimating air-sea fluxes. The oceanic planetary boundary layer including the dynamics of the well-mixed surface layer. Recent papers on large-scale air-sea interaction. Prerequisites: MR/OC3150, and OC3240 or MR3240 or consent of instructor.

OC4414 Advanced Air/Sea Interaction (3-0) As Required

Advanced topics in the dynamics of the atmospheric and oceanic planetary boundary layers. Prerequisites: MR/OC4413 or consent of instructor.

OC4415 Ocean Turbulence (3-0) As Required

Advanced topics in the dynamics of ocean turbulence, wakes and microstructure. Prerequisites: MR/OC4413 or consent of instructor.

OC4490 Ocean Acoustic Tomography (Same as EC4490) (3-0) As Required

An introduction to Ocean Tomography, an underwater acoustic inverse technique for mapping ocean sound speed and current fields. Covers the major aspects of Ocean Acoustic Tomography, including the underlying concepts, the design and transmission of tomographic signals, and linear inverse methods for the reconstruction of ocean fields. Prerequisites: OC3260 or EC3450 orPH4453 or equivalent; linear algebra, partial differential equations or equivalent.

OC4520 Topics in Satellite Remote Sensing (3-0) As Required

Selected topics in the advanced application of satellite remote sensing to the measurement of atmospheric and oceanic variables. Prerequisites: MR/OC3522.

OC4610 Wave and Surf Forecasting (2-2) As Required

Theory and prediction of wind-generated ocean waves. Spectral transformation of waves from deep to shallow water. Prediction of surf and wave related influences on operations. Prerequisites: OC3150, OC4211.

OC4800 Advanced Courses in Oceanography (Variable hours 1-0 to 4-0) As Required

Advanced courses in various aspects of oceanography. Typically these are advanced topics not covered in regularly offered courses. The course may be repeated for credit as topics change. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor and the Department Chairman.

OC4900 Directed Study in Oceanography (V-0) Every Quarter

Independent study of advanced topics in oceanography. Prerequisites: Consent of instructor and the Department Chairman. Graded on Pass/Fail basis only.

OC5805 Dissertation Proposal Preparation (0-8) As Required

Dissertation preparation for doctoral students. Available in the quarter following completion of coursework and then continuously each quarter until advancement to candidacy is approved by the Academic Council.

OC5810 Dissertation Research (0-8) Every Quarter

Dissertation research for doctoral studies. Required in the quarter following advancement to candidacy and then continuously each quarter until dissertation is approved by the Academic Council.