Atmosphere and Ocean

valid from WS2019/20

ECTS: 5 | credit hours: 4


Dr. Christoph Kiemle

Dr. Marcello Passaro


Fundamentals in mathematics, experimental physics; mathematical physics, linear algebra, time series analysis
Introduction to Earth System Science (BGU45037)
Numerical Modeling (BGU57018)
Signal Processing and Microwave Remote Sensing (BGU31006)
Applied Earth Observation (BGU45040)


After the successful conclusion of the module, the students are able

  • to apply these principles and methods for practical problems,
  • to apply the most basic principles of physical oceanography and recognize satellite altimetry as an operational remote sensing technique with important applications in geodesy, oceanography and other geosciences,
  • to understand the concept of satellite altimeter missions,
  • to apply altimetric observation techniques and the necessary measurement correction,
  • to know about data and product availability and data access,
  • to understand important analysis methods in satellite altimetry, and
  • to apply them to practical problems,
  • to understand the geophysical application of satellite altimetry and,
  • to develop overarching concepts for monitoring several components of the Earth system.


The module consists of two lectures "Atmospheric Physics and Remote Sensing" and "Oceanography and Satellite Altimetry" that are addressing aspects of the important and tighly coupled Earth system components atmosphere and ocean in a complemenary and integrative manner:

Atmospheric Physics and Remote Sensing:
Introduction to atmospheric physics with an emphasis on remote sensing of atmospheric components and processes from space:

  • atmospheric layers, circulation and Greenhouse Effect
  • atmospheric composition
  • Water Vapor and Carbon Dioxide
  • aerosols, clouds, and Earth's radiation budget
  • atmospheric dynamics
  • passive Remote Sensing
  • Lidar Remote Sensing of aerosols
  • wind and water vapor Lidars
  • meteorology and weather forecasts
  • global climate change
  • new observational needs

Oceanography and Satellite Altimetry:

  • Equation of motion,
  • geostrophic currents,
  • hydrostatic balance,
  • temperature, salinity, and density,
  • ocean tides, tidal analysis,
  • radar altiemtry: signal theory and estimation process
  • radar altimetry: atmosperhic and geophysical corrections to estimate sea level
  • altimeter mission overview,
  • description of altimetry data products
  • repeat pass and crossover analysis,
  • mean sea surface, geoid, dynamic ocean topography, sea level variability, sea level rise


  • U. Schumann, Atmospheric Physics, Research Topics in Aerospace, Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg, 2012
  • F.W. Taylor, Elementary Climate Physics, Oxford University Press, 2005.
    Further reading:
  • J.M. Wallace and P.V. Hobbs, Atmospheric Science: An Introductory Survey, Academic Press, 2nd edition, 2006.
  • W. Roedel, Physik unserer Umwelt: Die Atmosphaere, Springer, 3. Auflage, 2000.
  • L. Bergmann und C. Schaefer, Lehrbuch der Experimentalphysik Band 7: Erde und Planeten, de Gruyter, 2. Auflage, 2001.
  • Stewart, R.: Introduction to Physical Oceanography (OpenSource Book)
  • Fu, L.L. and A. Cazenave (Eds.) Satellite Altimetry. International Geophysics Series, Vol. 69, San Diego, CA, 2000