While Robert H. Stewart, the author of *Introduction to Physical Oceanography*, states that he has minimized the math in his textbook, he does suggest students will need to be familiar with differential equations and introductory college physics first. [For reviews of either subject, check out our lists of free online differential equations textbooks and free online physics textbooks.]

*Introduction to Physical Oceanography* has been used to teach upper-division undergraduates and graduate students studying oceanography, meteorology and ocean engineering. It describes “physical-oceanographic processes, theories, data and measurements.” And, it includes discussions of “heat fluxes, the role of the ocean in climate, the deep circulation, equatorial processes including El Nino, data bases used by oceanographers, the role of satellites and data from space, ship-based measurements, and the importance of vorticity in understanding oceanic flows.”

There have been several revisions made to this text and while the last posted revisions were made in 2008, the file dates would infer that an additional update may have been made as late as November of 2014.

## Table of Contents for *Introduction to Physical Oceanography*

### 1 A Voyage of Discovery

#### 1.1 Physics of the ocean

#### 1.2 Goals

#### 1.3 Organization

#### 1.4 The Big Picture

#### 1.5 Further Reading

### 2 The Historical Setting

#### 2.1 Deﬁnitions

#### 2.2 Eras of Oceanographic Exploration

#### 2.3 Milestones in the Understanding of the Ocean

#### 2.4 Evolution of some Theoretical Ideas

#### 2.5 The Role of Observations in Oceanography

#### 2.6 Important Concepts

### 3 The Physical Setting

#### 3.1 Ocean and Seas

#### 3.2 Dimensions of the ocean

#### 3.3 Sea-Floor Features

#### 3.4 Measuring the Depth of the Ocean

#### 3.5 Sea Floor Charts and Data Sets

#### 3.6 Sound in the Ocean

#### 3.7 Important Concepts

### 4 Atmospheric Inﬂuences

#### 4.1 The Earth in Space

#### 4.2 Atmospheric Wind Systems

#### 4.3 The Planetary Boundary Layer

#### 4.4 Measurement of Wind

#### 4.5 Calculations of Wind

#### 4.6 Wind Stress

#### 4.7 Important Concepts

### 5 The Oceanic Heat Budget

#### 5.1 The Oceanic Heat Budget

#### 5.2 Heat-Budget Terms

#### 5.3 Direct Calculation of Fluxes

#### 5.4 Indirect Calculation of Fluxes: Bulk Formulas

#### 5.5 Global Data Sets for Fluxes

#### 5.6 Geographic Distribution of Terms

#### 5.7 Meridional Heat Transport

#### 5.8 Variations in Solar Constant

#### 5.9 Important Concepts

### 6 Temperature, Salinity, and Density

#### 6.1 Deﬁnition of Salinity

#### 6.2 Deﬁnition of Temperature

#### 6.3 Geographical Distribution

#### 6.4 The Oceanic Mixed Layer and Thermocline

#### 6.5 Density

#### 6.6 Measurement of Temperature

#### 6.7 Measurement of Conductivity or Salinity

#### 6.8 Measurement of Pressure

#### 6.9 Temperature and Salinity With Depth

#### 6.10 Light in the Ocean and Absorption of Light

#### 6.11 Important Concepts

### 7 The Equations of Motion

#### 7.1 Dominant Forces for Ocean Dynamics

#### 7.2 Coordinate System

#### 7.3 Types of Flow in the ocean

#### 7.4 Conservation of Mass and Salt

#### 7.5 The Total Derivative (D/Dt)

#### 7.6 Momentum Equation

#### 7.7 Conservation of Mass: The Continuity Equation

#### 7.8 Solutions to the Equations of Motion

#### 7.9 Important Concepts

### 8 Equations of Motion With Viscosity

#### 8.1 The Inﬂuence of Viscosity

#### 8.2 Turbulence

#### 8.3 Calculation of Reynolds Stress:

#### 8.4 Mixing in the Ocean

#### 8.5 Stability

#### 8.6 Important Concepts

### 9 Response of the Upper Ocean to Winds

#### 9.1 Inertial Motion

#### 9.2 Ekman Layer at the Sea Surface

#### 9.3 Ekman Mass Transport

#### 9.4 Application of Ekman Theory

#### 9.5 Langmuir Circulation

#### 9.6 Important Concepts

### 10 Geostrophic Currents

#### 10.1 Hydrostatic Equilibrium

#### 10.2 Geostrophic Equations

#### 10.3 Surface Geostrophic Currents From Altimetry

#### 10.4 Geostrophic Currents From Hydrography

#### 10.5 An Example Using Hydrographic Data

#### 10.6 Comments on Geostrophic Currents

#### 10.7 Currents From Hydrographic Sections

#### 10.8 Lagrangian Measurements of Currents

#### 10.9 Eulerian Measurements

#### 10.10 Important Concepts

### 11 Wind Driven Ocean Circulation

#### 11.1 Sverdrup’s Theory of the Oceanic Circulation

#### 11.2 Western Boundary Currents

#### 11.3 Munk’s Solution

#### 11.4 Observed Surface Circulation in the Atlantic

#### 11.5 Important Concepts

### 12 Vorticity in the Ocean

#### 12.1 Deﬁnitions of Vorticity

#### 12.2 Conservation of Vorticity

#### 12.3 Inﬂuence of Vorticity

#### 12.4 Vorticity and Ekman Pumping

#### 12.5 Important Concepts

### 13 Deep Circulation in the Ocean

#### 13.1 Deﬁning the Deep Circulation

#### 13.2 Importance of the Deep Circulation

#### 13.3 Theory for the Deep Circulation

#### 13.4 Observations of the Deep Circulation

#### 13.5 Antarctic Circumpolar Current

#### 13.6 Important Concepts

### 14 Equatorial Processes

#### 14.1 Equatorial Processes

#### 14.2 El Ni˜no

#### 14.3 El Ni˜no Teleconnections

#### 14.4 Observing El Ni˜no

#### 14.5 Forecasting El Ni˜no

#### 14.6 Important Concepts

### 15 Numerical Models

#### 15.1 Introduction–Some Words of Caution

#### 15.2 Numerical Models in Oceanography

#### 15.3 Global Ocean Models

#### 15.4 Coastal Models

#### 15.5 Assimilation Models

#### 15.6 Coupled Ocean and Atmosphere Models

#### 15.7 Important Concepts

### 16 Ocean Waves

#### 16.1 Linear Theory of Ocean Surface Waves

#### 16.2 Nonlinear waves

#### 16.3 Waves and the Concept of a Wave Spectrum

#### 16.4 Ocean-Wave Spectra

#### 16.5 Wave Forecasting

#### 16.6 Measurement of Waves

#### 16.7 Important Concepts

### 17 Coastal Processes and Tides

#### 17.1 Shoaling Waves and Coastal Processes

#### 17.2 Tsunamis

#### 17.3 Storm Surges

#### 17.4 Theory of Ocean Tides

#### 17.5 Tidal Prediction

#### 17.6 Important Concepts

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Introduction to Physical Oceanography