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ECTS : 3
Unit administrator : Sylvain Pichat
Teachers: Achim Wirth and Guillemette Ménot
Class type :18h CM, 12h TD

Course content

The objective of this course is to learn the basics of the dynamic of the oceans. The drivers of the circulation, the impact on the chemistry and the biology as well as the relationships between climate and ocean will be investigated.
More precisely this teaching unit will focus on:
  • Chemical and physical parameters of the oceans and their repartition with depth and spatially
  • Measurements of these parameters: in-situ and remote methods
  • Control by insolation
  • Links between atmospheric and oceanic circulations, Ekman transport, influence of Coriolis force, theory of Sverdrup, Gulf Stream and western border currents
  • Global oceanic circulation: deep water formation, tracers of the deep circulation (T-S, 14C, anthropogenic compounds: CFC, nuclear tests 60's...), Stommel’s model


  • Chemistry of the oceans: impact of circulations on chemical elements, links with biological activity (nutriments, particle fluxes)
  • Variations of oceanic circulations during the Quaternary, impact on climate. Methods to document past variations (δ13C, 231Pa/230Th, εNd)


(Lippold et al., Nature Geo., 2012)


Targeted skills

Fundamentals in oceanography for oceanographers, paleoclimatologists, geophysicists of fluid dynamics, geochemists and biogeochemists



50% Final exam + 50% oral presentation & CC


Supports de cours 2019-2020

Lectures (Sylvain Pichat):


Particle simulation

SST variations in the Arabian Sea (animated gif)

ARGO float: see link in lecture 2

Coriolis movie


Lectures (Guillemette Ménot):

lecture 1 : Introduction marine geochemistry - Sources and sinks (22 Jan. 2020)

lecture 2 : Circulation and nutriments - TD (29 Jan. 2020)

lecture 3 : Biogeochemical cycles and climate (5 Feb. 2020)



Supports de cours années antérieures

Teaching documents 2018-19


Achim Wirth: poly de cours (a paper version will be provided during the lecture)

Guillemette Ménot:

lecture 1 : chemistry of the oceans

  • Selection of articles for presentation
  • Digest from yoour presentations (to come)

lecture 2: repartition and processes

lecture 3: Si biogeochemical cycle

  • TD: Ocean Chemistry and Modes of Nutrient Distribution

lecture 4: Si/C cycles and Glacial-Interglacial changes


Ophélie Lodyga: pdf



Teaching documents 2016-17

Achim Wirth: poly de cours (a paper version will be provided during the lecture)

Guillemette Ménot:

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