Introductory Topics in Oceanography



This distance learning course provides ocean forecasters with a solid foundation for more advanced study in oceanography. The three modules that comprise this course provide introductions to tides, currents, and ocean models.

Goals and Objectives

Course Goal

The goal of this course is to introduce forecasters and other learners to the following:

  • Properties of ocean tides, currents, and models.
  • Driving forces of tides and currents and influences that modify them.
  • Structure of ocean models and how it can influence model results.
Course Objectives

The instructional objective for this course is to provide a review of the following core concepts:

  • The origin of ocean currents in both the open ocean and in coastal areas
  • Demonstration of data products
  • Brief overview of forecast considerations
  • Origin, characteristics, and prediction of tides
  • Mechanisms that cause and modify tides
  • Tide prediction techniques and products
  • What goes into numerical ocean models, including model physics, coordinate systems, parameterization, initialization, and boundary conditions


This course consists of three modules in their suggested order of completion.

  • Introduction to Ocean Tides provides an introduction to the origin, characteristics, and prediction of tides.
  • Introduction to Ocean Currents discusses the origin of ocean currents in both the open ocean and in coastal areas.
  • Introduction to Ocean Models discusses how models combine observations and physics to predict the ocean temperature, salinity, and currents.

You may also wish to explore the Wind and Wave Forecasting Course for more on this topic.

Course Outline

Additional Resources

Course Outline