The objective of the course of Environmental Hydraulics is the knowledge of atmospheric and marine/oceanic flows at a meso and large scale and with and without stratification. The course aims at developing the skills needed for the development of suitable schemes and mathematical models simulating environmental hydraulics phenomena. In addition, the course aims at improving the knowledge of the numerical and experimental models used to simulate such flows.
The course is part of the master degree course in “Civil Engineering for Natural Hazard Mitigation” which aims at training a civil engineer with high professional qualification in the territory and civil works protection from hydrogeological and seismic risks.
The course aims at defining conceptual models with different complexity levels for the simulations of atmospheric and marine/oceanic flows.
At the end of the course, the students will be able to: understand the complex dynamics of atmospheric and marine/oceanic flows occurring at different spatial scales with and without stratification; select the suitable models for the simulation of the different flows; understand and use the data obtained by laboratory and /or numerical experiments simulating stratified flows.
teacher profile | teaching materials


Vectors and tensors
Vectors, tensors, differential operators, tensor of velocity gradient, tensor of deformation and tensor of rotation.

Governing equations for viscous and turbulent flows
Viscous flows and Navier-Stokes equations, turbulent flows and Reynolds equations.

Governing equations for rotating flows
Rotating framework of reference, Unimportance of the centrifugal force, Acceleration on a three-dimensional rotating planet, Equations of Fluid Motion (Mass budget , Momentum budget, Equation of state, Energy budget, Salt and moisture budgets) Boussinesq approximation, Scales of motion, Important dimensionless numbers, Boundary conditions.

Rotation effects
Geostrophic flows and vorticity dynamics, cyclonic and anticyclonic flows, the bottom Ekman layer and the surface Ekman layer.

Oceanic General Circulation; What drives the oceanic circulation; Large-scale ocean dynamics (Sverdrup dynamics). Western boundary currents. Thermohaline circulation; Abyssal circulation; Introduction to satellite remote sensing applied to the ocean.

Atmosphere and Ocean.
Atmosphere and atmospheric boundary layer, Stratification effects in the atmosphere, atmospheric general circulation, clouds, oceanic general circulation.

Core Documentation

- A. Cenedese, 2006, Meccanica dei fluidi ambientale, Mc Graw-Hill.
- B. Cushman-Roisin, 1994, Introduction to Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Prentice Hall.

Type of delivery of the course

Lectures, numerical and experimental exsercises, seminars

Type of evaluation

Oral examination, with a duration of about an hour, with about two theoretical questions and one question on the exercise.