National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory

Physical Oceanography Division

Who we are

The Physical Oceanography Division (PhOD) is a part of the Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory (AOML) together with the Ocean Chemistry and Hurricane Research Divisions. The Physical Oceanography Division carries out interdisciplinary scientific investigations of the physics of ocean currents and water properties, and on the role of the ocean in climate, extreme weather events, and ecosystems. The tools used to carry out these studies range from sensors on deep ocean moorings to satellite-based instruments to measurements made on research and commercial shipping vessels and autonomous vehicles, and include data analysis and numerical modeling as well as theoretical approaches.

Major areas of research
  • Meso-to-large scale dynamics and variability of ocean currents;
  • The redistribution of heat, salt and momentum through the oceans;
  • The interactions between oceans, atmosphere, and coastal environments;
  • The influence of climate variability on the ocean ecosystems, hurricanes and tornadoes;


AOML XBT Network

PhOD videos>>

Research Highlight

Results from collaborative research conducted by AOML and NOAA's Southeast Fisheries Science Center (SEFSC) in response to the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill, were recently published in Continental Shelf Research (December, 2013). PhOD oceanographers R. Smith, E. Johns, G. Goni, J. Trinanes, and R. Lumpkin, in collaboration with other researchers at AOML (M. Wood, C. Kelble, and S. Cummings) and SEFSC (J. Lamkin and S. Privoznik) report on the surface and subsurface connectivity across the eastern Gulf of Mexico (GOM) during July 2010. Go>>

Recent publications
  • Impact of canonical and Modoki El Nino on tropical Atlantic SST. [link]
  • Wind forced variability of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current south of Africa between 1993 - 2010 [link]
  • Oceanographic conditions in the Gulf of Mexico in July 2010, during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill [pdf]
  • Do the North Atlantic winds drive the nonseasonal variability of the Arctic Ocean sea level? [link]
  • A global perspective on CMIP5 climate model biases [link]

Complete list of publications>>


Silvia Garzoli receives the NOAA Distinguished Career Award

Dr. Silvia Garzoli is an internationally respected member of the physical oceanographic community whose research brings credit to NOAA and AOML. She continues to be an outstanding member of the NOAA science team and for her past federal service has been awarded the NOAA FY13 Distinguished Career Award. Go>>

Physical Oceanography Seminars
  • No seminars scheduled at this moment

A list of recent PhOD seminars can be found here.

Current Job Opportunities
  • No job openings at this moment