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;


NOAA's Global Drifter Program

PhOD videos>>

Research Highlight

A recent paper published in Nature Climate Change by PhOD researchers, in collaboration with researchers at the Ocean University of China and at the University of California, found a common pattern of global SST biases in 22 climate models. The global SST biases for different regions are commonly linked with a weak AMOC simulated by these models. The paper suggests that an improvement of the simulated AMOC in climate models is needed for better climate predictions and projections. Go>>

Recent publications
  • Mean vertical and horizontal structure of the subtropical circulation in the South Atlantic from three-dimensional observed velocity fields. [link]
  • Accuracy of Florida Current volume transport measurements at 27°N using multiple observational techniques [pdf]
  • Basin-Wide Oceanographic Array Bridges the South Atlantic
  • Attribution of Deep Western Boundary Current variability at 26.5°N [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>>


New SEAS XBT Data Recorder and Iridium modem dual GPS combo tested in the AX10 cruise line

The SEAS XBT Data Recorder component of the AMVERSEAS version 9.2 and the new Iridium modem dual GPS combo were installed and successfully tested on the Horizon Navigator during the August 2014 AX10. A total of 120 XBT's were deployed and transmitted in real-time using the new setup. Meteorological observations and AMVER reports were also transmitted. Go>>

Physical Oceanography Seminars
  • Dr. Rick Lumpkin: Influence of nonstationary mean flow on Lagrangian diffusivity calculations - September 4, 2pm
  • [Livestream]

  • Dr. George Halliwell: OSSE evaluation of Ocean Observation Strategies for Improving Coupled Hurricane Forecasts - September 16, 2pm
  • [Livestream]

  • Dr. Libby Johns: title TBA - September 26, 3pm
  • [Livestream]

  • Janet Sprintall: Climate Variability Observed in the Drake Passage - October 16, 10am
  • [Livestream]

  • Dr. Claudia Schmid: Analysis of the variability of transports in the subtropical South Atlantic as estimated from Argo and altimetry - October 16, 2pm
  • [Livestream]

  • Dr. Chunzai Wang: The AMO and AMOC in Climate Models: Variability, Mechanism and Impact - November 4, at 2pm
  • [Livestream]

  • Dr. Elaine McDonagh (NOC, UK): Fresh Water Fluxes Accross the Rapid Arrey, November 5 at 3pm.
  • Dr. Molly Baringer: title TBA - November 18, 10am
  • [Livestream]

All seminars are held at the AOML first floor conference room, unless otherwise stated.
A list of recent PhOD seminars can be found here.

Current Job Opportunities

  • Assistant Scientist (CIMAS/UM, position #049637) [apply on-line]
  • Numerical Modeling, Ocean Analysis, and Forecasts

  • Research Associate III (CIMAS/UM, position #049639) [apply on-line]
  • Programming - Argo Data Assembly Center

  • Post Doctoral Associate (CIMAS/UM, position #049375) [apply on-line]
  • Climate, and Physical Oceanography

  • Post Doctoral Associate (CIMAS/UM, position #049376) [apply on-line]
  • Ocean Dynamics, Hydrography, and Satellite data

  • Post Doctoral Associate (CIMAS/UM, position #049638) [apply on-line]
  • Ocean Dynamics, Hydrography, and Numerical Models outputs

For questions regarding these CIMAS positions, please contact Gustavo Goni at (305) 361-4339.