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.

Read here about ways in which divisional work and projects benefit society [pdf]

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 ARGO Float Program at AOML

PhOD videos>>

Research Highlight

Underwater gliders observations reveal the importance of salinity effects during passage of Hurricane Gonzalo (2014)

Hurricanes are known to drive the cooling of surface waters as they travel over the ocean, leaving a cooling swath where they pass. The sea surface cooling is mostly caused by mixing forced by the strong winds of the hurricane, which occurs as the mixture of warm surface waters with colder waters that can be as deep as 100 m below the surface. Go>>

Recent publications
  • The fate of the Deep Western Boundary Current in the South Atlantic. [pdf]
  • A reassessment of the integrated impact of tropical cyclones on surface chlorophyll in the western subtropical North Atlantic. [pdf]
  • Variability of the Deepwater Horizon surface oil spill extent and its relationship to varying ocean currents and extreme weather conditions. [pdf]
  • Transport of surface freshwater from the equatorial to the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean. [pdf]
  • Mixed-lyer salinity budget in the SPURS (Salinity Processes in the Upper ocean Regional Study) region on seasonal to interannual time scales. [pdf]

Complete list of publications>>


Exciting early success from ABIISS deep ocean test

One of the major challenges facing the oceanographic community is the difficulty in maintaining long-term ocean measurement systems in an era of reduced research vessel availability. Full story>>

Physical Oceanography Seminars

    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

  • Research Associate II - (CIMAS/UM, position #P100004414) [apply on-line]
  • Postdoctoral Associate - (CIMAS/UM, position #P100004476) [apply on-line]
  • Postdoctoral Associate - (CIMAS/UM, position #P100004415) [apply on-line]
  • NRC Research Associateship Programs: Inter-Ocean Exchanges [more information]
  • NRC Research Associateship Programs: Tropical Atlantic [more information]
  • Postdoctoral Associate - Please let us know if are you interested in joining our team as a Postdoctoral Associate working on a field of research closely related to our divisional objectives. You may contact Gustavo Goni for additional details.

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