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

The pathways of recently ventilated North Atlantic Deep Water (NADW) are part of the lower limb of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). In the South Atlantic these pathways have been the subject of discussion for years, mostly due to the lack of observations. Knowledge of the pathways of the AMOC in the South Atlantic is a first order prerequisite for understanding the fluxes of climatically important properties. 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>>


Longstanding Collaboration with Maersk Line Supports NOAA's Observational Efforts

NOAA-AOML plays a leadership role in the international effort to collect environmental data in the global ocean. As part of this effort, widely known as the Global Ocean Observing System (GOOS), scientists deploy oceanographic instruments such as Argo floats, expendable bathythermographs (XBTs), and surface drifters to collect information about the ocean’s currents, temperature, and salinity. The data obtained are critical for weather forecasts and climate studies. Go>>

Physical Oceanography Seminars

    Dr. Christopher Meinen - Monday, August 31 at 2pm - title -"Downstream evolution of the Gulf Stream from the Straits of Florida to the Southeast Newfoundland Ridge".

    Dr. Sudip Majumder - Tuesday, September 17 at 3pm - title TBA

    Dr. Claudia Schmid - Tuesday, September 22 at 3pm - title TBA

    Dr. Silvia Garzoli - Thursday, Sepetember 24 at 3pm - title TBA

    Dr. Matthieu LeHenaff - Thursday, Sepetember 29 at 3pm - title TBA

    Dr. George Halliwell - Tuesday, October 5 at 3pm - title TBA

    Dr. Chunza Wang - Tuesday, November 10 at 11am - title TBA

    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.