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

Temporal variability of the South Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation between 20°S and 35°S

The Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) plays a critical role in global and regional heat and freshwater budgets. Recent studies have suggested the possibility of a southern origin of the anomalous MOC and meridional heat transport (MHT) in the Atlantic, through changes in the transport of warm/salty waters from the Indian Ocean into the South Atlantic basin. This possibility clearly manifests the importance of understanding the South Atlantic MOC (SAMOC). Go>>

Recent publications
  • Upper ocean response to Hurricane Gonzalo (2014): Salinity effects revealed by sustained and targeted observations from underwater gliders [pdf]
  • Mixed-lyer salinity baudget in the SPURS (Salinity Processes in the Upper ocean Regional Study) region on seasonal to interannual time scales [pdf]
  • Temporal variability of the Meridional Overturning Circulation in the South Atlantic between 20°S and 35°S [pdf]
  • A reassessment of the integrated impact of tropical cyclones on surface chlorophyll in the western subtropical North Atlantic [pdf]
  • Idealized study of ocean impacts on tropical cyclone intensity forecasts [pdf]

Complete list of publications>>


NOAA Researchers from AOML's Physical Oceanography Division and the Southeast Fisheries Science Center's (SEFSC) Early Life History Lab (ELH) present preliminary work from a collaborative research cruise to an international audience in Havana, Cuba

In November, Ryan Smith (AOML/PhOD), John Lamkin, Trika Gerard, Estrella Malca, Sarah Privoznik, Aras Zygas, Leif Rasmuson, and Kathryn Shulzitski (SEFSC/ELH) presented preliminary results from a collaborative NOAA research cruise at the 10th Congress on Marine Science (MarCuba'2015) held in Havana, Cuba. Full story>>

Physical Oceanography Seminars

February 16, 2016, at 2pm , Dr. Sudip Majumder. Tittle: An Observations and Model Based Analysis of Meridional Transports in the South Atlantic. AOML first floor conference room, https://global.gotomeeting. com/join/393447869

March 1, 2016 at 11AM, Dr. Martin Saraceno. Tittle: Seasonal and Interannual Variability of the Brazil - Malvinas Front: an Altimetry Perspective. AOML first floor conference room,

March 2, 2016 at 2pm, Dr.Raul Guerrero. Tittle: Ocean Observing System in support of fisheries studies in the SW Atlantic Ocean . AOML 2nd floor conference room.

March 3, 2016 at 2pm, Dr. Denis Volkov. Tittle: Maelstrom” of the Nordic Seas. AOML first floor conference room,

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.