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. [pdf]
  • Attribution of Deep Western Boundary Current variability at 26.5°N [pdf]
  • Do the North Atlantic winds drive the nonseasonal variability of the Arctic Ocean sea level? [pdf]
  • A global perspective on CMIP5 climate model biases [pdf]
  • On the estimation of Lagrangian diffusivity: Influence of nonstationary mean flow [pdf]
  • Impacts of canonical and Modoki El Ni ~ no on tropical Atlantic SST [pdf]
  • Wind forced forced variability of the Antarctic Circumpolar Current south of Africa between 1993 - 2010. [pdf]
  • Rigorous evaluation of a fraternal twin ocean OSSE system in the open Gulf of Mexico. [pdf]

Complete list of publications>>


AOML scientist participates in joint South Atlantic research cruise

Mr. Rigoberto Garcia, a CIMAS/UM employee working with AOML's Physical Oceanography Division, joined with partners from Argentina and Brazil on a recent cruise to study the Meridional Overturning Circulation (MOC) at 34.5 ° S in the South Atlantic during October 4-16, 2014. This cruise, onboard the Argentine research vessel ARA Puerto Deseado, was the ninth joint cruise in support of the NOAA-funded Southwest Atlantic MOC (“SAM”) project since the beginning of the project in March 2009. Participants in the cruise included researchers from the Universidade de Buenos Aires (UBA), the Servicio de Hidrografía Naval (SHN), the Instituto Nacional de Investigación y Desarrollo Pesquero (INIDEP), the Universidade Federal do Rio Grande (FURG), and the Universidade de Sao Paulo (USP), as well as NOAA-AOML. . Go>>

Physical Oceanography Seminars
  • Dr. Claudia Schmid: Analysis of the variability of transports in the subtropical South Atlantic as estimated from Argo and altimetry - October 28, at 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]

  • Dr. Sang-ki Lee: What caused the abrupt increase in Indian Ocean heat content during the first decade of the 21st century? November 20, 2014 at 10am.
  • Dr. Hosmay Lopez : title TBA, January 8, 2015 at 2pm.
  • Dr. Shenfu Dong; title TBA, January 13, at 2pm.
  • Dr. Renellys Perez: TBA, January 15, 2015 at 2pm.
  • Dr. Hailong Liu: title TBA, January 20, 2015 at 2pm.
  • Dr. Denis Volkov: Internal and external forcing of sea level variability in the Black Sea, January 22, 2015 at 2pm.
  • Dr. Silvia Garzoli: title TBA, January 27, 2015 at 2pm
  • Dr. Yanyun Liu: title TBA, January 29, 2015 at 2pm.
  • Dr. David Enfield: title TBA, February 3, 2015 at 10am.

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

  • 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.