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

Global Characteristics of Coherent Vortices from Surface Drifter Trajectories

In a recent study by Lumpkin (2016) looping trajectories of surface drifting buoys were extracted from the global drifter dataset and analyzed in order to examine the distribution of submesoscale to mesoscale vortices. Over 15,000 looping trajectory segments were identified worldwide. 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>>


AOML scientists lead and participate in workshop on South Atlantic circulation

Drs. Christopher Meinen and Renellys Perez of AOML's Physical Oceanography Division led a one-day workshop for the international South Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation ("SAMOC") initiative on February 21, 2016 in New Orleans, LA. Full Story>>

Physical Oceanography Seminars
  • Marlos Goes, July 19 at 2:00PM (EST), title TBA.
  • Sang-Ki Lee, August 10 at 10:00AM (EST), title TBA.
  • Claudia Schmid, August 16 at 3:00PM (EST), title TBA.
  • Gregory Foltz, September 8 at 2:00PM (EST), title TBA.
  • George Halliwell, September 13 at 2:00PM (EST), title TBA.
  • Silvia Garzoli, October 4 at 11:00AM (EST), title TBA.
  • Fabian Gomez, October 10 at 10:00AM (EST), title TBA.
  • Nathan Putman, October 13 at 3:00PM (EST), title TBA.
  • Yanyun Liu, October 27 at 3:00PM (EST), title TBA.
  • Matthieu Le Henaff, November 3 at 2:00PM (EST), title TBA.
  • Shenfu Dong, November 11 at 3:00PM (EST), title TBA.
  • Libby Johns, November 17 at 2:00PM (EST), title TBA.

Past Seminars >>

Current Job Opportunities

  • 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.