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;


AOML XBT Network

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. [link]
  • Accuracy of Florida Current volume transport measurements at 27°N using multiple observational techniques [pdf]
  • Basin-Wide Oceanographic Array Bridges the South Atlantic [pdf]
  • Attribution of Deep Western Boundary Current variability at 26.5°N [link]
  • Oceanographic conditions in the Gulf of Mexico in July 2010, during the Deepwater Horizon oil spill [pdf]
  • Do the North Atlantic winds drive the nonseasonal variability of the Arctic Ocean sea level? [link]
  • A global perspective on CMIP5 climate model biases [link]

Complete list of publications>>


New OceanWatch node at NOAA/AOML

AOML will host one of the two nodes of the NESDIS OceanWatch Program. The overall goal of OceanWatch is to provide integrated data and tools to scientists to better understand the physical, biological, and chemical processes in the oceans. Go>>

Physical Oceanography Seminars
  • Dr. Chunzai Wang: The AMO and AMOC in Climate Models: Variability, Mechanism and Impact - August 5, 3pm
  • Dr. Chris Meinen: title TBA - August 7, 2pm
  • Dr. Gregory Foltz: title TBA - August 26, 2pm
  • Dr. Libby Johns: title TBA - August 28, 3pm
  • Dr. Rick Lumpkin: title TBA - September 4, 2pm
  • Dr. George Halliwell: title TBA - September 16, 2pm
  • Dr. Claudia Schmid: title TBA - October 16, 2pm
  • Dr. Molly Baringer: title TBA - November 6, 2pm

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

  • Research Associate III (CIMAS/UM, position #049639) [apply on-line]
  • Programming - Argo Data Assembly Center

  • 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

  • Post Doctoral Associate (CIMAS/UM, position #049635) [apply on-line]
  • Tropical Atlantic Ocean

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