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 AOML's Underwater Glider Project

PhOD videos>>

Research Highlight

PIRATA Northeast Extension cruise

Leg 2 of the PIRATA Northeast Extension (PNE) cruise is ongoing, with PhOD personnel Rick Lumpkin, Zach Barton, Shaun Dolk and Erik Valdes. During the most recent week, an ATLAS mooring was recovered at 4N 23W, two moorings were deployed at that site - including a mooring with numerous current meters funded by PhOD (PI Renellys Perez) to study upper ocean velocity shear - and a CTD section was occupied along 23W. The CTD casts are being collected at 1/4 degree spacing between 2N and 2S, and are anticipated to be completed by sunrise on January 26. Go>>

Recent publications
  • Spring persistence, transition, and resurgence of El Niño. [pdf]
  • Amazon River water in the northeastern Caribbean Sea and its effect on larval reef fish assemblages during April 2009. [pdf]
  • On the estimation of Lagrangian diffusivity: Influence of nonstationary mean flow. [pdf]
  • 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 26.5N [pdf]
  • A global perspective on CMIP5 climate model biases [pdf]

Complete list of publications>>


February 2015 Employee and Team Member of the Month

Team Member of the Month (OAR): Ricardo Domingues and his colleagues at NOAA's Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory developed a ship reporting system, designed to protect North Atlantic right whales, a critically endangered species with an estimated population of only 300 to 400. Go>>

Underwater glider deployment

Physical Oceanography Seminars

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 I - (CIMAS/UM, position #060867) [apply on-line]
  • Electrical Engineer - (CIMAS/UM, position #051018) [apply on-line]

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