Physical Oceanography

Physical oceanography is the exploration and study of the physics and geography of the ocean currents and water properties. It has important applications in global climate, oceanic mixing, and coastal studies, as well as being a key element in interdisciplinary studies of primary production, hydrothermal vents, and oceanic flux and storage of carbon dioxide.

Areas of particular interest in PAOC include:

  • the dynamics of ocean currents (on centimeter to global scale)
  • ocean current variability (on the timescale of seconds to millennia)
  • the distribution of heat and salt and their transport through the ocean system
  • atmosphere-ocean exchange of momentum, heat and freshwater
  • many kinds of wave phenomena
  • interactions between oceans and rivers, estuaries, ice and marginal seas

PAOC's Physical oceanography researchers benefit from links with WHOI.


John Marshall's Group

John Marshall's group studies the general circulation of the ocean and its role in the global climate.

Paola Rizzoli's Group

Paola Rizzoli's Group is currently working on modelling tropical ocean behaviour and data assimilation in the Singapore Strait, as well as regional climate simulations connecting the regional model of the Maritime Continent to the Integrated Global S...

Patrick Heimbach's Group

The overarching theme of our research rests on the recognition that many elements of the present climate remain poorly sampled by observations, preventing a quantitative mechanistic understanding of climate variability and change over the past decade...

Raffaele Ferrari's Group

Professor Ferrari's Group is interested in the dynamics of the ocean, its interactions with present and past climates, and its coupling to biogeochemistry.



The GFD lab houses multiple rotating tables. In it we probe atmospheric, oceanic and climate phenomena, comparing theoretical and model behaviors with reality.