Physical Oceanography is one of the three main divisions within the FSU Department of Oceanography, and is focused on the interaction between oceans and atmosphere and how that interaction influences and shapes our world.
Professors guide students in their study of wave motions, tides, currents, salinity and temperature of the oceans and how those properties influence weather and climate. Other avenues of study involve the transmission of light and sound through water and the ocean’s interactions with its boundaries at the seafloor and the coast.
Physical oceanography requires a basic understanding of geophysical fluid dynamics (the study of fluid motion on a rotating sphere), classical physics, and applied mathematics.
- the role of the ocean in climate variability from the complementary perspectives of coupled ocean-atmosphere modeling and observations
- emphasis on the study of thermohaline circulation, western boundary currents, associated eddies and their impact on the world ocean circulation
- where does red tide in the Northern Gulf of Mexico originate
- understanding and predicting El Nino and the Southern Oscillation
- decadal and longer climate change
- coastal fisheries and coastal ocean climate variability
- understanding the dynamics of the ocean at scales from 100 km to 10,000 km, or equivalently from the deformation scale to the basin scale
- dynamics of eddies
- Gulf Stream rings and coherent structures
- western boundary currents
- forced and free mesoscale systems; mesoscale phenomena: nonlinear sciences
- mixed-layer dynamics
- ocean circulation