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Physical Oceanography


College or University: University of Rhode Island

Type of degree: Ph.D.

Brief overview of program: Physical oceanographers seek to understand the physical processes that govern the circulation of the ocean and the coupled atmosphere- ocean system. PO students obtain a broad background from courses in the physical circulation of the ocean, the nature of wave motion, and geophysical fluid dynamics. Advanced courses reflect theoretical modeling / observational strengths at GSO/URI: air-sea interaction; large-scale ocean circulation; eddies, waves, and instabilities; small-scale mixing and turbulent processes; ocean heat-fluxes and storage; climate change. Research opportunities exist for students to apply state-of-the-art techniques in: satellite remote sensing; computer modeling of atmosphere and ocean processes; laboratory modeling of geophysical fluid dynamics; observational studies in air-sea interaction, mixing processes, or large-scale circulation --- often using unique instruments developed at GSO/URI. We attempt to engage students in ongoing research as soon as they arrive.

Website: Click here for program website

Description of Facilities: URI operates one of the finest deep-ocean research ships in the world. We have a machine shop, electronics engineers, and a marine technician support group. We are leaders in ocean-instrument development: state-of-the-art equipment includes moored current meter arrays, subsurface RAFOS neutral-buoyancy floats tracked using moored sound sources, free-fall Lagrangian velocity profilers, Inverted Echo Sounders (IES, acoustic probes of ocean thermal structure), including bottom pressure recorders (PIES), and the latest shipboard hydrographic survey electronics. In the laboratory we study experimental rotating and stratified fluid motions, as well as problems on convection of viscous fluids, using a variety of flow visualization techniques. The Physical Oceanography Group operates and manages resources for high-performance computing and communication, scientific visualization, and computer graphics. These facilities include a supercomputer and an ever-evolving suite of networked workstations. The comprehensive marine library includes the U.S. National Sea Grant Depository. Opportunities exist for close interaction with staff in other oceanographic disciplines and at the adjacent National Marine Fisheries Service, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the nearby Navy laboratories.

Program Faculty: Peter Cornillon, remote sensing oceanography Kathleen Donohue, ocean circulation David Farmer, stratified flow past topography; acoustical oceanography Isaac Ginis, structure and dynamics of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system Tetsu Hara, surface waves, air-sea interaction David L. Hebert, small-scale mixing processes H. Thomas Rossby, ocean circulation and instrumentation Lewis Rothstein, geophysical fluid dynamics, equatorial dynamics D. Randolph Watts, dynamics of ocean currents and fronts Mark Wimbush, turbulence, tides and waves, Kuroshio


Program Point of Contact: Peter C. Cornillon

Email: pcornillon@gso.uri.edu

Institution address: 9 Alumni Avenue University of Rhode Island
                             Kingston,RI 02881

 


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This project is supported, in part, by the NationalScience Foundation.  Opinions expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the Foundation .