Physical oceanography involves the study of water movement in the ocean. Energy is introduced to the ocean through wind and solar heating, and these combine with the rotation of the Earth and gravitational effects to drive ocean circulation, tides, and waves. Our physical oceanographers also investigate how the Earth's oceans are directly coupled with the atmosphere, from local weather patterns to the global climate system. Physical oceanographers in the CMS carry out research on a variety of topics using the latest technology. Computer models, real time data, satellite remote sensing, and in situ data from moored arrays, coastal and island tide gauges, and research cruises are used to study a wide range of research problems. Topics include tide and current prediction in Tampa Bay, circulation on the West Florida Shelf and in the Gulf of Mexico, El Niño, and the potential for global climate change.
Research at the College of Marine Science has received national recognition. We are a member of the National Association of Marine Laboratories. Project funding for physical oceanography comes from a variety of sources including the National Ocean Service, the National Science Foundation, the Office of Naval Research, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Our Physical Oceanographers utilize computer resources, modeling, bouys, COMPS and PORTS real time sensors, and satellite data received at USF.