As scientists in the Physical Oceanography Department advance our understanding of ocean physics, their long-term goal is accurate prediction of how the ocean and the atmosphere will evolve on time and space scales that are important to society. The interests of the department range from theoretical and modeling studies to sea-going observational programs, and from the oceans role in long-term climate change to the smallest time and space scales relevant to ocean mixing. Development of new measuring tools is a continuing department emphasis.
Climate change is a major theme in physical oceanography. It encompasses study of the broad influence of the meridional overturning in the North Atlantic, that is, the northward flow of warm water and its return south in deep-sea currents after cooling and sinking at high latitudes. The influence of this phenomenon is global. The first of six planned moorings to monitor these north-south flows was established in 2001 with Vetlesen Foundation funding at Station W, southeast of Woods Hole and just inshore of the Gulf Stream. A notable achievement in 2002 was securing National Science Foundation support to expand this research in collaboration with British colleagues. Conditions that could lead to abrupt climate change-such as an influx of fresh water in the North Atlantic that could change the meridional overturning-will be quickly evident at Station W.
In 2002, Terry Joyce completed his four-year term as Department Chair, and Nelson Hogg succeeded him. Pavel Berloff joined the staff as an Assistant Scientist. He received a PhD degree from Florida State University in 1996 and spent the next six years at UCLAs Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics. His interests center on theoretical and modeling studies of turbulence and eddy dynamics in ocean circulation. This coming year will bring us at least one new scientist as Jason Goodman joins us in late spring. He brings a strong background in climate-related problems involving the coupling of the atmosphere and the ocean. His interests also include planetary systems and paleoclimate, and we expect that he will build important connections to research in other WHOI departments and the Ocean Institutes. Jason has a PhD degree from MIT and did two years of postdoctoral work at the University of Chicago.
Nelson Hogg, Department Chair