Physical Oceanography

What is Physical Oceanography? Related Career Titles
Related Major Skills Job & Internship Search Links
Career Planning Links Professional Association Links
Miscellaneous Resources UNCW Dept. of Physics & Physical Oceanography

What is Physical Oceanography?

Physical oceanographers study the interaction between the ocean and its boundaries -- land, seafloor, and atmosphere -- and the relationship between the sea, weather, and climate. Questions about how the oceans work in a physical sense include investigations into water qualities such as temperature, salinity, density, and influential factors such as wind speed, air temperature, tides, and interaction with nearby land and underwater formations.

Physical oceanography focuses on describing and understanding the evolving patterns of ocean circulation and fluid motion, along with the distribution of its properties such as temperature, salinity and the concentration of dissolved chemical elements and gases. The ocean as a dynamic fluid is studied at a wide range of spatial scales, from the centimeter scales relevant to turbulent microstructure through the many thousand kilometer scales of the ocean gyres and global overturning circulation. Approaches include theory, direct observation, and computer simulation. Our research frequently takes place in the context of important multidisciplinary issues including the dynamics and predictability of global climate and the sustainability of human use in coastal and estuarine regions.

Related Career Titles

Most require advanced degrees, including Ph.D.

Crewing Research Vessels Data Collection Technical Writer / Editor
Research Assistant College Professor Chemist
Physical Oceanographer Biologist Marine Biologist
Marine Geochemist Fisheries Scientist Ocean Engineer
Marine Archaeologist Marine Policy Writer Aquatic Chemist
Ocean Driller Ocean Miner & Gas Explorer Coastal Geologist
Naval Researcher Conservation Specialist Climate Researcher
Public Policy Writer Geophysist Water Pollution Technician
Sea-going Instrument Technician Marine Technician Environmental Specialist
Hydrologist Marine Products Developer Acoustic Technician
Physical Science Specialist Meteorologist Environmental Planner

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Related Major Skills

Math Physics Computer Programming Technical Writing
Research Critical Thinking Analytical Statistics
Laboratory Skills Communication Endurance Foreign Language
Inquisitive Persistence Accuracy Patience
Quantitative Skills Multidisciplinary Knowledge Digital Mapping Problem Solving Skills
Self Initiative Teamwork Physical Fitness Flexibility
Observation Skills Overall Science Knowledge

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Job & Internship Search Sites

Handshake -- UNCW's Online Job & Career Portal

Job Search Resources

Conservation Job Board

Dolphin Research Center Internships

Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission jobs and internships

New England Aquarium internship program


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Career Planning Links

Candid Career Videos

Occupational Outlook Handbook

O*NET OnLine

NC Tower

Sea Grant Marine Careers

Careers in Physical Oceanography

My Pursuit

Department of Oceanography at Humboldt State University

University of British Columbia, Dept of Earth and Ocean Sciences

National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute

Water Encyclopedia: Careers in Oceanography

Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego

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Professional Association Links

Advancing the Science of Limnology and Oceanography

Coastal & Estuarine Research Federation

The Oceanography Society

List of Professional Associations

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Miscellaneous Resources

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