The University of Southampton
Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton

Research Group: Physical Oceanography

Currently Active: 

In our research, we seek to understand, quantify and predict the physical character of the ocean, and the dynamic processes that control its circulation and mixing.

Group Overview

Participating in a wide variety of oceanographic cruises, we use shipboard instruments, moorings, floats and autonomous underwater vehicles to make in situ measurements of key ocean processes.

Of further vital importance are measurements that help us to accurately estimate air-sea exchanges of heat, momentum and gases throughout the world's oceans. Building on our expertise in ocean remote sensing, and with strong links to space agencies, we are exploring patterns of change and variability in satellite measurements of surface temperature, sea level and productivity. Aligned with this suite of observations, we develop and use a wide range of ocean and climate models, to test new hypotheses, to predict climate change, and to explore the role of the ocean in the wider Earth system.

The Physical Oceanography and Climate group of OES is also strongly involved in high-computing through its modelling activities

in particularly working together with the MSM group of NOC on the analysis of high-resolution ocean models

and introducing the UK coupled climate model in Southampton, focusing on the role of the ocean in climate (change) together with the UK Met Office

Contact: Prof. Sybren Drijfhout

Associated research themes

Coastal and Shelf Processes


Research Vessels

We have two vessels based at NOCS that are available to staff and students of Ocean and Earth Science. R.V. Callista and R.V. Bill Conway

Postgraduate opportunities

PhD Project Titles

A probabilistic assessment of trends in Southern Ocean pCO2
Claudie Beaulieu (UoS), Dorothee Bakker (UEA), Sujit Sahu (UoS).

Antarctic / Atlantic Ocean connections during rapid climate change
Dr Kevin Oliver (UoS), Dr Louise Sime (BAS).

Compound flooding from waves, storm surges, rainfall and river discharge
Dr Ivan Haigh (UoS), Mikis Tsimplis (UoS) and Ben Gouldby (HRW).

Deep ocean circulation: boundary density gradients, their representation in numerical models and relationship to the MOC
Dr Gerard McCarthy (NOC), Dr Jennifer Mecking (UoS), Prof Sybren Drijfhout (UoS).

Determining turbulent controls on ocean structure using autonomous robots
Prof Alberto Naveira Garabato (Uso), Dr Matthew Palmer (NOC), Prof Mark Inall (SAMS), Dr Pierre Testor (LOCEAN, Paris).

Drivers of heat transport to the Antarctic Shelves
Prof Sybren Drijfhout (UoS), Prof Alberto Naveira Garabato (UoS), Prof Adrian Jenkins (BAS), Jeff Blundell (UoS)

Energetic eddies at the boundary of the Atlantic
Dr Eleanor Frajka-Williams (UoS), Prof. Alberto Naveira Garabato (UoS), Dr David Smeed (NOC).

In situ burning – oil spill mitigation and particle export in the ocean
Dr Simon Boxall (UoS), Dr Sarah Lou Carolin Giering (NOC), Dr Daniel Jones (NOC), Dr Uta Passow (University of California, Santa Barbara).

Multi-decadal warming of the subtropical Atlantic Ocean: Causes and implications
Prof Bob Marsh (UoS), Dr Jeremy Grist (NOC), Dr Gerard McCarthy (NOC)

Projecting future sea level rise and extreme sea level events
Dr Philip Goodwin (UoS), Dr Ivan Haigh (UoS), Prof Eelco Rohling (ANU)

Testing the link between deep convection, sinking and Atlantic meridional overturning variability
Dr Joel Hirschi (NOC), Prof Sybren Drijfhout (UoS), Mr Jeff Blundell (UoS).

Understanding the drivers of variability in ocean currents on the Patagonian shelf and their role in fish larvae recruitment
Prof Bob Marsh (UoS), Dr Emma Young (BAS), Dr Paul Brickle (SAERI), Dr Adrian Jenkins (BAS).

Research Staff

Staff MemberPrimary Position
Stephanie AllenPostgraduate research student
Claudie BeaulieuLecturer
Jeffrey BlundellResearch Fellow in Physical Oceanography
Simon BoxallPrincipal Teaching Fellow
Alexander BrearleyResearch Fellow
Nikki BrownPostgraduate research student
Harry BrydenEmeritus Professor
Helen BurnsPostgraduate research student
Jessica CartwrightPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
Alex CattrellPostgraduate research student
Elizabeth ComerPostgraduate research student
Matthew P CouldreyPostgraduate research student
Jesse CusackPostgraduate research student
Tiago DottoPostgraduate research student
Sybren DrijfhoutProfessor in Physical Oceanography and Climate Physics
Aurelie Duchez RAPID Group Research Scientist
Victor Estella PerezPostgraduate research student
Alexander ForryanResearch Fellow
Eleanor Frajka-WilliamsAssociate Professor in Physical Oceanography
Freya GarryPostgraduate research student
Ivan D HaighAssociate Professor in Coastal Oceanography
Samantha HallamPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
Jonathan HarrisonPostgraduate research student
Laura Herraiz BorregueroMarie Curie Research Fellow
Zoë HolbrookPostgraduate research student (LTDS, GSNOCS, FEE)
Freja HuntPostgraduate research student
Zoe L JacobsPostgraduate research student
Jon LawrencePostgraduate research student
Delphine LobellePostgraduate research student
Guantong LyuPostgraduate research student
Georgios MargaritisPostgraduate research student
Robert MarshProfessor in Oceanography and Climate
Jennifer V MeckingResearch Fellow
Carlos Joel Mejia OlivaresPostgraduate research student
Simon MuellerResearch Fellow
Alberto Naveira GarabatoProfessor
Kevin OliverLecturer in Physical Oceanography
Tabitha PearmanPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
David PricePostgraduate research student (NEXUSS)
Hagen RadtkePostdoctoral Research Fellow
Ian RobinsonEmeritus Professor
Josie RobinsonPostgraduate research student
Stefanie RyndersPostgraduate research student
Ryan ScottPostgraduate research student (NEXUSS)
Florian SevellecAssociate Professor in Ocean Physics
John ShepherdEmeritus Professor of Earth System Science
Nikolaos SklirisResearch Fellow
Maike SonnerwaldPostgraduate Research Student (ICSS)
Dafydd StephensonPostgraduate research student (SPITFIRE)
Giang TranPostgraduate research student
Clément VicPostdoctoral Research Fellow
Neil WellsEmeritus Fellow in Physical Oceanography and Meteorology
Werenfrid WimmerResearch Assistant
Claire WinderPostgraduate research student
Xiaolong YuPostgraduate research student

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