Physical Oceanography

Physical Key Processes

Ocean mixing

Small-scale mixing processes are an essential component of the ocean circulation and the ocean‘s climate. Mixing processes transport heat, salt and other dissolved substances between layers of different densities. The associated diapycnal heat flux is an important driver of the meridional overturning circulationand impacts heat ... more


Convection and Transformation of Watermasses

The ocean is a stratified medium, which means that certain characteristic properties, such as temperature, salinity, dissolved oxygen or the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide, change with depth and geographic position. One of the objectives of physical oceanography is to develop an exact understanding of the physical processes which cause the observed distributions of those key properties in the ocean. Such an understanding is necessary to ... more

Physical processes in upwelling regions

Meso- and submesoscale variability in tropical upwelling regimes

Tropical upwelling regimes are characterized by pronounced meso- and submesoscale variability such as eddies and filaments. Understanding these phenomena is crucial as they cause horizontal and ... more


Ventilation of oxygen minimum zones

Regions with low dissolved oxygen content in the ocean exist in the eastern tropical Pacific and Atlantic as well as in the northern Indian Ocean. Models proposed and observations showed changes in the expansion of oxygen-poor regions, especially a vertical expansion concurrently with decreasing oxygen content. The future ocean may experience major biogeochemical shifts triggered by oxygen changes leading to positive ... more