OPD Research Areas

Mixing

Mixing sets the temperature and salinity structure of the ocean and the distribution of chemical species…

Circulation

Circulation, from small estuaries to entire ocean basins, is critical in a variety of processes…

Biogeochemistry

Mixing and circulation help regulate ocean productivity and ecosystems…

Instruments

Technology plays a critical role in oceanographic research…


Instruments & Sensors

See what we design, build and use in our research…


Educational Opportunities

Graduate students in the Ocean Physics Department take their coursework through an academic department at the UW, while pursuing research projects with a faculty advisor in OPD. Students are offered the opportunity to experience the entire life cycle of sea-going research projects, including experiment planning, participation in research cruises, data processing, scientific analysis and the presentation of results at national and international meetings.  More >>
Current Students >>

What We Do

OPD investigators pursue research focused primarily on small-scale and meso-scale oceanographic processes, design and build unique instruments to facilitate these studies, and educate undergraduate and graduate students through instruction and employment.

Basic and Applied Research Push Seaglider's Capabilities

Seaglider offers depth, versatility, and persistence at an operating cost far less than an ocean research vessel. People should like them because they're really cool, but they do like them because they're comparatively inexpensive. In May 2013, UW's Center for Commercialization licensed the manufacture of Seagliders to Kongsberg Underwater Technology, Inc., granting them sole rights to produce, market, and continue the development of Seaglider technology.  More >>

Marginal Ice Zone Program

An integrated program of observations and numerical simulations will focus on understanding ice–ocean–atmosphere dynamics in and around the MIZ, with particular emphasis on quantifying changes associated with decreasing ice cover. The MIZ measurement program will employ a novel mix of autonomous technologies (ice-based instrumentation, floats, drifters, and gliders) to characterize the processes that govern Beaufort Sea MIZ evolution from initial breakup and MIZ formation though the course of the summertime sea ice retreat.  More >>

Deep-Sea Rescue of Valuable Research Instruments

The subsurface mooring component of the Northwest Enhanced Moored Observatory (NEMO) had to be rescued by a ROV piloted by APL-UW engineers. Extensive crevice corrosion from a longer-than-expected deployment was behind the acoustic release failures. More >>

In the News

Tracking the breakup of Arctic summer sea ice

UW News and Information,

16 Jul 2014

As sea ice begins to melt back toward its late September minimum, it is being watched as never before. Scientists have put sensors on and under ice in the Beaufort Sea for an unprecedented campaign to monitor the summer melt.

Swimming, climbing robots explore the hostile Arctic

New Scientist,

9 Jul 2014

A tireless scientific expedition is currently encamped across a huge stretch of Arctic pack ice. There isn't a single human among them. This remotely monitored outfit is made up entirely of machines — and they're aiming to revolutionise our understanding of Arctic sea ice.

Underwater waves are the Earth's 'lumbering giants'

USA Today,

22 May 2014

A 70-foot wave is a terrifying wall of water that only the best surfers can ride. But it's a midget compared with the colossal and mysterious waves that lurk under the ocean's surface. These underwater waves, though seldom noticed, can rival skyscrapers in height and measure more than 100 miles wide. They can imperil submarines and disrupt operations on offshore oil platforms. They've been photographed by astronauts in orbit,and they've been cursed by bewildered sailors. Scientists are gaining fresh insights into these massive waves, including their potentially important role in climate change.

Recent Papers

Hormann, V., L.R. Centurioni, L. Rainville, C.M. Lee, and L.J. Braasch, "Response of upper ocean currents to Typhoon Fanapi," Geophys. Res. Lett, 41, 3995-4003, doi:10.1002/2014GL060317, 2014.

16 Jun 2014, Link

Zhao, Z., B. Liu, and X. Li, "Internal solitary waves in the China seas observed using satellite remote-sensing techniques: A review and perspectives," Int. J. Remote Sens., 35, 3926-3946, doi:10.1080/01431161.2014.916442, 2014.

19 May 2014, Link

Punshon, S., K. Azetsu-Scott, and C.M. Lee, "On the distribution of dissolved methane in Davis Strait, North Atlantic Ocean," Mar. Chem., 161, 20-25, doi:10.1016/j.marchem.2014.02.004, 2014.

20 Apr 2014, Link


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