Physical oceanography articles from across Nature Portfolio

Physical oceanography is the study of the physics of marine systems. It includes the distribution of temperature and salinity, water mass formation and movement, ocean currents, interior and surface mixing, energy inputs and dissipation, surface and internal waves, and surface and internal tides.


Latest Research and Reviews

News and Comment

  • News & Views |

    The deepest reaches of the ocean are ventilated by sinking of cold and relatively saline seawater around Antarctica. Observations from the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean reveal a decline in sinking and abyssal ventilation, linked to dropping ocean salinity on the Antarctic shelf.

    • Casimir de Lavergne
  • News & Views |

    The El Niño Southern Oscillation strongly impacts climate, but its variability remains difficult to predict. A conceptual model based on shifting circulation patterns offers a simple explanation for this complex behaviour.

    • Antonietta Capotondi
    Nature Geoscience 16, 280-281
  • Comments & Opinion
    | Open Access

    The South Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation initiative began as a grassroots effort to study the South Atlantic Ocean and its impact on climate. This Comment discusses how, in striving towards this goal, it has also become a platform for the empowerment of women and international scientists.

    • Renellys Perez
    • , Silvia Garzoli
    •  & Isabelle Ansorge
  • Comments & Opinion |

    Floating plastic is accumulating in the five subtropical oceanic gyres, but little is known about their composition, sources, and fate. Monitoring has provided insight into persistence and accumulation processes in the North Pacific Ocean, but their relevance in other gyres is unknown. Identifying the sources of plastics, in all subtropical gyres, is necessary for cleanup efforts to be effective.

    • Laurent Lebreton