Research Institutes

Institute of Physical Oceanography


The mission of the Institute of Physical Oceanography is to conduct both teaching and research in physical oceanography. It provides a master program in physical oceanography, and a joint doctoral program in marine science. The main research interests of the institute include ocean circulation and climate change, upper ocean dynamics, coastal hydrodynamics and sediment transport, marine ecosystem dynamics, principles and methods of satellite ocean remote sensing, marine environmental monitoring and applications, and numerical modeling in physical oceanography.
Research Areas
1. Ocean circulation and climate change
 (1) Western boundary current in the North Pacific Ocean and climate change, focusing on the Northwest Pacific ocean circulation and the role of ocean in climate change, ocean dynamics on different spatial and temporal scales, the ocean circulation numerical models and data assimilation methods, and ocean-atmosphere interaction theory, aims to improve the capability of forecasting short-term climate.
(2) Upper ocean dynamics studies the ocean mixed layer by considering the effects of wind stress, wave stress, Coriolis force, wave breaking, and surface heat flux, and also develops new models to simulate different types of turbulent eddies and combined turbulence structure, which can provide useful tools for ocean dynamics, weather forecasts, disaster prevention and mitigation.
2. The process of coastal dynamics and the ecological environment
(1) Coastal sediment transport concerns the interaction of the fine sediments with organic/inorganic pollutants and marine microorganisms in estuaries and coastal waters, as well as the transport and deposit process of the flocculated cohesive sediments. With the emphasis on dynamic characteristics of particles in coastal flow fields and the interaction of particle-fluid, a flocculation dynamics model based on the continuous phase medium theory is developed to describe the particle-turbulence interaction by employing the fractal dimension of flocs. The model can be used to evaluate the changes of costal ecological environment due to harbor and coastal projects.
 (2) Marine ecological process studies the relationships of current and turbulence dynamics, transport and diffusion of nutrients, the conversion of nutrients to marine organisms, and biological predation and develops the marine ecosystem dynamics models to understand the mechanism of harmful algal blooms and its influence on the HABs.
(3) Fishery ecosystem restoration. The research topic includes the features of upwelling over the East China Sea (Zhoushan) fishery and their impacts on the variation of fishery resource in recent years. By analyzing the response of upwelling in Zhoushan Fishery to the regional and global ocean-climate changes, a multi-level dynamic model coupling climate, circulation, nutrients, primary production, and fishery will be established for climate predictions and fishing resources evaluation.
3. Satellite ocean remote sensing techniques and applications
(1) Principles and methods of satellite ocean remote sensing focus on the radiative transfer theory and numerical simulations in the ocean-atmosphere system for visible, infrared, and microwave remote sensing sensors, and inversion methods, algorithms, and software development for retrieving ocean environmental parameters from satellite data. The research topics include principles and inversion models of ocean color and sea surface temperature remote sensing, microwave scattering characteristics at sea surface and principles of microwave remote sensing over ocean, inversion models of microwave remote sensing using SARs, and the principles and inversion algorithms of ocean remote sensing using microwave altimeters, scatterometers and radiometers.
(2) Satellite ocean remote sensing information acquisition and image processing techniques focus on satellite data receiving, processing, and applications. The information acquiring and image processing techniques on advanced remote sensing satellite sensors include the remote sensing detection techniques for sea surface ships, sea surface oil spills, fronts, mesoscale eddies, internal waves, red tides, and typhoons by use of microwave synthesis aperture radars, lidar, hyperspectral and ultraspectral optical sensors.
 (3) Marine environmental monitoring and applications focus on the observation of upwelling near Zhejiang coast, the Kuroshio system, typhoons, and internal waves and the analysis of their influences on the ecological environment by use of multi-sensor satellite data. We also have interests in the monitoring and prediction of red tides, monitoring and early warning of typhoon, monitoring and parameter estimation of oil spills, and detection and identification of sea surface ships using high-resolution multi-sensor satellite data.

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