Physics of the Ocean – Bad Honnef Physics School

Scientific organizers:
Prof. Dr. Martin Visbeck (GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel) & Prof. Dr. Sabrina Speich (Ecole Normale Supérieure – PSL) & Prof. Dr. David Marshall (Oxford University)

This Summer School aims at

  • providing a broader view of the ocean system from a physical perspective, encompassing a large range of scales and their interactions.
  • introducing the observations and models, theory and statistical methods used by environmental and ocean physicists and to their present understanding of the physical ocean system.

Format of the Summer School

  • Participants are expected to have at least a basic knowledge of one of the sub-disciplines of environmental physics or marine sciences and they usually will be active in a research field somewhat related to the topic of the summer school.
  • Participants are urged to contribute to the summer school by presenting work of their own, generally in the form of posters and active participation in discussion and working sessions.
  • Other than receiving lectures, the students will participate through various activities such as poster sessions, exercises, discussions and a field excursion. There will be a set of “Super Problems” introduced at the beginning of the summer school; the students will work on these problems throughout the summer school and present their results/ solutions at the end.

Lecturers and topics include:

  • Prof. Rym Msadek (CNRS/Cerfacs, Toulouse, France) – Climate, ocean-atmosphere and predictability
  • Dr. Marina Levey ( CNRS/LOCEAN-IPSL, Paris, France) – Ocean Ecosystem, Interactions with the Mesoscale and Submesoscale
  • Prof. Dr. Arne Biastoch (GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany) – Global and Regional Ocean Modeling
  • Prof. Brad deYoung (Memorial University, Canada) – Operational Oceanography
  • Prof. Ryan Abernathey (Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, New York, USA) – Digital Oceanography / Big data
  • Prof. Dr. Peter Brandt (GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany) – Tropical Oceanography
  • Prof. Dr. Martin Visbeck (GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel, Germany) – Global Ocean Observing Systems
  • Prof. Dr. Sabrina Speich (Ecole Normale Supérieure – PSL, France) – Southern Ocean Circulation
  • Prof. Dr. David Marshall (Oxford University, UK) – Mesoscale Ocean Dynamics

Who can apply?

  • Young scientists such as advanced master students, graduate students and first year postdocsfrom all over Europe and beyond from all fields with an interest in physics who want to increase their knowledge about the ocean.

Selection criteria / application

Successful applicants will be selected by the co-organizers based on your background. Please register online and at the same time send your CV and a letter of motivation (max 1 page) until 7 February 2020 to gomer @ You will be informed if your application was successful by 17 February 2020.

Application deadline 7 February 2020. Successful candidates will be informed at 17 February 2020.


The summer school includes not only lectures on ocean physics, but also addresses its interaction with the global climate, marine biogeochemical and ecological systems, as well as overarching topics in marine research. This comprehensive and integrative approach shall provide the participants with the necessary basis to orient themselves in present and future large international research programs (e.g. WCRP – CLIVAR, IOC – GOOS, United Nations Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development (2021-2030)), many of which specifically address the interfaces and interactions between the ocean physics and other environmental compartments. Moreover, the summer school is expected to advance the interaction and collaboration between young scientists active in this research area.
Environmental Physics is a rapidly growing research area, focusing on processes within our environment, i.e., in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere, geosphere, and biosphere. Physical ocean processes directly affect the global distribution and transports of ocean properties ranging from mass and temperature to the many dissolved substances (for example salt, nutrients, oxygen, CO2). Ocean processes are of particular relevance for the global and regional climate systems, and they set the stage for marine element cycling and the marine ecosystem as a whole. Oceanographers study the fluxes of energy and matter in the ocean using direct observation, modeling and theory. The relevant scales range from vertical ocean mixing at the micro scale (cm) to mesoscale stirring (km) right up to the planetary scale of the global ocean circulation. From the regional to the local scale, coastal seas host a suite of physical processes relevant for understanding the effects of external pressures due to environmental change (from climate to population growth associated with eutrophication, dredging, and offshore constructions). A large part of the education and training in ocean physics is done in conjunction with related disciplines, such as meteorology, marine biogeochemistry, or geophysics.

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