• large-scale ocean circulation
  • water mass analysis
  • tracers and water masses in numerical models
  • the fresh water budget of the oceanic mixed layer
  • rainfall measurement over the tropical ocean
  • science, civilization and society.

Matthias Tomczak

Diplom-Ozeanogr., Dr. rer. nat. (Kiel), Dr. habil. (Hamburg).

School of Chemistry, Physics & Earth Sciences

Professor of Oceanography


Phone: +61 - 8 - 8201 2298
Fax: +61 - 8 - 8201 2676
Postal: School of Chemistry, Physics and Earth Sciences
Flinders University
GPO Box 2100
Adelaide 5001

Location: Room: 315 Building: 55 (Earth Sciences)


Oceanography web page

personal profile in Faces of Science

Comments about this page:

Page Last Updated: 15 November, 2005








Teaching responsibilities (including online teaching material)


Regional Oceanography
Global Climate Data Bases
Remote Sensing in the Earth Sciences
Science, Civilization and Society
  Teaching related projects Basic Exercises in Physical Oceanography (web based)
Web-based oceanographic utilities
A regional introductory textbook for South East Asia
  Research projects water masses and circulation
air/sea interaction
OMP analysis
rainfall measurement over the tropical ocean
  Publications online publications
journal publications

Teaching responsibilities

  • Until 2003 I was the co-ordinator for the first year topic Marine Sciences 1 and Marine Sciences for Teachers and taught its oceanography component. The lecture notes for the physical oceanography part of this topic can be viewed on the web and are also available as a CD-ROM. If you want to see what others say about these notes, check out the comment page. I also have computer based exercises for this topic, which can be run over the web and are also included in the CD-ROM version.
  • I teach the second year topic The Ocean. The topic is based on Regional Oceanography: an Introduction (M. Tomczak and J. Stuart Godfrey), a textbook that was first published in 1994 and is now available in an improved second edition from Daya Publishers, Delhi. The details for ordering the book through local bookshops or online from the publisher can be found at my web page Regional Oceanography, where a colour version in pdf format is also available for downloading.
  • I no longer teach the second year topic The Shelf and Coastal Zone but still have lecture notes on the web. They are included in the CD-ROM version of my website.
  • I teach the Honours topic Global Climate Data Bases, a new topic to start in 2004.
  • I teach the topic Science, Civilization and Society, a "general interest" topic for students of all faculties. The topic material can be viewed on the web.

Teaching related projects

  • Some years back I developed a set of "Basic Exercises in Physical Oceanography" for use in the computer assisted learning unit of Flinders University. It was originally developed in proprietory software and only accessible in the university computer lab, but during three weeks at sea in December 1999 I converted it into web based laboratories, which are now available here. Quite a few new exercises have been added since then.
  • I prepared some on-line web calculators and plotting routines to assist my student laboratories. There are calculators for density, sound speed, distance between stations and others. Plotting routines allow you to produce graphs of current meter time series and station data, to produce voyage plans for research vessels and other options. These utilities are publicly available.
  • In March 2005 I finished writing an introductory textbook on physical oceanography for South East Asia. This project is organized and supported by the Southeast Asia START Regional Centre (SEA START RC), which is preparing a printed version.

Research projects

One of my main research interests has been and continues to be quantitative water mass analysis. I developed Optimum Multiparameter (OMP) analysis and take an active interest in the OMP Analysis User Group. I developed the Matlab code for OMP Analysis version 2. The latest version, which includes some amendments by Johannes Karstensen, can be downloaded from the website of the OMP Analysis User Group.

Further development of OMP analysis concentrates on a technique to derive time variations in the properties of source water masses from observations at great distances from the source. This is a highly nonlinear optimization problem that requires careful nudging towards the oceanographically most sensible solution.

Another research project I have been pursuing is the calibration of rainfall data over the tropical oceans, particularly in convective rain systems, which produce spatially and temporally patchy rainfall. A proof of concept experiment to use navigational radar for rainfall measurement is documented in one paper and a website (see below under publications). Further work concentrates on the effect of rainfall on the oceanic mixed layer and the mixed layer freshwater budget.

The study of oceanic fronts developed into a major interest of mine during the last few years. This work concentrates on the Subtropical Front south of Australia, where the Front is nearly completely density-compensated. Three research voyages produced extensive data sets (see below under publications), which are now used to model mixing processes at density-compensated fronts.


Links to papers and conference contributions available on the web:

Download links for papers available as pdf files:

For more information, consult my list of recent publications which covers the last few years.
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Last update of this page: 21 April 2005