I developed a computer model that helped me reconcile various observations of wind and current with the motion of an ice floe in the Gulf of St Lawrence. I also explored the effect of solar radiation absorbed beneath lake ice.
This peculiar situation, in which convection was occurring beneath ice without the complications of wind effects, made the results applicable in other areas of research.
So, yes, I used my physics background - and a lot of subsequent physics reading - in my work and this continues to be the case.
Some interesting web sites describing our work are identified by number below. Since then I have worked on a wide range of problems, including stratified flow over topography; the atmospheric analog is air-flow over mountains, but I do my research in the ocean ,  and  shows an instrument for measuring flow speeds near the ocean surface in extreme waves,  shows an acoustical resonator for studying bubble clouds.  shows the study of ice mechanics from naturally occurring sound in the arctic ocean , wave breaking , acoustic propagation through turbulence  and the influence of ship noise on communication between whales . Working with students has become the part of my work I most enjoy.
What makes ocean physics so interesting to me?
The observations motivate new theoretical approaches, the theory provides the mathematical framework for interpreting the observations.
Check out the dedication page  on one of our publications!
This list could go on!
I found the course on partial differential equations the most difficult, but looking back on it, I realize that what I learned has since been the most useful.
As in any profession, if you want the best employment opportunities you can expect to have to move to a different location.
If I were starting again I would certainly choose this field!
Web sites referred to above:
The Home Page of our research group at The Acoustical Oceanography Research Group gives you a flavour of what it is like to be an ocean physicist - at least the particular brand I represent.
The Acoustical Oceanography Research Group
Institute of Ocean Sciences
PO Box 6000
Ph: (250) 363-6591
Fx: (250) 363-6798