Andrew Thompson

Professor of Environmental Science & Engineering
California Institute of Technology

Office: 224 Linde+Robinson (map)
Phone: 626-395-8345

Mail Code: 131-24
Pasadena, CA 91125-2300


Our research focuses on the physics of the ocean’s circulation and its impact on global climate. The ocean is a turbulent fluid whose movement affects the transport and storage of heat and carbon in the deep ocean, the delivery of nutrients to the surface ocean that sustains ecosystems and the stability of marine-terminating ice sheets. The global ocean circulation arises from various fluid dynamical processes that span scales from centimeters to thousands of kilometers, making this a challenging system to observe and model.

We use a combination of approaches to make progress on our understanding of ocean dynamics and how they may contribute to previous and future climate transitions. These approaches include simple analytical and process models that allow us to explore the sensitivity of the circulation to a wide range of conditions, more realistic ocean general circulation models and sea-going observations. A major component of our observational work involves the deployment and piloting of autonomous ocean gliders, which allow for persistent monitoring of remote regions of the ocean.

Current research projects include the circulation of the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic margins, ocean-ice interactions, the three-dimensional structure of the global overturning circulation and variability of ocean surface and bottom boundary layers. Prospective students and postdoctoral researchers are encouraged to contact us about available positions.

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