Our mission is to study the role of the ocean in past and future climate change through interdisciplinary research in ocean biogeochemistry, physical oceanography and aquatic ecology

What we do

Anthropogenic global warming is expected to have a significant impact on ocean circulation, biogeochemistry, ocean pH and ecosystem structure, changes which will feedback onto the climate system and atmospheric CO2. Recent research suggests that this feedback is positive: i.e., human-induced global warming might result in a decrease in the rate at which the ocean takes up and stores atmospheric carbon dioxide, further enhancing global warming. This is clearly a worrisome trend which needs immediate investigation.

Our group’s research interests are at the frontier of ocean biogeochemistry, ocean ecology and physical oceanography. We research the oceanic controls on atmospheric pCO2 and global climate from inter-annual to millenial time scales and we wish to improve understanding and prediction of:

  • Oceanic uptake, storage and release of atmospheric CO2 and other gases;
  • Climate-sensitivity of ocean biogeochemical cycles and interactions with ecosystem structure;
  • Feedbacks between ocean carbon cycle, ocean ecosystem structure, ocean circulation and climate.

Our work combines theoretical aspects with running climate change simulations and sensitivity studies (using complex general circulation models or GCMs) on a newly acquired state-of-the-art computer cluster in the Earth and Environmental Science Department at the University of Pennsylvania.

Specific Topics of Interest

  • Southern Ocean oceanography: links with the atmosphere and climate feedbacks.
  • How the ocean carbon pumps control atmospheric pCO2. The impact of future changes in ocean ventilation on ocean carbon pumps and atmospheric pCO2.
  • Biological-physical controls on the large scale air-sea CO2 flux distributions.
  • Response of Ocean Ecology to future climate change.
  • The future of ocean Anoxia.
  • Modeling the evolution of phytoplankton.
  • Satellite observations of ocean biology.
  • Prof. Marinov’s 40 minute presentation “Introduction to Antarctica and the Southern Ocean”


Group News and Pictures

Student/Postdoc Opportunities:

We are currently looking for undergraduates, doctoral students and postdocs for the next academic year. Contact Dr. Marinov directly if interested. More info here: Graduate Application

Recent activities:
For more details see Group News!

Upcoming event: Irina Marinov will tell A Story of the Southern Ocean at Penn Science Café on Tuesday, February 17, 2015, at 6 pm. Penn Science Café events are free and open to the public, so come and take part in the evening of engaging, stimulating conversation, with a Q&A session following the talk. Location: World Cafe Live, 3025 Walnut Street, Philadelphia.

On January 14, 2015, Irina Marinov participated in the National Public Radio program Radio Times together with her fellow climate change experts Michael Mann (Pennsylvania State University) and Naomi Oreskes (Harvard University), discussing the science and politics of climate change with the program's host Marty Moss-Coane.

Postdoc Milutinovic published a commentary "Oceans of problems, oceans of opportunities" in the Congress Blog section of The Hill newspaper, found here.

Two papers co-authored by postdoc Raffa Bernardello and faculty Irina Marinov were published in Nature Climate Change and the Journal of Climate, and are getting the attention of the press. See Media Coverage for more information.

Watch Prof. Marinov's video on "Southern Ocean and climate change."

In February 2014, prof. Irina Marinov was faculty host for a Penn alumni expedition to the West Antarctic Peninsula and the Weddell Sea. Here is a link to incredible Antarctica pictures from this trip, and here is a link to her blog.

In March 2014, postdoc Anna Cabre and alumni Shirley Leung participated in the Ocean Sciences meeting in Hawaii, with talks/posters on the ocean phytoplankton response to climate change across the CMIP5 Earth System models.

Irina Marinov's 60-second lecture on "Water and Future Climate Change."

For news and activities from Spring of 2014 and earlier, please visit the News Archive

For a list of climate-relevant upcoming and past talks hosted by the University, please visit the Recent Penn talks page.

Click here to view a list of group visitors/collaborators we have hosted.

Algae Bloom

A phytoplankton bloom off Ireland SeaWIFS, NASA source