Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics

Climate variations can be externally forced or internally generated by atmospheric and oceanic processes. The sediments of the seafloor and the organisms contained therein record these changes and are important marine climate archives. To decipher past and future mechanisms of climate change oceanographic, geological, and meteorological measurements at sea, analytical investigations in the laboratory, and computer simulations with complex ocean models are applied.



Head of the Research Division:

Prof. Dr. Mojib Latif
GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel
Westshore Campus
Düsternbrooker Weg 20 
D-24105 Kiel 
Phone: +49-431 600-4050
Fax: +49-431 600-4052
e-mail: mlatif(at)geomar.de

Tania Chiarini   
Phone: +49-431 600-4051
Silke Gesinn     
Phone: +49-431 600-4059
e-mail: sekretariat-me(at)geomar.de


Temperatur und Oberflächenströmung in einem hochauflösenden Modell des Nordatlantiks. Quelle: GEOMAR.

Research in the Division includes

  • Advancing our understanding of the physical processes and phenomena in the ocean and the atmosphere which are critical to the large-scale mean and variability of the ocean-atmosphere system.
  • Deciphering modern and past global changes in ocean circulation and climate by quantifying current variations in key aspects of the ocean-atmosphere system and exploring marine climate archives. In addition, water mass properties, marine organisms, and seafloor sediments provide unique data sets for the evaluation of the present and past state of our planet.
  • Developing and applying numerical models that incorporate process dynamics in order to allow realistic simulations of ocean variability and its interaction with the atmosphere and the ocean biogeochemistry,a prerequisite for assessing past changes on different time scales. These modelling results can be applied to explore the predictability of climate variability and anthropogenic change.

A particular strength of the division is a combined expertise in large-scale and process-oriented modelling, observational tools and sea-going capabilities to address the dynamics governing the present day system. These strengths, coupled with palaeo-oceanographic expertise allow the division to improve its understanding of past climate scenarios.

Accordingly, GEOMAR’s strategy is to examine the forcing mechanisms of present and past large-scale circulation variability including processes of ocean-atmosphere interaction. The research program of the respective disciplines is well integrated with international programmes related to future and past global change and variability.

RD1 News

Mobile winch and cable owned by the U.S. GEOTRACES-programme. Similar devices are used on cruise M121.  Photo: Gregory Cutter, Old Dominion University, Norfolk (USA).

RV METEOR closes a gap in the global atlas of trace metals

GEOMAR-ForscheGEOMAR researchers lead GEOTRACES expedition in the southeastern Atlantic r leiten GEOTRACES-Expedition im Südostatlantik

Observed sea surface temperature on December 31, 1984. Unit is Deg. C. Source: NOAA.Pattern of the decadal variability of the sea surface temperature in the North Pacific. Source: JISAO, U. Washington.

"Marine noise" important for long-term predictions?

Sustainable impact of daily fluctuations in the ocean on long-term climate variability in the North Pacific