Helen Johnson

Research Interests

Understanding ocean circulation and the role it plays in climate is essential if we are to make reliable projections for the future. Students will be part of a vibrant, cross-department research group striving to understand how the ocean circulation works. We focus particularly on the Atlantic, where the Meridional Overturning Circulation carries large amounts of heat northwards, influencing weather and climate in the UK and naturally sequestering carbon in the deep ocean, and on the fast-changing polar regions, where the atmosphere and ocean interactions are strongest. Our interests range from fundamental geophysical fluid dynamics to applied ocean problem-solving, and in recent years we have worked on questions as diverse as Devonian ocean circulation, marine plastic pollution and ice-ocean interaction in Greenland fjords. The details of any DPhil project will be defined in discussion with the student, but potential avenues of research include regional, global or idealized numerical modelling of ocean circulation, development of ocean dynamics theory, and the analysis of observational data. Students in the group often get involved in collecting observational data at sea on a research cruise.

Qualifications & Experience

BSc Physics and Meteorology (Reading, UK), PhD Physical Oceanography (Reading, UK). More than 20 years experience in ocean and climate research, and 15 years as a lecturer in the Earth Sciences department at the University of Oxford. Successfully supervised 7 postdoctoral fellows, 16 PhD students, 20 MSc students, 2 international visiting students and 5 summer interns.

Personal Research Keywords

Ocean dynamics, Arctic, Atlantic, Climate, Idealized numerical modelling, Research cruises