A prominent physical oceanographer who specializes in the circulation of the ocean and its interaction with the atmosphere and climate has been selected to receive the 2016 Robert L. and Bettie P. Cody Award in Ocean Sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego. Raffaele Ferrari, a Scripps/UC San Diego alumnus and the Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Oceanography at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), will present the Cody Award public lecture at 3 p.m. on Oct. 12, 2016, in the Robert Paine Scripps Forum for Science, Society and the Environment (Scripps Seaside Forum), 8610 Kennel Way in La Jolla, Calif.
Admission is free (seating is available on a limited basis) for the lecture, “The Role of Ocean Turbulence in Climate.”
The 13th recipient of the Cody Award, Ferrari employs a mix of observations, theory, and numerical models to investigate motions in the sea that span scales from inches to thousands of miles. He is particularly interested in the complex interactions of these motions, which are crucial to maintaining the climate system. With colleagues, he has worked to improve scientists’ understanding and representation of these interactions in numerical models used to study climate change.
Ferrari’s lecture will illustrate how small-scale swirls in the ocean have crucial effects on large-scale ocean currents and climate. But, like clouds in the atmosphere, they are too small to be treated directly in global computer models of Earth’s climate.
“Clouds are the Achilles heel of our atmosphere models,” said Ferrari. “In the lecture we will explore the Achilles heels of ocean models, how they impact our understanding of present and past climates, and the progress we are making in healing the heels.”
The biennial Cody Award, which consists of a $10,000 prize and a gold medal, recognizes outstanding scientific achievement in oceanography, marine biology, and earth science. The award was established by an endowment from the late Robert Cody and his wife Bettie, and a substantial contribution from Capital Research & Management Company, in recognition of Mr. Cody’s service to the Los Angeles-based firm.
Robert Cody’s ties to Scripps date to his youth and his association with William E. Ritter, his great uncle, the founder and first director of Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
A member of the MIT faculty since 2002, Ferrari serves as director of MIT’s Program in Atmospheres, Ocean, and Climate. He’s also a member of the MIT/WHOI Joint Program in Physical Oceanography and the MIT Climate Modeling Initiative.
A native of Italy, Ferrari holds two PhDs, one in physical oceanography from Scripps Institution of Oceanography and one in fluid dynamics from Politecnico di Torino, and master’s and bachelor’s degrees in physics from Università di Torino.