Scripps Researcher Wins Early Career Award from American Meteorological Society



Jennifer MacKinnon, an associate professor of oceanography at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, has received the Nicholas P. Fofonoff Award from the American Meteorological Society (AMS) for her early-career achievements studying ocean physics.

MacKinnon’s research focuses on turbulent mixing that mediates the exchange heat, dissolved greenhouse gases, and biological nutrients between the surface and the deep ocean. She uses a combination of sea-going observations, theory and computer simulations to understand the dynamic processes that produce turbulence, such as breaking internal gravity waves.  Her goal is to more clearly define turbulent mixing for use in large-scale global ocean and climate models.

The award “is to be given to an individual in recognition of research achievement in the field of physical oceanography,” according to the society. “The award is to be given to promising young or early-career scientists who have demonstrated outstanding ability. ‘Early career’ is nominally taken to include scientists who are within ten years of having earned their highest degree or are under 40 years of age when nominated.”

“I am very honored to have received this award, and delighted that the broader scientific community appreciates the work I’ve been doing,” said MacKinnon, who received her doctorate from the University of Washington in 2002 and who joined Scripps that same year.

Another Scripps researcher and a Scripps alumna also took honors from the AMS. Sarah Gille, a Scripps physical oceanographer, received an editor’s award for her work on the Journal of Physical Oceanography. Jessica Lundquist, a former Scripps student now at the University of Washington, also won an editor’s award for her work on the Journal of Hydrometeorology.

The Fofonoff Award is named for Nicholas P. Fofonoff, a longtime physical oceanographer at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts who made key contributions to the understanding of fluid dynamics in ocean circulation.


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