Group News: Raffaele Ferrari receives Ally of Nature Award

February 28, 2019

Raffaele Ferrari was selected by Michael Sipser, the Dean of the School of Science, to receive the Ally of Nature Award. The award is endowed by the generosity of Audrey Buyrn to pursue basic research in environmental research.

MIT News: New climate model to be built from the ground up

December 12, 2018

Our group collaborates in a new Climate Modeling Alliance to advance climate modeling and prediction. You can read about the overall project in a press release issued by Caltech, in partnership with the MIT School of Science, the Naval Postgraduate School, and the Jet Propulsion Laboratory. We also have a brand new website with more details.

The MIT team’s role in CliMA is described in an article published on the PAOC’s website and reproduced here:

At MIT, Professors Raffaele Ferrari and John Marshall, both Cecil and Ida Green Professors of Oceanography and members of the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate (PAOC), will develop the ocean and sea-ice component of the CliMa climate model, leveraging their expertise in the development of ocean models (the MITgcm was spearheaded by Marshall, with Chris Hill and Jean Michel Campin as key developers) and in the representation of sub-gridscale mixing processes in the ocean (Ferrari and Marshall).

To take advantage of new computer architectures, languages, and machine learning techniques, the team has partnered with Alan Edelman‘s group in CSAIL at MIT, who will help write the new generation climate model in the Julia computing language developed by the group. This will enable the MIT team to target GPUs, CPUs, and evolving computer architectures within one code base. The strategy of the CliMa group is, to the extent that is possible, to develop common hydro-dynamical cores, parameterizations, and machine-learning techniques for both atmosphere and ocean, so that development in one fluid can inform the other.

Group News: Open positions

August 19, 2018

New Climate Modelling Initiative: two postdocs and two research scientists

Climate change projections continue to be marred by large uncertainties. But breakthroughs in their accuracy are within reach, thanks to recent advances in the computational and data sciences and in the availability of Earth observations from space and from the ground. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and partner institutions are developing a new Earth system modeling platform to harness these advances. It will fuse an Earth system model (ESM) with global observations and targeted local high-resolution simulations of clouds, turbulence, and other elements of the Earth system. At MIT we will focus on the ocean component of the ESM.

As a postdoctoral scholar or research scientist, you will collaborate with a dynamic, multi-disciplinary team of scientists, engineers, and applied mathematicians, spanning MIT, Caltech, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, and the Naval Postgraduate School. You will contribute to the development of a data-informed ESM by

  • Developing physically informed parameterizations of subgrid-scale processes in the ocean that are suitable for data assimilation and machine learning approaches, including models for boundary layer turbulence, submesoscale processes, and deep convection; or
  • Building and prototyping numerical and computational methods for an ocean dynamical core that is scalable and adaptable to emerging hardware architectures; or
  • Applying scalable data assimilation and machine learning algorithms, to allow the parameterizations to learn systematically from diverse data sources, such as satellite observations or high-resolution simulations of turbulent flows.

We are seeking to fill two postdoctoral and two research scientist positions within this initiative, spanning a range of expertise from computational and applied mathematics to the atmospheric and oceanic sciences. We encourage women and under-represented minorities to apply.

As a minimum qualification, you are expected to have

  • Completed a doctoral degree in applied mathematics, atmospheric or oceanic sciences, computer science, engineering, physics, statistics or a related field at the time of the appointment;
  • A strong physical, mathematical, and/or computational background;
  • Programming experience in at least one general purpose language;
  • Demonstrated effective written and verbal communication skills.

We prefer for you to have

  • Experience with high-performance parallel computing;
  • Experience working in multi-disciplinary teams and interacting cross-functionally with a wide variety of people.

For the research scientist positions, at least two years of postdoctoral research experience and leadership in research projects as demonstrated by publications are also required.

An article on this initiative has been recently published in a Science article. For more information about the positions, please contact Professors Raffaele Ferrari and John Marshall at

Applications with a curriculum vitae, a one-page statement of research interests, and three letters of recommendation should be submitted to the links below

Review of applications will begin September 1st and will continue until the positions are filled.


Upcoming NASA satellite mission: one postdoc

The Surface Water and Ocean Topography (SWOT) NASA mission scheduled to be launched in 2021 will revolutionize oceanography by detecting ocean surface features with 10 times better resolution than present technologies. The higher resolution of SWOT is required to distinguish structures that occur on scales of 50 kilometers or shorter, where most of the ocean’s energy is mixed and transported. Such small-scale ocean features contribute to the ocean-atmosphere exchange of heat and carbon, major components in global climate change. Moreover, SWOT’s detailed information will improve understanding of the ocean environment including the motion of life-sustaining nutrients and harmful pollutants. A major challenge in interpreting the SWOT data is that the ocean surface at scales below 100 km reflects a combination of geostrophically balanced motions and internal gravity waves. At MIT we plan to develop techniques to separate the two classes of motions by assimilating the SWOT data in the MIT general circulation model.

We are seeking to fill one postdoctoral position to formulate the theory and data assimilation techniques to interpret the SWOT observations. As a minimum qualification, the postdoc is expected to have completed a doctoral degree in applied mathematics, atmospheric or oceanic sciences, physics, statistics or a related field at the time of the appointment. A strong physical, mathematical, and/or computational background is essential. Experience with data assimilation techniques is desirable.

More information on the SWOT mission can be found here. For more information about the position, please contact Professor Raffaele Ferrari at Applications material with a CV, a one-page statement of research interests and three references as a single PDF file should be submitted online here. Review of applications will begin September 1st and will continue until the position is filled.


MIT is an equal employment opportunity employer. All qualified applicants will receive consideration for employment and will not be discriminated against on the basis of race, color, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, religion, disability, age, genetic information, veteran status, ancestry, or national or ethnic origin.

Group News: NSF funds major observational program

August 11, 2018
In the last few years we have challenged the textbook understanding of the abyssal ocean circulation. It is generally accepted that the rise of carbon rich waters from the abyss is driven by the mixing generated when internal wave break in the ocean interior. Our theoretical work instead suggests that mixing drives waters toward the abyss and not the other way around. The carbon rich waters, instead, rise along turbulent boundary layers that develop over seamounts and ridges. We have now proposed to test the theory in the Rockall Trough off the shores of Ireland. The project is a collaboration between our group and colleagues at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and the Southampton Oceanographic Center. We will use a combination of moored instruments to sample the boundary layer turbulence and tracer releases to study the rising of waters. The project includes four cruises over the next three years.


Group News: Madeleine Youngs awarded NDSEG Fellowship

May 10, 2017
Madeleine has been selected to receive a 2017 National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate (NDSEG) Fellowship. The NDSEG Fellowship is a very competitive fellowship sponsored and funded by the Department of Defense (DoD). NDSEG selections are made by the Air Force Research Laboratory (AFRL), the Office of Naval Research (ONR), and the Army Research Office (ARO). The American Society for Engineering Education (ASEE) administers the NDSEG Fellowship. Well done!

Group News: Henri Drake and Madeleine Youngs awarded NSF Fellowships

March 23, 2017

Henri Drake was awarded the prestigious NSF Fellowship for proposing ”a very compelling proposed that will have broad application within oceanography and climate fields.” Madeleine Youngs’ citation praised her “superb overall research plan.” Congratulations to both!

Group News: Raffaele Ferrari recipient of Scripps Cody Award

July 26, 2016

Raffaele Ferrari is the recipient of the 2016 Scripps Cody Award for pioneering efforts toward understanding the nature and rates of oceanic mixing and their consequences for the general circulation. Every two years Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, bestows the Robert L. and Bettie P. Cody Award on a scientist on the basis of the excellence of the body of their work. The award cycles among Oceanography, Marine Biology, and the Earth Sciences.

Read more about the Cody award