Houghton Lecture: The Ocean Surface Boundary Layer

Speaker: 
Stephen Belcher, Met Office Chief Scientist
Date: 
Wednesday, October 11, 12:00pm to 1:00pm
Location: 
54-915

2017 Houghton Lecture Series: Boundary Layers in the Ocean and Atmosphere

"The Ocean Surface Boundary Layer"

The ocean surface boundary layer (OSBL) occupies the upper 100m or so of the oceans and is responsible for controlling the transport of heat and momentum from the atmosphere into the deeper ocean, and plays a major role in regulating plankton communities. Recent observations and simulations are revolutionizing our picture of the OSBL, and reveal that the surface waves on the ocean surface fundamentally change the physics of the OSBL. In this lecture I shall present new observations, theory and modelling and new ideas for representing the OSBL in models, which has the potential to correct long standing biases in the climate models.

About the Speaker

Stephen Belcher is the Met Office Chief Scientist and provides leadership of our scientific research and development.

Professor Belcher obtained his PhD in fluid dynamics from the University of Cambridge in 1990 and has subsequently published over 100 peer-reviewed papers on the fluid dynamics of atmospheric and oceanic turbulence. Having completed his PhD he became a research fellow at Stanford and Cambridge Universities. In 1994 he moved to the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading, where he served as Head of the School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences between 2007 and 2010.  In 2010 he became the Joint Met Office Chair in Weather Systems. This role gave him a taster of working closely with the Met Office, and in 2012 he joined the Met Office as Director of the Met Office Hadley Centre.

Stephen led the evolution of the Met Office Hadley Centre to focus on climate science and services: motivated by the need to provide governments, industry and society with actionable advice, i.e. ‘climate services’. He was a driving force behind the initiation of the Newton Fund Climate Science for Service Partnership China (CSSP China), in which scientists from both China and the UK are now working together to develop fundamental climate science and climate services.

- Stephen is a member of the Government Chief Scientific Advisor’s network.
- Stephen is a member of the Joint Scientific Committee of the World Climate Research Programme.
- In 2002, Stephen received the Rosenstiel Award for Oceanography for outstanding research in oceanographic science.
- In 2011 he presented the Scruton Lecture at the Institution of Civil Engineers.

About the Series

Supported through the Houghton Fund, Houghton Lecturers are distinguished visitors from outside MIT who we invite to spend a period of time, ranging from a week to several months as scientists-in-residence within our Program. During their stay it is customary for each lecturer to offer a short-course or a series of lectures on some topic of wide interest.