Ferrari Receives Prestigious Award for Excellence in Oceanography

EAPS News
Thursday, October 20, 2016

Raffaele Ferrari, the Cecil and Ida Green Professor in Earth and Planetary Sciences and Chair of the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate, receives the 2016 Robert L. and Bettie P. Cody Award in Ocean Sciences.


EAPS in Brief: An interview with Raffaele Ferrari - video credit: Helen Hill

The Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego biannually bestows the Cody Award on a scientist in recognition of his outstanding contributions to and achievement in physical oceanography, marine biology, and earth science. While several individuals were considered for the prestigious prize, Ferrari’s “pioneering efforts toward understanding the nature and rates of oceanic mixing and their consequences for the general circulation,” were among several reasons for his selection.

MIT Professor Emeritus of Physical Oceanography Carl Wunschs seasoned insight and justification helped to settle the matter.

"Raffaele Ferrari is awarded the 2016 Cody Prize for his stimulating and collaborative work directed at mechanisms of oceanic mixing and their interesting and sometimes unexpected consequences. With colleagues he has worked to greatly improve the rendering of mixing processes in numerical models directed at climate change and along the way has illuminated mixing processes with special attention to the submesoscale near the ocean surface, the mixed-layer generally, and the internal tide/internal wave field in its interactions with topography. He has applied these ideas towards illuminating the oceanic energy field, the paleocirculation, and studied the consequences for climate change generally."

Raffaele Ferrari’s research examines the circulation of the ocean, its impact on present and past climates, and its role on shaping biological productivity. His group combines observations, theory and numerical models to investigate the physics and biology of the ocean from scales of centimeters to thousand of kilometers. He collaborates with several groups and centers across the institute, including the Climate Modeling Initiative, the MIT-WHOI Joint Program and MITgcm.

In addition to the accolade, Scripps Institution of Oceanography invited Ferrari to present its 2016 Cody Award public lecture. In his October 12 lecture “The Role of Ocean Turbulence in Climate,” Ferrari showed how small-scale ocean features can translate significant effects to the larger ocean and climate systems, but because of their size, they are too small to be incorporated into global climate models. Atmospheric clouds share a similar issue.

Before arriving at MIT, Ferrari attended the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and Politecnico di Torino, garnering PhDs in physical oceanography and fluid dynamics respectively. So, when Ferrari learned that he’d be the 13th recipient of the Cody Award, the selection held a special significance.

“I was a graduate student at Scripps from 1995 until 2000, so I am particularly honored to receive an award from my alma mater,” said Ferrari. “I remember attending the Cody Award lectures as a student, but I never imagined I would be delivering one in the future.

The endowment for the Cody Award was established by the late Robert Cody and his wife Bettie, along with a significant contribution from Capital Research & Management Company, in recognition of Mr. Cody’s service to the Los Angeles-based firm.

Adapted from a story first published at Oceans@MIT

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Raffaele Ferrari studies the circulation of the ocean, its impact on present and past climates, and its role on shaping biological productivity. His group combines observations, theory and numerical models to investigate the physics of the ocean and atmosphere from scales of centimeters to thousand of kilometers.

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