MIT EAPS Directory

Paola Rizzoli

Professor of Physical Oceanography

Research Description

Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli is a physical oceanographer  whose interests include:

i) investigation and modeling, both mathematical and numerical , of nonlinear coherent structures such as oceanic rings shed by western boundary currents and atmospheric blocking in the atmosphere;

ii) circulation and water mass formation processes of marginal, semi-enclosed seas such as the Mediterranean and Black Sea, including modeling of their shallow water ecosystems (northern Adriatic, Black Sea shelf);

iii) development of novel , theoretical methods for the assimilation of oceanic observations into general circulation ocean models (ogcm's)

iv) investigation and modeling of the processes characterizing the tropical oceans ( tropical Atlantic, South China Sea and Indonesian Through-Flow) and of their ocean/atmosphere coupled modes of interaction.

Her  most recent interests are focused on the development and application of a regional climate coupled ocean/atmosphere model for the South Asia Maritime Continent for the understanding of its present climate and the prediction of future climate scenarios. This project is part of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Program.

A constant interest throughout her career has been the study and prediction of the extreme floods affecting the city of Venice, Italy, and of its lagoon and the construction of the mobile barriers at the lagoon inlets for their protection.


Y. Sun, E.Eltahir and P. Malanotte-Rizzoli, “High –resolution projections of sea surface temperature and sea level over the western Maritime Continent “, submitted to Climate Dynamics, 2017

Y. Sun, E.Eltahir and P. Malanotte-Rizzoli (2017), “The bottom water exchange between the Singapore Strait and the West Johor Strait", Cont. Shelf. Res., 145, 32-42, doi: 10.1016/ j.csr.2017.07.004

Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli ( 2017 ), invited autobiographical article for the 2017 volume of Annual Review of Maribe Science, "Venice and I : How a City Can Determine the Fate of a Career", Ann. Rev. Mar. Sci., 9: 1-29, doi: 10.1146/annurev.-marine-010816-060632

Jun Wei, Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli,  M.-T.Li & H.Wang  (2016), "Decomposition of thermal and dynamic changes in the South China Sea induced by boundary forcing and surface fluxes during 1970-2000", J. Geophys. Res. doi: 10.1002/2016JC01207

Jun Wei, Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli, Arnold J.Gordon, M.-T.Li & D.X. (2016) "Opposite variability of Indonesian Throughflow and South China Sea Throughflow in the Sulawesi Sea", J. Phys. Oceanogr., doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-16-0132.1

Bjorg Thomson, Pavel Tkalich & Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli  (2016), "Regime shift of the South China Sea SST in the late 1990's", Climate Dyn., doi:10.1007/s00382-016-3178-4

Bjorg Thompson, Pavel Tkalich, Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli, B.Fricot & J.Mas (2015) "Dynamical and Thermodynamical Analysis of the South China Sea winter cold tongue", Climate Dyn., doi: 10.1007/s00382-015-2924-3



Elected Union Fellow of the International Union of Geology and Geophysics (IUGG), 2015 | Singapore MIT-SMART Program Chair, Nomination from the Provost, 2013-2014 | Recognition Award from the Italian Government for the contribution to the 2007 IPCC Report on Climate Change, winner of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize | Elected Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (AGU), 2006 | Elected Fellow of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), 2002 | MASI Prize of the Italian Government for excellence in Environmental Sciences, 1998 | Editor's award of AMS as best reviewer of the year for the Journal of Physical Oceanography, 1992 | Cecil and Ida Green Scholar, Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 1978-1980

Contact Information

t: 617 253 2451





PhD , Physical Ooceanography, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 1978
PhD, Theoretical Physicas, University of Padua, Italy, 1968

Administrative Assistant