MIT EAPS Directory

Patrick Heimbach

Visiting Associate Professor

Patrick Heimbach is associate professor at the University of Texas at Austin with tenure in the Department of Geological Sciences, and with joint appointments in the Institute for Computational Engineering and Sciences (ICES), the Jackson School for Geosciences (JSG), and the Institute for Geophysics (UTIG). At ICES he is the fellow of the W. A. “Tex” Moncrief, Jr., endowed chair III in Simulation-Based Engineering and Sciences. Previously, he has worked for 16 years in the physical oceanography group in MITs Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), most recently as Senior Research Scientist and Visiting Associate Professor. He earned his Ph.D. in 1998 from the Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology and the University of Hamburg, Germany, working with Prof. Klaus Hasselmann on global ocean surface wave remote sensing and modeling.

Dr. Heimbach’s main interest is understanding the general circulation of the ocean and its role in the global climate system. As part of the “Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean” (ECCO) consortium that originated under the National Oceanographic Partnership Program (NOPP), he and his group are applying formal inverse modeling techniques for the
purpose of fitting a state-of-the-art general circulation model (the MITgcm) with much of the available satellite and in-situ observations to produce a best possible estimate of the time- evolving three-dimensional state over the past few decades of the global ocean and sea ice cover. ECCO products support global and regional ocean circulation and climate variability research on time scales of days to decades. Emerging research foci are understanding the dynamics of global and regional sea level change, the provision of formal uncertainties along with these estimates and implications for improving the global ocean observing system for climate.

Dr. Heimbach has also become interested in the cryosphere. He and his group are improving simulations of coupled sea ice-ocean dynamics in the Arctic and the Southern Ocean. Furthermore, they are investigating the polar ice sheets, their dynamics, their interaction with the ocean, and their contributions to sea level change.

Since 2000 Dr. Heimbach has been responsible for the algorithmic differentiation-enabled adjoint code generation and maintenance of the MITgcm, which includes a full dynamic/thermodynamic sea ice, a biogeochemical component, and an ice stream/ice shelf module. He has also been closely involved from the outset, together with colleagues at the Argonne National Lab, in the development of the open-source tool OpenAD.

Dr. Heimbach has acted as a founding co-chair of the U.S. CLIVAR working group on Greenland Ice Sheet-Ocean Interactions (GRISO). He is part of the US AMOC science team and NASA’s Sea Level Change Team (N-SLCT). He is also science team member of NASA’s Surface Water & Ocean Tpography (SWOT) and Gravity Recovery And Climate Experiment (GRACE) satellite missions. Since 2015 Dr. Heimbach serves on the CLIVAR/CliC/SCAR Southern Ocean Region Panel (SORP) and the CLIVAR Decadal Climate Variability and Predictability (DCVP) working group. He is co-founder and co-organizer of the international UiB/MIT/UW Advanced Climate Dynamics Courses (ACDC), held annually since 2009, and is involved in various national and international collaborations.

Contact Information

t: 512-232-7694

e: heimbach@mit.edu

Office

The University of Texas at Austin, 201 East 24th Street, POB 4.232, Austin, TX

Education

Ph.D. (Dr. rer. nat.), Max-Planck-Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany, 1998
M.Sc. (Dipl. Phys.), University of Bonn, Germany, 1993

Administrative Assistant