Associate Professor
Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
University of Wisconsin - Madison

I study the physical structures and biogeochemical processes in large water bodies that impact large-scale carbon cycling and primary productivity. This requires an interdisciplinary approach across fluid dynamics, aquatic chemistry and ecology. Numerical models, historical datasets, and remote sensing are my primary tools. My research group and I are currently working to (1) assess change in the global ocean carbon sink from surface ocean pCO2, (2) quantify recent carbon uptake and productivity changes in the North Atlantic, (3) directly separate internal variability from anthropogenic change in the ocean carbon sink using large ensembles of coupled climate models, and (4) assess the biogeochemical impacts of invasive species in the Laurentian Great Lakes.

Current Events:

Illustrating the ocean’s role in the global carbon cycle

New graphics to help YOU illustrate the ocean’s role in the global carbon cycle! 

These graphics were initially sketched by Professor McKinley, and some lovely graphics are now available to all from the Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry program. Please see the link above and downloadable files for complete citation information.

Please use widely in your research talks and educational activities!

See also the new Carbon Cycle multimedia feature from WHOI.

Enhancing carbon science to support climate policy

In an opinon piece in EOS: Earth and Space News, Professor McKinley and colleagues make the case for strengthening carbon cycle science in support of policies for climate change mitigation. See a summary from the Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies here.

Prospective Students

Fall/Winter 2015 — I am always interested in discussing graduate school opportunities with students interested in using quantitative methods to learn about coupled physical-biogeochemical processes in the oceans and Great Lakes. Please have a look at my website to understand my research areas and approaches, and then contact me with any questions.

My students are usually in the Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences graduate program, but I have also worked with students in Environment and Resources. I’d also be glad to discuss opportunities with Freshwater and Marine Science prospective students.

Undergraduates interested in research are also welcome to contact me. I usually host a couple of undergraduate researchers in my group at a time.

Congratulations Dr. Chen!

On April 29, 2015, Haidi Chen successfully defended her PhD. Great work and congratulations! Haidi is now a postdoc at Princeton University working on Southern Ocean biogeochemistry with Professor Jorge Sarmiento.

Congratulations Dr. Pilcher!

On April 6, 2015, Darren Pilcher successfully defended his PhD. Congratulations. Since Summer 2015, Darren has been a National Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship at NOAA Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory in Seattle, WA.

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences