GALEN A. McKINLEY

Professor 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.


Prof. Galen A. McKinley

Current Events:

Promotion to Full Professor

Galen has been promoted to Full Professor. Thanks to all in the group for your hard work over the years that has helped to make this possible!

Amanda Fay in the Indian Ocean on GO-SHIP I09N

Amanda is on the I09N GO-SHIP section for March 15- May 1. Get her updates from her blog.

Congratulations to Colleen Mouw for her 2016 PECASE award!

Colleen Mouw, a former postdoc in the McKinley group, now on the faculty at Michigan Technological University, has been named a 2016 PECASE award winner! A well-deserved honor – Congratulations!

Coastal carbon science plan now available

Check out the new plan for coastal carbon cycle science, just released:

Benway, H., Alin, S., Boyer, E., Cai, W.-J., Coble, P., Cross, J., Friedrichs, M., Goñi, M., Griffith, P., Herrmann, M., Lohrenz, S., Mathis, J., McKinley, G., Najjar, R., Pilskaln, C., Siedlecki, S., Smith, R., 2016. A Science Plan for Carbon Cycle Research in North American Coastal Waters. Report of the Coastal CARbon Synthesis (CCARS) community workshop, August 19-21, 2014, Ocean Carbon and Biogeochemistry Program and North American Carbon Program, 84 pp., DOI 10.1575/1912/7777.

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.