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:

Congratulations to Luke for his outstanding poster!

Luke was recognized for Outstanding Student Poster Presentation at the June 2016 Gordon Research Conference on the Biological Pump in Hong Kong. Congratulations Luke!

New paper on North Altantic CO2 flux variability

Congratulations to Melissa Breeden for getting our publication in Biogeoscience across the finish line!  We use MITgcm.NA to illustrate that the Atlantic Multidecadal Oscillation is the dominant mode of CO2 flux variability in the absence of anthropogenic forcing.

Promotion to Full Professor

Galen has been promoted to Full Professor, effective August 2016. Thanks to all in the group for your hard work over the years that has helped to make this possible!

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.

Note to Prospective Students

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.