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Benjamin Barr

Postdoctoral Investigator
Department of Physical Oceanography

Contact Information:
Tel: (512)-415-7939
Office: Clark 214a

Mailing Address:
266 Woods Hole Road, MS #21
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole, MA 02543

Research Interests

Air-sea interaction, air-sea fluxes and physical processes in high winds, ocean surface waves, sea spray, tropical and extratropical cyclone intensification and connections to air-sea processes, coupled atmosphere-wave-ocean regional modeling, model and parameterization development


Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences, 2023, University of Washington, Seattle, WA

M.S. in Mechanical Engineering, 2012, University of Texas, Austin, TX

B.S. in Mechanical Engineering, 2010, University of Texas, Austin, TX

About Me

I am interested in fluxes and physical processes at the air-sea interface and how these influence high-impact atmospheric systems such as hurricanes and extratropical cyclones.  I am particularly fascinated by the physics of air-sea interaction in high winds, where phenomena such as wave breaking and sea spray ejection push the limits of current understanding and modeling capabilities.  I approach these challenging topics by developing physics-based air-sea flux parameterizations and model coupling strategies, implementing them in fully coupled atmosphere-wave-ocean regional models, and performing numerical experiments to understand the complex interactions connecting storms to air-sea processes.  While at WHOI for my postdoc, I am also exploring techniques to make the difficult observations critically needed to understand high-wind air-sea interface physics and to calibrate models.  I view improvement of fully coupled atmosphere-wave-ocean modeling systems as a fantastic opportunity for enhancing our understanding of severe weather systems and our ability to protect the people and built environments that are impacted by them.


Copious spray droplet formation along a breaking wave crest.  Photo: Ray Collins