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Dr. Olivier Marchal

Senior Scientist
Geology and Geophysics

Contact Information:
Work: 508-289-3374
Building: Clark 109A

Mailing Address:
266 Woods Hole Road, MS #23
Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Woods Hole, MA 02543

Research Interests

My research interests concern predominantly the large-scale circulation in the ocean, with emphasis on its variability on a range of time scales, including those that are resolved by deep-sea sediment records. I am interested in using water property measurements to estimate the circulation and in understanding the role of non-conservative processes in the distribution of chemical substances in the sea.

My research strategy operates along three lines.

  1. I combine observations with models using inverse methods in order to address estimation problems in oceanography and paleoceanography.
  2. I develop and apply numerical models of ocean circulation that are simplified and computationally efficient in order to isolate fundamental aspects of the circulation and study its variability on long time scales.
  3. More marginally but with equal interest, I conduct laboratory experiments with rotating turntables in order to develop understanding of the dynamics of geophysical fluids.


2006. Habilitation Thesis: Meteorology & Physical Oceanography. French Ministry of Education

1996. Doctoral Thesis: Meteorology, Oceanography, Environment. University Pierre & Marie Curie, Paris

1991. Masters Degree: Modeling of Marine Environment. University of Liège

1990. Master Degree: Oceanography. University of Liège

1988. Bachelors Degree: Physical Geography. University of Brussels

Current Students

Vinicius Amaral - Guest Student
Siyuan 'Sean' Chen - SSF Student
Faith Duffy - JP student

News / Announcements

1) Postdoctoral Investigator Job Posting - G&G


2) Graduate Student in MIT-WHOI Joint Program: I am seeking a student to analyze a recent near-global compilation of measurements of radiocarbon activity in fossil benthic foraminifera and deep-sea corals. The goal of this project is to extract information about changes in the ventilation of deep oceanic basins since the end of the last Ice Age and to test the hypothesis that deep-ocean ventilation changes contributed to the pre-industrial changes in the concentration of atmospheric carbon dioxide as measured in Antarctic ice cores. Strong skills in data analysis and interests in ocean models and data are desired.