Dean H. Roemmich
Professor of Oceanography
Integrative Oceanography Division
Climate, Atmospheric Science, and Physical Oceanography Division

Dean Roemmich is a professor of oceanography in the Integrative Oceanography Division and Climate, Atmospheric Science, and Physical Oceanography Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. He is an expert in the general circulation of the oceans and the role of the ocean in the climate system.

Roemmich teaches courses on observations of large-scale ocean circulation and advises graduate students in the physical oceanography and climate science programs.

Born in Minneapolis, Minn., Roemmich received a bachelor’s degree in physics from Swarthmore College and a PhD in oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology–Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program in Oceanography.

Roemmich is a leader in the Argo program (, a long-term project involving an international team of scientists that recently achieved a milestone of 3,000 free-drifting profiling floats in the world’s oceans. Using technology developed at Scripps, Argo floats drift about a mile below the ocean surface for a period of 10 days. The floats then rise to the sea surface, collecting a vertical profile of temperature and salinity that is immediately transmitted via satellite to an Argo Data Center. The floats then return to their assigned depth and continue making measurements for a lifetime of about five years, surfacing every 10 days to report their data. All Argo data is publicly available on the Internet.

The global array of 3,000 floats provides data from the subsurface ocean that is necessary to complement and interpret satellite measurements of sea-surface height and surface wind. The combined measurements will improve our understanding of the climate system and enable better prediction of seasonal-to-interannual climate variability. Roemmich serves as co-chairman of the International Argo Steering Team and coordinator of the U.S. Argo Project, and led the original design team of the Argo array.

Roemmich’s role in the development and implementation of the Argo array, as well as earlier research achievements, led to his receipt of the Sverdrup Gold Medal from by the American Meteorological Society (AMS).

His experience in education includes his role as a Peace Corps volunteer at Tonga High School, Nuku’alofa, Tonga, and the University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji. He was education coordinator for three Peace Corps training projects in Tonga.

He is a member of the international Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) Global Synthesis and Observations Panel, the NASA Ocean Surface Topography Science Working Team, the Ship of Opportunity Implementation Panel, and the Pacific Islands Global Ocean Observing System Steering Team. He’s technical advisor to a curriculum development program (SEREAD) introducing ocean science examples and data into the curricula of Pacific Island school systems.

He has carried out basic research in large-scale ocean circulation and climate – implementing new technologies and designing, collecting, and analyzing new datasets in all of the world’s oceans.

Last updated January 2008