Lynne Talley is a Distinguished Professor of Physical Oceanography in the Climate, Atmospheric Sciences, and Physical Oceanography division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego.
Talley’s research focuses on the general circulation of the ocean and the role of various oceanic and atmospheric conditions that affect ocean currents and property distributions, including salinity. Her work involves analysis of data from most of the world’s oceans, depicting the movement of heat, salinity, and water masses, and the formation of water masses, particularly in subpolar regions.
She received a BA in physics and a BM in piano performance in 1976 from Oberlin College in Oberlin, OH. She received a PhD in physical oceanography from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology–Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in 1982.
Prior to joining Scripps, Talley was a postdoctoral researcher at Oregon State University in Corvallis. While at Scripps, she has done research that combines analysis of ocean observations with advanced theoretical work to describe and map large-scale circulation, and understand the ocean's role in climate. Talley has spent many months on research ships collecting oceanographic data and is continuously active in international steering groups and oversight committees for collection and use of oceanographic data. She is the lead author of a graduate level textbook on descriptive physical oceanography.
She was a lead author of the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report Working Group I chapter “Observations: Oceanic Climate Change and Sea Level,” which was released in February 2007. The report earned contributing scientists a share of the Nobel Peace Prize later that year. She was also a lead author on the same topic for the Fifth Assessment Report, released in 2013.
She was elected a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2003, a fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2006, a fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 2008, a fellow of the Oceanography Society in 2010, and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in 2017. She was awarded the Rosenstiel Award (University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science) in 2001, the Huntsman Award (Bedford Institute of Oceanography) in 2003, the Henry Stommel Research Award (American Meteorological Society) in 2017, and the Fridtjof Nansen Award (European Geosciences Union) in 2017.
Talley and her family reside in Solana Beach, CA.