I am interested in understanding how the oceans work. Heat goes in (and out), fresh water and different chemicals are added (and subtracted), and resulting changes in density create pressure gradients that drive currents - which are in turn modified by the tidal effects of the moon, the spin of the earth, and friction against the solid boundaries. All of this is hidden below the surface - even trying to decide where the water goes can be difficult, never mind the why!
Currently I have a number of different research interests, mostly based in the beautiful and fascinating waters around British Columbia. The deep fjords and many islands provide many interesting oceanographic problems and the dynamics of the region are immensely important to the people of BC for both economic and social reasons.
The approach taken towards understanding these problems is to combine complex fieldwork with careful mathematical analysis at my desk (think of it as brawn and brains). I go to sea in ships ranging in size from the 7m department whaler to the 80m CCGS J. P. Tully (and sometimes fly above the sea in small planes and helicopters). As well as using standard techniques for sampling the ocean temperature and salinity I am also actively developing new methods for flow visualization using acoustics and optics.
Links to other pages that include my work:
- Currently I have a program to study surface flows using cheap (expendable) satellite-tracked drifters - maps and info here!
- New in 2021, an Atlas of Oceanographic Conditions in the Strait of Georgia
- Keeping track of the ocean is important; we provide some specialized West Coast time series here.
- In the last decade I have been involved in the development of the new seawater standard, TEOS-10 (This is actually quite exciting - a brief introduction to TEOS-10 is available here, or if you want to read about the history of how a small group of the right people can solve a complex problem try reading the Preface article here).
- Finally, I have written a number of Matlab software packages useful for oceanographers and other geoscientists, you can get them here: http://www.eos.ubc.ca/~rich/
Important Information for prospective students:
Please feel free to contact me about graduate opportunities, since they come up more often than web pages get updated. HOWEVER, be aware that physical oceanography is a mathematical field, which really does require being able to develop (and solve) partial differential equations in order to interpret field data. Knowledge of linear algebra and time series analysis are also helpful, but not quite as necessary.
Generally speaking, a math background as far as (and including) partial differential equations in the 3rd or 4th years of an undergraduate degree is a pre-requisite for graduate work. Math or physics degrees often have this kind of content. Other degree programs may also be suitable, but your email has a much better chance of being answered if you can clearly outline your math skills.
Not all courses in the same year!
B.Sc. (Hons) (1987) Queen's University;
Ph.D. (1988-1994) WHOI/MIT Joint Program;
Postdoctoral: 1994-1996 Institute of Ocean Sciences, BC;
Faculty Member, UBC (1996 - ).
Chair, Joint SCOR/IAPWS/IAPSO Committee on the Properties of Seawater (JCS)
Chair, IAPWS Subcommittee on Seawater
Deputy leader, MEOPAR Observation Core
Member, MEOPAR Research Management Committee
PDFs and RAs
- M. Halverson (2013-2017)
- Romain di Constanzo (2015-2017)
- Mark Halverson (Ph.D. 2003-2009)
- Caixia Wang (Ph.D. 2002-2009)
- Mike Hodal (M.Sc. 2008-2011)
- Olivier Riche (Ph.D. 2004-2011)
- Ben Scheifele (M.Sc. 2011-2013)
- Chuning Wang (M.Sc. 2012-2015)
- Artem Zaloga (M.Sc. 2013-2016)
- Lan Li (Ph.D. 2018, visiting from Ocean University of China 2017-2018)
- Sam Stevens (Ph.D., 2017-)
- Nik Simantiris (M.Sc., 2017-2019)
- Mina Masoud (Ph.D, visiting from Tehran University, 2017-2019)
- Ed Mason (M.Sc., 2019-)
- Shumin Li (M.Sc., 2019-)
- Nicole Mcewan (M.Sc., 2019-)
- Li Wang (Ph.D., visiting from Wuhan University, China, 2019-)
- Darren Thomson (summer 2002)
- Amber Kelter (fall/winter 2002/3)
- Kyla Drushka (summer 2004)
- Marianne Jensen (2004-2005)
- Megan Wolfe (2005-2006)
- Melissa Rohde (summer 2006)
- Adrian Jones (2010-2011)
- Marianne Williams (summer 2011)
- Tara Howatt (fall 2012)
- Janet Lam (summer 2016)
- Kevin Fan (winter 2017)
- Vahid Dehghanniri (2017, volunteer)
- Emily Tyhurst (summer 2017)
- Nicholas Larsen (summer 2017)
- Forbes Choy (winter 2018)
- Reese Chappel (summer 2018)
- Andrew Ta (fall 2018-2020, volunteer)
- Iris Gao (winter 2019)
- May Wang (summer 2019)
- Natasha Moysiuk (summer 2019)
- Trent Suzuki (winter 2020)
- Isabelle Lao (winter 2020, volunteer)
- Brianne Boufford (winter 2021)
S. Esenkulova, K. Suchy, R. Pawlowicz, M. Costa, I. Pearsall, 2021, Harmful algae and oceanographic conditions in the Strait of Georgia, Canada based on Citizen Science Monitoring,, Front. Mar. Sci., 09 September 2021 | https://doi.org/10.3389/fmars.2021.725092, 23pp.
F. Ji, R. Pawlowicz, X. Xiong, 2021, Estimating the Absolute Salinity of Chinese offshore waters using nutrients and inorganic carbon data, Ocean Sci., 17, 909–918, https://doi.org/10.5194/os-17-909-2021.
M. Masoud and R. Pawlowicz, 2021, Currents Generated by the Sea Breeze in the Southern Caspian Sea, Ocean Sci. Discuss. https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2021-57 [preprint] (in review)
R. Pawlowicz, C. Chavanne, D. Dumont, R. Hourston, D. Schillinger, N. Soontiens, 2021, TReX Surface Dye Release Phase 1 Drifter Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5683/SP2/EFTSXM, Scholars Portal Dataverse, V1
R. Pawlowicz and B. Boufford, 2021, Atlas of oceanographic conditions in the Strait of Georgia, sogdatacentre.ca/atlas [Web publication]
R. Pawlowicz and R. Yerubandi, 2021, Water as a Substance, Chapter 2, Wetzel: Limnology, 4th edition, editors J. Smol and I Jones, submitted.
L. Wang, R. Pawlowicz, X. Wu, and X. Yue, 2021, Wintertime variability of Currents in the southwestern Taiwan Strait, J.Geophys. Research,126, e2020JC016586, https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JC016586
S.W. Stevens, R. Pawlowicz, S.E. Allen, 2021, A study of the intermediate water circulation in the Strait of Georgia using tracer-based, Eulerian, and Lagrangian methods, J. Physical Oceanography, 51 (6) 1875-1893 https://doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-20-0225.1
McDougall, T. J., Barker, P. M., Holmes, R. M., Pawlowicz, R., Griffies, S. M., and Durack, P. J., 2021 : The interpretation of temperature and salinity variables in numerical ocean model output, and the calculation of heat fluxes and heat content, Geosci. Model Dev. Discuss. [preprint], https://doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2020-426, (accepted for publication)
R. Pawlowicz, 2021, The Grounding of Floating Objects in a Marginal Sea, J. Physical Oceanography, https://doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-20-0183.1 51, 537-551.
R. Pawlowicz, T. Suzuki, R. Chapell, A. Ta, and S. Esenkulova, 2020, Atlas of oceanographic conditions in the Strait of Georgia (2015-2019) based on the Pacific Salmon Foundation's citizen science dataset, Canadian Technical Report of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences 3374, vii +116 p.
D. Bourgault, R. Pawlowicz and C. Richards, 2020. g_rect : a MATLAB package for georectifying oblique images [Source Code]. doi.org/10.24433/CO.4037678.v1 (NB - I had little to do with this except providing DB with some code early on, but its a useful link)
R. Pawlowicz, 2020, Salish Sea surface drifter dataset (2015-2018), https://doi.org/10.5683/SP2/C8MJOA, Scholars Portal Dataverse, V1
J. Gemmrich and R. Pawlowicz, 2020, Wind Waves in the Strait of Georgia, Atmosphere-Ocean, 58 (2), 79-97,
S.C.Johannessen, C.W. Greer, C.G. Hannah, T.L. King, K. Lee, R. Pawlowicz, C.A. Wright, 2019, Fate of diluted bitumen spilled in the coastal waters of British Columbia, Canada, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 150, 110691, 13 pp., DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2019.110691
S. Haas, D. Desai, J. LaRoche, R. Pawlowicz, D. W.. R. Wallace, 2019, Geomicrobiology of the carbon, nitrogen and sulphur cycles in Powell Lake: a permanently stratified water column containing ancient seawater, Environmental Microbiology, 21: 3927-3952, DOI: 10.1111/1462-2920.14743
R. Pawlowicz, C. Hannah, and A. Rosenberger, 2019, Lagrangian Observations of estuarine residence times, dispersion and trapping in the Salish Sea, Estuarine Coastal and Shelf Science, 225, 106246, 16pp, DOI: 10.1016/j.ecss.2019.106246
M. Masoud, R. Pawlowicz, and M Montazeri Namim, 2019, Low frequency variations in currents on the southern continental shelf of the Caspian Sea, Dynamics of Atmospheres and Oceans DOI: 10.1016/j.dynatmoce.2019.05.004
Cn. Wang, R. Pawlowicz, and A. Sastri, 2019. Diurnal and seasonal variability of near‐surface oxygen in the Strait of Georgia, J. Geophys. Res., 124, 2418– 2439. DOI: 10.1029/2018JC014766
L. Li., R. Pawlowicz, and Cx. Wang, 2018. Seasonal Variability and Generation Mechanisms of Nonlinear Internal Waves in the Strait of Georgia, J. Geophys. Res., 123, 5706– 5726, https://doi.org/10.1029/2017JC013563
M. Halverson, R. Pawlowicz, and J. Gower, 2018, Comparison of drifting buoy velocities to HF radar radial velocities from the Ocean Networks Canada Strait of Georgia 25 MHz CODAR array, Canadian Technical Report of Hydrography and Ocean Sciences 319, 38pp.
R. Pawlowicz, R. Di Costanzo, M. Halverson, E. Devred & S. Johannessen, 2017. Advection, Surface Area, and Sediment Load of the Fraser River Plume Under Variable Wind and River Forcing, Atmosphere-Ocean, 55:4-5, 293-313,
R. Pawlowicz, 2017. Seasonal Cycles, Hypoxia, and Renewal in a Coastal Fjord (Barkley Sound, British Columbia), Atmosphere-Ocean, 55:4-5, 264-283,
Cx. Wang & R. Pawlowicz, 2017. Internal wave generation from tidal flow exiting a constricted opening. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. 122:110–125.
R. Pawlowicz 2017. Salinity in the Ocean. Encyclopedia of Sustainable Technologies. Ed. M. Abraham, Vol 4 , Sustainable Water and Energy Systems:135–143.
M. Halverson, R. Pawlowicz, C. Chavanne 2017. Dependence of 25-MHz HF Radar Working Range on Near-Surface Conductivity, Sea State, and Tides. Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology. 34:447-462.
M. Wolfe, S.E.. Allen, M. Hodal, R. Pawlowicz, B.P.V. Hunt, D. Tommasi 2016. Impact of advection loss due to wind and estuarine circulation on the timing of the spring phytoplankton bloom in a fjord. ICES JOURNAL OF MARINE SCIENCE. 73:1589-1609.
M. Halverson & R. Pawlowicz, 2016, Tide, Wind, and River Forcing of the Surface Currents in the Fraser River Plume, Atmosphere-Ocean, 54:2, 131-152,
R. Pawlowicz, R. Feistel, T.J. McDougall, P. Ridout, S. Seitz, H. Wolf, 2016. Metrological challenges for measurements of key climatological observables Part 2: Oceanic salinity. METROLOGIA. 53:R12-R25.
R. Feistel, R. Wielgosz, S.A. Bell, M.F. Camoes, J.R. Cooper, P. Dexter, A.G. Dickson, P. Fisicaro, A.H. Harvey, M. Heinonen et al.. 2016. Metrological challenges for measurements of key climatological observables: oceanic salinity and pH, and atmospheric humidity. Part 1: overview. METROLOGIA. 53:R1-R11.
A.G. Dickson, M.F. Camoes, P. Spitzer, P. Fisicaro, D. Stoica, R. Pawlowicz, R. Feistel. 2016. Metrological challenges for measurements of key climatological observables. Part 3: Seawater pH. METROLOGIA. 53:R26-R39.
Pawlowicz R. 2015. The Absolute Salinity of seawater diluted by riverwater. DEEP-SEA RESEARCH PART I-OCEANOGRAPHIC RESEARCH PAPERS. 101:71-79.
Pawlowicz R. 2015. Electrical Properties of Sea Water: Theory and Applications☆. Reference Module in Earth Systems and Environmental Sciences, doi.org/10.1016/B978-0-12-409548-9.09578-6
B. Scheifele, R. Pawlowicz, T. Sommer, A. Wuest 2014. Double Diffusion in Saline Powell Lake, British Columbia. JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL OCEANOGRAPHY. 44:2893-2908.
O.G.J. Riche and R. Pawlowicz R. 2014. Variability in a fjord-like coastal estuary I: Quantifying the circulation using a formal multi-tracer inverse approach. ESTUARINE COASTAL AND SHELF SCIENCE. 137:1-13.
Q. Tang, Cx. Wang, D. Wang, and R. Pawlowicz 2014. Seismic, satellite, and site observations of internal solitary waves in the NE South China Sea. Scientific reports. 4, Article number 5374.
M.J. Halverson, and R. Pawlowicz 2013. High-resolution observations of chlorophyll-a biomass from an instrumented ferry: Influence of the Fraser River plume from 2003 to 2006. CONTINENTAL SHELF RESEARCH. 59:52-64.
R. Pawlowicz 2013. Key Physical Variables in the Ocean: Temperature, Salinity, and Density. Nature Education Knowledge . 4(4):13.
T.J. McDougall, R. Feistel, and R. Pawlowicz 2013. Chapter 6. Thermodynamics of Seawater. Ocean Circulation and Climate. A 21st Century Perspective. :141-158.
P.D. Tortell, A. Merzouk, D. Ianson, R. Pawlowicz, D.R. Yelland 2012. Influence of regional climate forcing on surface water pCO(2), Delta O-2/Ar and dimethylsulfide (DMS) along the southern British Columbia coast CONTINENTAL SHELF RESEARCH. 47:119-132.
R. Pawlowicz, and R. Feistel 2012. Limnological applications of the Thermodynamic Equation of Seawater 2010 (TEOS-10). LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY-METHODS. 10:853-867.
Cx. Wang and R. Pawlowicz 2012. Oblique wave-wave interactions of nonlinear near-surface internal waves in the Strait of Georgia. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS. 117
R. Pawlowicz. 2012. The electrical conductivity of seawater at high temperatures and salinities. DESALINATION. 300:32-39.
T.J. McDougall, D.R. Jackett, F.J. Millero, R. Pawlowicz, P.M. Barker 2012. A global algorithm for estimating Absolute Salinity. OCEAN SCIENCE. 8:1123-1134.
R. Pawlowicz, T.J. McDougall, R. Feistel, R. Tailleux 2012. An historical perspective on the development of the Thermodynamic Equation of Seawater-2010. OCEAN SCIENCE. 8:161-174.
Cx. Wang and R. Pawlowicz 2011. Propagation speeds of strongly nonlinear near-surface internal waves in the Strait of Georgia. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS. 116
M. Halverson and R. Pawlowicz 2011. Entrainment and flushing time in the Fraser River estuary and plume from a steady salt balance analysis. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS. 116
R. Pawlowicz, D.G. Wright, F.J. Millero 2011. The effects of biogeochemical processes on oceanic conductivity/salinity/density relationships and the characterization of real seawater. OCEAN SCIENCE. 7:363-387.
D.G. Wright, R. Pawlowicz, T.J. McDougall, R. Feistel, G.M. Marion 2011. Absolute Salinity, ``Density Salinity'' and the Reference-Composition Salinity Scale: present and future use in the seawater standard TEOS-10. OCEAN SCIENCE. 7:1-26.
Pawlowicz R, McClure B.. 2010. Inverted echosounder for continuous high-resolution water column profiling from the NEPTUNE (Canada) ocean observatory. OCEANS 2010 MTS/IEEE SEATTLE. :1-8.
Feistel R., Marion G.M, Pawlowicz R, Wright D.G. 2010. Thermophysical property anomalies of Baltic seawater. OCEAN SCIENCE. 6:949-981.
Pawlowicz R. 2010. A model for predicting changes in the electrical conductivity, practical salinity, and absolute salinity of seawater due to variations in relative chemical composition. OCEAN SCIENCE. 6:361-378.
Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, International Association for the Physical Sciences of the Oceans, 2010. The international thermodynamic equation of seawater - 2010: Calculation and use of thermodynamic properties. Manual and Guides No. 56. :196.
A. Collins K, Allen S.E, Pawlowicz R. 2009. The role of wind in determining the timing of the spring bloom in the Strait of Georgia. CANADIAN JOURNAL OF FISHERIES AND AQUATIC SCIENCES. 66:1597-1616.
Tedford E.W, Carpenter J.R, Pawlowicz R, Pieters R., Lawrence G.A. 2009. Observation and analysis of shear instability in the Fraser River estuary. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS. 114
Halverson MJ, Pawlowicz R. 2008. Estuarine forcing of a river plume by river flow and tides. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS. 113
Pawlowicz R. 2008. Calculating the conductivity of natural waters. LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY-METHODS. 6:489-501.
Pawlowicz R, Baldwin SA, Muttray A, Schmidtova J, Laval B, Lamont G. 2007. Physical, chemical, and microbial regimes in an anoxic fjord (Nitinat Lake). LIMNOLOGY AND OCEANOGRAPHY. 52:1002-1017.
Pawlowicz R, Riche O, Halverson M. 2007. The circulation and residence time of the Strait of Georgia using a simple mixing-box approach. ATMOSPHERE-OCEAN. 45:173-193.
Pawlowicz R. 2003. Quantitative visualization of geophysical flows using low-cost oblique digital time-lapse imaging. IEEE JOURNAL OF OCEANIC ENGINEERING. 28:699-710.
Pawlowicz R, Beardsley B, Lentz S. 2002. Classical tidal harmonic analysis including error estimates in MATLAB using T-TIDE. COMPUTERS & GEOSCIENCES. 28:929-937.
Farmer D, Pawlowicz R, Jiang R. 2002. Tilting separation flows: a mechanism for intense vertical mixing in the coastal ocean. DYNAMICS OF ATMOSPHERES AND OCEANS. 36:43-58.
Pawlowicz R. 2002. Observations and linear analysis of sill-generated internal tides and estuarine flow in Haro Strait. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS. 107
Pawlowicz R. 2001. A tracer method for determining transport in two-layer systems, applied to the Strait of Georgia/Haro Strait/Juan de Fuca Strait estuarine system. ESTUARINE COASTAL AND SHELF SCIENCE. 52:491-503.
Pawlowicz R, Farmer DM. 1998. Diagnosing vertical mixing in a two-layer exchange flow. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS. 103:30695-30711.
Pawlowicz R, Farmer D, Sotirin B, Ozard S. 1996. Shallow-water receptions from the transarctic acoustic propagation experiment. JOURNAL OF THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA. 100:1482-1492.
Morawitz WML, Sutton PJ, Worcester PF, Cornuelle BD, Lynch JF, Pawlowicz R. 1996. Three-dimensional observations of a deep convective chimney in the Greenland sea during Winter 1988/89. JOURNAL OF PHYSICAL OCEANOGRAPHY. 26:2316-2343.
Parsons AR, Bourke RH, Muench RD, Chiu CS, Lynch JF, Miller JH, Plueddemann AJ, Pawlowicz R. 1996. The Barents Sea Polar Front in summer. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS. 101:14201-14221.
Lynch JF, Jin GL, Pawlowicz R, Ray D, Chiu CS, Miller JH, Bourke RH, Parsons AR, Muench R. 1996. Acoustic travel-time perturbations due to shallow-water internal waves and internal tides in the Barents Sea Polar Front: Theory and experiment. JOURNAL OF THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA. 99:803-821.
DUDA TF, Pawlowicz R, Lynch JF, Cornuelle BD. 1995. SIMULATED TOMOGRAPHIC RECONSTRUCTION OF OCEAN FEATURES USING DRIFTING ACOUSTIC RECEIVERS AND A NAVIGATED SOURCE. JOURNAL OF THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA. 98:2270-2279.
Pawlowicz R, Lynch JF, OWENS WB, Worcester PF, Morawitz WML, Sutton PJ. 1995. THERMAL EVOLUTION OF THE GREENLAND SEA GYRE IN 1988-1989. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS. 100:4727-4750.
Pawlowicz R. 1995. A NOTE ON SEASONAL CYCLES OF TEMPERATURE AND SALINITY IN THE UPPER WATERS OF THE GREENLAND SEA GYRE FROM HISTORICAL DATA. JOURNAL OF GEOPHYSICAL RESEARCH-OCEANS. 100:4715-4726.
Jin GL, Lynch JF, Pawlowicz R, WORCESTER P. 1994. ACOUSTIC SCATTERING LOSSES IN THE GREENLAND SEA MARGINAL ICE-ZONE DURING THE 1988-89 TOMOGRAPHY EXPERIMENT. JOURNAL OF THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA. 96:3045-3053.
Pawlowicz R, Lynch JF, OWENS WB, Worcester PF. 1994. DEEP-WATER FORMATION IN THE GREENLAND SEA - NEW TECHNOLOGIES INVESTIGATE AN OLD MYSTERY. OCEANUS. 37:9-11.
Jin GL, Lynch JF, Pawlowicz R, WADHAMS P. 1993. EFFECTS OF SEA-ICE COVER ON ACOUSTIC RAY TRAVEL-TIMES, WITH APPLICATIONS TO THE GREENLAND SEA TOMOGRAPHY EXPERIMENT. JOURNAL OF THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA. 94:1044-1057.
Lynch JF, WU HX, Pawlowicz R, Worcester PF, KEENAN RE, GRABER HC, JOHANNESSEN OM, WADHAMS P, SHUCHMAN RA. 1993. AMBIENT NOISE MEASUREMENTS IN THE 200-300-HZ BAND FROM THE GREENLAND SEA TOMOGRAPHY EXPERIMENT. JOURNAL OF THE ACOUSTICAL SOCIETY OF AMERICA. 94:1015-1033.