• 2.42 Sciences

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Personal profile

Key Research Interests and Expertise

My research group tries to understand the processes occurring in the ocean that are important for climate.  I am primarily an observational oceanographer, enjoying going on research cruises, but I also like to use numerical models, satellite remote sensing, or whatever tools seem appropriate. At the moment I am enthused by the new opportunities offered by ocean gliders, autonomous robots that can make measurements of the ocean in places that are otherwise too difficult.  This includes trying to understand the ocean-ice interaction in the Antarctic.

Publications: EPrints Digital Repository

Royal Society Summer Exhibit Web Page:     http://sse.royalsociety.org/2013/exhibits/salty-ocean/


I have participated in the following research cruises:

RRS Discovery 145                 North Atlantic              February-March 1984

RRS Charles Darwin 22           Indian Ocean               April-May 1987

RRS Charles Darwin 24           Indian Ocean               June-July 1987

RRS Challenger                      North Sea                     August 1988

RV Wecoma                           Eastern Pacific             January-February 1989

RRS Charles Darwin 62           North Atlantic              August-September 1991

RRS Discovery 199                 South Atlantic              Dec 1992-February 1993

RRS James Clark Ross 10 (Chief Scientist)       Southern Ocean    March-May 1995

RRS James Clark Ross 40 (Chief Scientist)       Southern Ocean    March-April 1999

RRS James Clark Ross 80 (Chief Scientist)       Southern Ocean     April-May 2003

RRS James Clark Ross 106                             Nordic Seas            August-September 2004

RRS James Clark Ross 158 (Chief Scientist)     Weddell Sea            February 20007

RRS James Clark Ross 255 (Chief Scientist)     Weddell Sea            February 2012

RRS James Clark Ross 294 (Chief Scientist)     Amundsen Sea        January-March 2014.


I am the leader of the UEA Glider Science group, the only UK university group owning and operating ocean gliders. I have led and piloted deployments of UEA’s Seaglider fleet in the North Atlantic (2010, 2012-2013, 2014), North Sea (2010, 2013), Weddell Sea (2012), Ross Sea (2010-2011), Amundsen Sea (2014), Mediterranean (2014, 2016) and Indian Ocean (2012, 2015, 2016). I have also led mooring deployments in the Southern Ocean (2010-2011).

External Activities


2006-2012      Leader and Coordinator of Synoptic Antarctic Shelf-Slope Interactions (SASSI) International Polar Year project

2006-2012       Scientific Advisory Board, Alfred Wegener Institute / Germany

2007-2012      Editorial Board, EGU journal Ocean Sciences

2012-2015      Chair of the Royal Society UK SCOR Committee & UK delegate to SCOR

2012-2015      Challenger Society Council

2012-present   NERC Marine Facilities Advisory Board

2012-present   Royal Society assessment panel for Newton International Fellowships

2014-2017      Chair of NERC Fellowships panel B and member of NERC Peer Review College

2012-present   Editor, AMS journal Journal of Physical Oceanography

2016                External reviewer of sabbatical programme at University of Gothenburg

2016-2021.       President of the Ocean Sciences Division of the European Geosciences Union


Marine science; ocean circulation and climate; Antarctica


I am Professor of Physical Oceanography in the Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric sciences (COAS), School of Environmental Sciences, University of East Anglia (UEA), UK.   I am a physicist by background, which I then applied to ocean physics.I have devoted my career to furthering understanding of physical processes in the ocean, often using new observational technology (e.g. satellite altimetry in the 1980s and 1990s; ocean gliders in the 2010s). In the 1990s I was active in the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE), leading (as Chief Scientist) one of the UK’s two large WOCE hydrographic sections, A23, from Antarctica to Brazil in 1995. These high-quality sections now form the basis of current climate change assessments and the gold standard against which models are evaluated. My current research is global (e.g. Antarctic, Indian Ocean, North Atlantic), and I enjoy close scientific collaborations with biogeochemists, meteorologists and numerical modellers. Most of my current work uses autonomous vehicles (ocean gliders and my autonomous surface vehicle Caravela and addresses processes of ocean, ice and atmosphere interaction.

I particularly enjoy supporting early career researchers as they venture into science. I have supervised over 40 PhD students and over 20 postdoctoral researchers. 

PhD Opportunities

I always welcome email enquiries from potential PhD students interested in physical oceanography.

Our research opportunities allow you to search for projects and scholarships and there is further information about becoming a Postgraduate Research student at UEA here.

Click here for other PhD opportunities in the School of Environmental Sciences.  



2000                Fellow of the Challenger Society for Marine Science

2009                Georg Wüst prize, biennial prize given by the German Society for Marine Research and Ocean Dynamics to an excellent mid-career scientist for outstanding contributions to the general field of oceanography

2010-2011       Royal Society Leverhulme Senior Research Fellow

2010                Honorary Doctorate, University of Gothenburg

2015                Oceanography award from the Society for Underwater Technology

2016                Challenger Medal, the premier award of the Challenger Society for Marine Science

2016                Nominated by SCAR as part of Celebrating Women in Antarctic Research Wikibomb event https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karen_Heywood

2019               Made a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union

Expertise related to UN Sustainable Devlopment Goals

In 2015, UN member states agreed to 17 global Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to end poverty, protect the planet and ensure prosperity for all. This person’s work contributes towards the following SDG(s):

  • SDG 13 - Climate Action
  • SDG 14 - Life Below Water


Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or

    Stevens, B., Bony, S., Farrell, D., Ament, F., Blyth, A., Fairall, C., Karstensen, J., Quinn, P. K., Speich, S., Acquistapace, C., Aemisegger, F., Albright, A. L., Bellenger, H., Bodenschatz, E., Caesar, K-A., Chewitt-Lucas, R., De Boer, G., Delanoë, J., Denby, L., Ewald, F. & 273 others, Fildier, B., Forde, M., George, G., Gross, S., Hagen, M., Hausold, A., Heywood, K. J., Hirsch, L., Jacob, M., Jansen, F., Kinne, S., Klocke, D., Kölling, T., Konow, H., Lothon, M., Mohr, W., Naumann, A. K., Nuijens, L., Olivier, L., Pincus, R., Pöhlker, M., Reverdin, G., Roberts, G., Schnitt, S., Schulz, H., Siebesma, A. P., Stephan, C. C., Sullivan, P., Touze-Peiffer, L., Vial, J., Vogel, R., Zuidema, P., Alexander, N., Alves, L., Arixi, S., Asmath, H., Bagheri, G., Baier, K., Bailey, A., Baranowski, D., Baron, A., Barrau, S., Barrett, P. A., Batier, F., Behrendt, A., Bendinger, A., Beucher, F., Bigorre, S., Blades, E., Blossey, P., Bock, O., Boing, S., Bosser, P., Bourras, D., Bouruet-Aubertot, P., Bower, K., Branellec, P., Branger, H., Brennek, M., Brewer, A., Brilouet, P-E., Brugmann, B., Buehler, S. A., Burke, E., Burton, R., Calmer, R., Canonici, J-C., Carton, X., Cato Jr., G., Charles, J. A., Chazette, P., Chen, Y., Chilinski, M. T., Choularton, T., Chuang, P., Clarke, S., Coe, H., Cornet, C., Coutris, P., Couvreux, F., Crewell, S., Cronin, T., Cui, Z., Cuypers, Y., Daley, A., Damerell, G. M., Dauhut, T., Deneke, H., Desbios, J-P., Dörner, S., Donner, S., Douet, V., Drushka, K., Dütsch, M., Ehrlich, A., Emanuel, K., Emmanouilidis, A., Etienne, J-C., Etienne-Leblanc, S., Faure, G., Feingold, G., Ferrero, L., Fix, A., Flamant, C., Flatau, P. J., Foltz, G. R., Forster, L., Furtuna, I., Gadian, A., Galewsky, J., Gallagher, M., Gallimore, P., Gaston, C., Gentemann, C., Geyskens, N., Giez, A., Gollop, J., Gouirand, I., Gourbeyre, C., De Graaf, D., De Groot, G. E., Grosz, R., Güttler, J., Gutleben, M., Hall, K., Harris, G., Helfer, K. C., Henze, D., Herbert, C., Holanda, B., Ibanez-Landeta, A., Intrieri, J., Iyer, S., Julien, F., Kalesse, H., Kazil, J., Kellman, A., Kidane, A. T., Kirchner, U., Klingebiel, M., Körner, M., Kremper, L. A., Kretzschmar, J., Krüger, O., Kumala, W., Kurz, A., L'Hegaret, P., Labaste, M., Lachlan-Cope, T., Laing, A., Landschützer, P., Lang, T., Lange, D., Lange, I., Laplace, C., Lavik, G., Laxenaire, R., Le Bihan, C., Leandro, M., Lefevre, N., Lena, M., Lenschow, D., Li, Q., Lloyd, G., Los, S., Losi, N., Lovell, O., Luneau, C., Makuch, P., Malinowski, S., Manta, G., Marinou, E., Marsden, N., Masson, S., Maury, N., Mayer, B., Mayers-Als, M., Mazel, C., McGeary, W., McWilliams, J. C., Mech, M., Mehlmann, M., Meroni, A. N., Mieslinger, T., Minikin, A., Minnett, P., Möller, G., Morfa Avalos, Y., Muller, C., Musat, I., Napoli, A., Neuberger, A., Noisel, C., Noone, D., Nordsiek, F., Nowak, J. L., Oswald, L., Parker, D. J., Peck, C., Person, R., Philippi, M., Plueddemann, A., Pöhlker, C., Pörtge, V., Pöschl, U., Pologne, L., Posyniak, M., Prange, M., Quinones Melendez, E., Radtke, J., Ramage, K., Reimann, J., Renault, L., Reus, K., Reyes, A., Ribbe, J., Ringel, M., Ritschel, M., Rocha, C. B., Rochetin, N., Röttenbacher, J., Rollo, C., Royer, H., Sadoulet, P., Saffin, L., Sandiford, S., Sandu, I., Schafer, M., Schemann, V., Schirmacher, I., Schlenczek, O., Schmidt, J., Schroder, M., Schwarzenboeck, A., Sealy, A., Senff, C. J., Serikov, I., Shohan, S., Siddle, E., Smirnov, A., Spath, F., Spooner, B., Stolla, M. K., Szkółka, W., De Szoeke, S. P., Tarot, S., Tetoni, E., Thompson, E., Thomson, J., Tomassini, L., Totems, J., Ubele, A. A., Villiger, L., Von Arx, J., Wagner, T., Walther, A., Webber, B., Wendisch, M., Whitehall, S., Wiltshire, A., Wing, A. A., Wirth, M., Wiskandt, J., Wolf, K., Worbes, L., Wright, E., Wulfmeyer, V., Young, S., Zhang, C., Zhang, D., Ziemen, F., Zinner, T. & Zoger, M., 25 Aug 2021, In: Earth System Science Data. 13, 8, p. 4067-4119 53 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    4 Citations (Scopus)
    1 Downloads (Pure)
  • First measurements of ocean and atmosphere in the Tropical North Atlantic using Caravela, a novel uncrewed surface vessel

    Siddle, E., Heywood, K., Webber, B. & Bromley, P., Jun 2021, In: Weather. 76, 6, p. 200-204 5 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    10 Downloads (Pure)
  • Pathways and modification of warm water flowing beneath Thwaites Ice Shelf, West Antarctica

    Wåhlin, A. K., Graham, A. G. C., Hogan, K. A., Queste, B. Y., Boehme, L., Larter, R. D., Pettit, E. C., Wellner, J. & Heywood, K. J., 9 Apr 2021, In: Science Advances. 7, 15, eabd7254.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    1 Citation (Scopus)
    12 Downloads (Pure)
  • Spatial and temporal variability of solar penetration depths in the Bay of Bengal and its impact on sea surface temperature (SST) during the summer monsoon

    Giddings, J., Heywood, K. J., Matthews, A. J., Joshi, M. M., Webber, B. G. M., Sanchez-Franks, A., King, B. A. & Vinayachandran, P. N., 6 Jul 2021, In: Ocean Science. 17, 4, p. 871-890 20 p.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    12 Downloads (Pure)
  • Winter seal-based observations reveal glacial meltwater surfacing in the southeastern Amundsen Sea

    Zheng, Y., Heywood, K. J., Webber, B. G. M., Stevens, D. P., Biddle, L. C., Boehme, L. & Loose, B., 5 Mar 2021, In: Communications Earth & Environment. 2, 40.

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    Open Access
    8 Downloads (Pure)