About me

Hi, there. I'm Dan(i) Jones [they/them]. I'm an oceanographer at the British Antarctic Survey and a Senior Member of Darwin College, University of Cambridge.


Physical oceanographer with expertise in:
  • Large-scale ocean circulation and dynamics
  • Numerical modeling (including forward and adjoint modeling)
  • Unsupervised classification for data analysis (e.g. Argo float profiles)
UKRI Future Leaders Fellow with a focus on:
  • Creating a new Weddell Gyre state estiamte
  • Using state estimates to inform observing system design
Geographic focus:
  • Southern Ocean
  • North Atlantic Ocean

Outside of work, I spend time with my son, squeezing in some reading and guitar playing where possible. We live in a village just outside of Cambridge, UK.


UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship Project

SO-WISE project logo


  • EnvSensors: a collaboration between the British Antarctic Survey, the Alan Turing Institute, and the Met Office. Objective: use surface data, satellite data, and machine learning techniques to help design next-generation observing systems (co-investigator, PI: Scott Hosking)
  • Drivers and Effects of Fluctuations in sea Ice in the ANTarctic (DEFIANT): four-year, multi-institute NERC grant; a targeted Weddell Sea observational and modeling project designed to generate a new mechanistic understanding of the drivers and impacts of Antarctic sea ice variability, including the dramatic decline in 2016 (co-investigator, PI: Jeremy Wilkinson)
  • Drivers of Oceanic Change in the Amundsen Sea (DeCAdeS): five-year, multi-institute NERC grant to study the response of the Amundsen Sea sector and associated ice shelves to oceanic warm episodes (co-investigator, PI: Adrian Jenkins)
  • SO-ICE: a two-year ESA project to produce a suite of Earth Observation, in-situ, and model datasets to characterise how ice dynamic processes and Southern Ocean heat have changed over the last three decades (co-investigator, PI: Anna Hogg)
  • BAS Artificial Intelligence Lab (co-founder)
  • The North Atlantic Climate System Integrated Study (ACSIS)
  • Ocean Regulation of Climate by Heat and Carbon Sequestration and Transports (ORCHESTRA)
  • Securing Multidisciplinary UndeRstanding and Prediction of Hiatus and Surge events (SMURPHS)
  • Integrating Climate and Ecosystem Dynamics (ICED)


Earth's oceans have an enormous impact on global and regional climate. For example, the ocean contains more than 90% of the extra heat present in the climate system due to global warming. However, the mechanisms involved in the exchange of heat and carbon between the ocean and atmosphere, and how they may change in the future, are still poorly understood.

At a few distinct locations on Earth, the natural injection of heat and carbon into the interior ocean, called subduction, is particularly intense. Once trapped in the interior ocean, the subducted heat and carbon can remain there for decades to centuries, potentially slowing global surface warming. These atmosphere-ocean exchange windows are typically found in the Southern Ocean and the high-latitude North Atlantic, which feature exceptionally deep mixing between the surface and the interior ocean. For example, the Eastern Pacific pathway (shown below) is a relatively rapid and efficient export pathway (link to research article) for the exchange of water between the surface and the subtropical interior. In order to understand and predict future climate change, we have to understand what controls the location and intensity of these relatively narrow exchange windows.

Ocean circulation, dynamics, and climate

I use a combination of basic physics, mathematics, and numerical modeling to better understand the behavior of the ocean, including its sensitivity to other components of the climate system. For example, I use ocean adjoint models to uncover potentially hidden ways in which the ocean can respond to changes in the atmosphere. In a recent study, we found that the heat content of the Labrador Sea, a region of deep convection in the North Atlantic, is sensitive to wind stress along the relatively remote West African shelf. This kind of large-scale, remote connection is an important feature of the climate system that we need to better understand. For more information, including an introduction to adjoint sensitivity experiments, see our article in JGR-Oceans, which is also available as an open access preprint. The study is also summarized in this plain language blog post

For more on ocean adjoint modelling, see my webinar recording from 2016

Machine learning: unsupervised classification

I have recently started applying various unsupervised clustering algorithms to oceanographic data in order to better understand its structure. In particular, we have applied Gaussian mixture modelling, a machine learning technique, to Southern Ocean temperature profiles. Our initial results are promising, as we describe in this article. Clustering may offer a new, objective way to identify structures in both observed and simulated climate data, ultimately enhancing our ability to understand the climate system.

Unsupervised classification in the Weddell Gyre. Recently, we have applied this technique to the Weddell Gyre, identifying some coherent dynamical regions. For more info:

Air-sea gas exchange

The exchange of carbon dioxide, oxygen, and other gases at the air-sea interface has an enormous impact on surface climate across a wide range of timescales. Despite its critical importance to the climate system, the sensitivity of gas exchange to winds, biogeochemical parameters, and other factors remains poorly understood. Using simple analysing and modeling techniques, we developed a simple model of air-sea gas exchange efficiency to help understand the large-scale, persistent disequilibrium of carbon dixodie between the atmosphere and ocean.

Linking physics, biogeochemistry, and ecology

Ocean circulation connects geographically distinct ecosystems across a wide range of spatial and temporal scales via exchanges of physical properties and biogeochemical tracers. Non-local processes can be especially important for ecosystems in the Southern Ocean, where the Antarctic Circumpolar Current (ACC) transports propertie across ocean basins through both advection and mixing. In collaboration with ecologists, We can use physical, biogeochemical, and ecological data to better understand what sets the location of top predator habitats. For more information, see our article in Global Change Biology.


Current group members and students

  • Rachael Sanders (Postdoc 2021-now)
  • Fouzia Fahrin (MS 2020, Georgia Southern U.)
  • Simon Thomas (UG 2019 and MS 2020, U. Cambridge)
  • Rhiannon Jones (PhD, U. Southampton, co-supervising)
  • Rachel Furner (PhD, U. Cambridge, co-supervising)
  • Ciara Pimm (PhD, U. Liverpool, co-supervising)
  • Andrew Twelves (PhD, U. Edinburgh, co-supervising)

Former group members and students

  • Ed Derby (MS 2019, U. Cambridge): potential vorticity homogenisation
  • Petr Doležal (MS 2019, U. Cambridge): clustering CMIP models
  • Lille Borresen (UG 2018, BAS): clustering CMIP models
  • Matthew Koster (UG 2018, BAS): North Atlantic particle tracking
  • Shahel Khan (MS 2018, U. Cambridge): clustering Argo profiles
  • Ben Schreiber (UG 2017, REP): petrel habitat suitability
  • Harry Holt (UG 2017, REP): clustering Argo profiles
  • Mark Hammond (MS 2017, U. Cambridge): polynya formation
  • Mark Hammond (UG 2016, REP): Antarctic freshwater fluxes
Part III = master's degree equivalent, involves a project and write-up
REP = Research Experience Placement, involves a substantial summer project

Selected university courses taught

Environmental physics, introductory undergraduate physics, astronomy, calculus, trigonometry, algebra

Teaching philosophy

I practice learner-centered teaching following the MIT Active Learning model. I have implemented this approach in numerous university courses. While teaching at Georgia Southern University, I restructured the Environmental Physics course around active learning.


I love working with scientists. They are some of my favorite people. And ultimately, science only gets done because people step up and get to it. I decided to celebrate some of these fine individuals by inviting them to share relaxed, casual conversations about their lives and work. The results are captured in my podcast, Climate Scientists, which is available for free roughly wherever you get your podcasts.


Featured publications

Review paper on Southern Ocean ventilation
Morrison, A., D. Waugh, A. Hogg, D.C. Jones, and R. Abernathey (2022), Ventilation of the Southern Ocean pycnocline. Annual Review of Marine Science, 14:1, 10.1146/annurev-marine-010419-011012. Summary: a review paper on Southern Ocean ventilation

Review paper on machine learning in oceanography
Sonnewald, M., R. Leguensat, D.C. Jones, P. Dueben, J. Brajard, and V. Balaji (2021). Bridging observations, theory and numerical simulation of the ocean using Machine Learning, Environmental Research Letters, 16 073008, https://doi.org/10.1088/1748-9326/ac0eb0. Summary: a review paper on machine learning in oceanography

Using machine learning to define fronts
Thomas, S.D.A., D.C. Jones, A. Faul, E. Mackie, and E. Pauthenet (2021). Defining Southern Ocean fronts using unsupervised classification, Ocean Science, 17, 1545-1562, https://doi.org/10.5194/os-17-1545-2021. Summary: we challenge a dominant view of fronts by using an unsupervised classification technique to define them

IceNet: an AI-driven Arctic sea ice prediction system
Andersson, T., J.S. Hosking, M. Perez-Ortiz, B. Paige, A. Elliott, C. Russell, S. Law, D.C. Jones, J. Wilkinson, T. Phillips, J. Byrne, S. Tietsche, B.B. Sarojini, E. Blanchard-Wrigglesworth, Y. Aksenov, R. Downie, and E. Shuckburgh (2021). Seasonal Arctic sea ice forecasting with probabilistic deep learning, Nature Communications, 12, 5124. https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-25257-4. Summary: on IceNet, a new AI-driven method for sea ice forecasts

Boland, E., Jones, D.C., Meijers, A. J. S., Forget, G., and Josey, S. A. (2021). Local and remote influences on the heat content of Southern Ocean mode water formation regions. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 126, e2020JC016585. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JC016585. Summary: an adjoint sensitivity paper exploring what affects heat content in surface mode water pools

Twelves, A., Goldberg, D. N., Henley, S. F., Mazloff, M. R., and Jones, D.C. (2021), Self-shading and meltwater spreading control the transition from light to iron limitation in an Antarctic coastal polynya. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 126, e2020JC016636. https://doi.org/10.1029/2020JC016636

Jones, D.C., Ceia, F.R., Murphy, E., Delord, K., Furness, R.W., Verdy, A., Mazloff, M., Phillips, R.A., Sagar, P.M., Sallee, J.-B., Schreiber, B., Thompson, D.R., Torres, L.G., Underwood, P.J., Weimerskirch, H. and Xavier, J.C. (2021). Untangling local and remote influences in two major petrel habitats in the oligotrophic Southern Ocean. Global Change Biology, 27, 5773-5785. https://doi.org/10.1111/gcb.15839

Jones, D.C., E. Boland, A.J. Meijers, G. Forget, S. Josey, J. Sallee, and E. Shuckburgh (2020), The Sensitivity of Southeast Pacific Heat Distribution to Local and Remote Changes in Ocean Properties. Journal of Physical Oceanography, 50, 773-790, https://doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-19-0155.1

Paper on what controls the heat distribution in the Southern Ocean:
D.C. Jones, E. Boland, A. Meijers, G. Forget, S. Josey, J-B. Sallee, and E. Shuckburgh (2019), Heat distribution in the Southeast Pacific is only weakly sensitive to high‐latitude heat flux and wind stress, Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, 124, https://doi.org/10.1029/2019JC015460. Article / Preprint

Description: Using a numerical modelling technique called adjoint modelling, we examined the factors that control the heat distribution the recently ventilated Southeast Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean. We were somewhat surprised to find that the distribution was only weakly sensitive to high-latitude atmospheric processes.

Our paper on machine learning applied to Argo float data:
D.C. Jones, H.J. Holt*, A. Meijers, and E. Shuckburgh (2019), Unsupervised clustering of Southern Ocean Argo float profiles, Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, https://doi.org/10.1029/2018JC014629. Article / Preprint

Description: We used unsupervised classification, a machine learning technique, to objectively identify groups of Southern Ocean temperature measurements with similar vertical structures. This approach may be useful for automatically locating structures in climate data, which is important given the ever increasing volume of observational and model data.

Our paper on a connection between the Labrador Sea and West Africa:
D.C. Jones, G. Forget, B. Sinha, S. Josey, E. Boland, A. Meijers, and E. Shuckburgh (2018), Local and remote influences on the heat content of the Labrador Sea: an adjoint sensitivity study, Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, 123. doi:10.1002/2018JC013774. Article / Preprint / Blog Post

Description: Using a numerical modelling technique called adjoint modelling, we examined the factors that control the heat content of the climatically-important Labrador Sea, which is a site of heat and carbon exchange between the surface and the deep interior ocean. We found and tested an unexpected connection between Labrador Sea heat content and winds along the remote West African shelf.

Our paper on mode water export:
D.C. Jones, A. Meijers, E. Shuckburgh, J.-B. Sallee, P. Haynes, E.K. McAufield, and M.R. Mazloff (2016), How does Subantarctic Mode Water ventilate the Southern Hemisphere subtropics?, Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, 121, doi:10.1002/2016JC011680. Article

Description: Using a high-resolution numerical model of the Southern Ocean, we identified and examined a relatively efficient pathway for transporting heat and carbon from the surface ocean into the interior ocean, where it can potentially be sequestered for many decades to centuries.

Our paper on the long-term response of the SO to wind stress changes:
D.C. Jones, T. Ito, and N.S. Lovenduski (2011), The transient response of the Southern Ocean pycnocline to changing atmospheric winds, Geophysical Research Letters, 38, L15604, doi:10.1029/2011GL048145. Article

Description: Observations from the last several decades show a significant increase in the strength of westerly winds over the Southern Ocean, but an appreciable change in the tilt of constant density surfaces (isopycnals) has not yet been detected there. We used an idealized numerical model to demonstrate that it may take many decades to centuries for Southern Ocean density structures to respond to changes in wind stress, due to coupling with the rest of the ocean.

Other selected publications

Sanders, R. N. C., D.C. Jones, S. Josey, B. Sinha, and G. Forget, Causes of the 2015 North Atlantic cold anomaly in the ECCOv4 state estimates, Ocean Science Discussions [preprint], https://doi.org/10.5194/os-2022-10, in review, 2022

D. Duncan, P. Eriksson, S. Pfreundschuh, C. Klepp, and D.C. Jones (2019), On the distinctiveness of observed oceanic raindrop distributions, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 19 (10), 6969-6984, doi:10.5194/acp-19-6969-2019, Article

N. Mackay, J.R. Ledwell, M.-J. Messias, A. Naveira-Garabato, J.A. Brearley, A. Meijers, D.C. Jones, and A.J. Watson (2018), Diapycnal mixing in the Southern Ocean diagnosed using the DIMES tracer and realistic velocity fields, Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, 123. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JC013536. Article

T. Dittmar, A. Stubbins, T. Ito, and D.C. Jones (2017), Comment on "Dissolved organic sulfur in the ocean: Biogeochemistry of a petagram inventory", Science, 356 (6340), 813, doi:10.1126/science.aam6039. Article

Hammond, M. D.* and Jones, D. C. (2016), Freshwater flux from ice sheet melting and iceberg calving in the Southern Ocean, Geoscience Data Journal, 3: 60-62, doi:10.1002/gdj3.43. Article / Dataset

Meijers, A., Meredith, M.P., Abrahamsen, E.P., Morales Maqueda, M.A., Jones, D.C., and Naveira Garabato, A.C. (2016), Wind-driven export of Weddell Sea slope water. Journal of Geophysical Research - Oceans, 121, doi:10.1002/2016JC011757. Article.

D.C. Jones, T. Ito, T. Birner, A. Klocker, and D. Munday (2015), Planetary-geometric constraints on isopycnal slope in the Southern Ocean, Journal of Physical Oceanography, 45 (12), 2991-3004, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-15-0034.1. Article

Ceia, F. R., J. Ramos, R. Phillips, Y. Cherel, D.C. Jones, R. Vieira, and J. Xavier (2015), Analysis of stable isotope ratios in blood of tracked wandering albatrosses fails to distinguish a 13C gradient within their winter foraging areas in the southwest Atlantic Ocean, Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 29, 2328-2336, doi:10.1002/rcm.7401. Article

Xavier, J., B. Raymond, D.C. Jones, and H. Griths (2015), Biogeography of cephalopods in the Southern Ocean using habitat suitability prediction models, Ecosystems, doi:10.1007/s10021-015-9926-1. Article

D.C. Jones, T. Ito, Y. Takano, and W-C. Hsu (2014), Spatial and seasonal variability of the air-sea equilibration timescale of carbon dioxide, Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 28, 1163-1178, doi:10.1002/2014GB004813. Article

* = student


Funding awarded

  • PI, UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship
  • Co-investigator, DeCAdeS large grant (PI Adrian Jenkins)
  • Co-investigator, DEFIANT (PI Jeremy Wilkinson)

Research experience

  • Physical Oceanographer, British Antarctic Survey, NERC, UKRI, Cambridge, UK (2013 - Present)
  • Research Scientist, School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, GA, USA (2011 - 2013)

Teaching experience

  • Instructor of Mathematics and Science, Atlanta Metropolitan College, USA (2011 - 2013)
  • Instructor of Physics, Georgia Southern University, Statesboro, GA, USA (2007 - 2009)

Public engagement and media

Selected service and leadership

  • Climate Science Communications Group, Royal Meteorological Society (2014-2019)
  • Network Coordinator, Cambridge Centre for Climate Science (2015-2016)
  • Principal Organiser, workshop on Techniques, Aims, and Challenges of Ocean-ice Modelling (Adjoint) [TACOMA], University of Oxford (2018)
  • Coordinator, Polar Oceans and Director's Choice Seminar Series, British Antarctic Survey (2013-2015)
  • Chair, Faculty Community on Learner-Centered Teaching, Georgia Southern University (2007-2009)


PhD - Atmospheric Science, Colorado State University (2013)
MS - Mathematics, Georgia Southern University (2009)
MS - Physics, University of Kentucky (2007)
BS - Physics, Georgia Southern University (2005)



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Name Description Price
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Name Description Price
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