Carl Wunsch studies the ocean and its roles in climate change. His work has provided valuable insights into the operation of various oceanic phenomena — such as eddies, tides and mixing processes. In addition, his promotion of statistical rigour has helped to transform observational studies of the ocean.
He applied inverse theory to the problem of North Atlantic circulation, thereby creating a framework to reveal the range of possible models consistent with the limited available observations. Carl was also an instigator of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment, which investigated the role of the world’s oceans in the climate system.