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Fellows Directory

Karen Heywood

Karen Heywood

Professor Karen Heywood OBE FRS


Elected: 2021





Karen Heywood investigates physical processes in our oceans that underpin climate, such as ocean currents, eddies and turbulent mixing. She has revealed new insights into the interactions between the ocean, atmosphere and cryosphere (floating ice shelves and sea ice).  She has designed and led major field programmes at sea to observe and measure ocean characteristics, particularly in polar regions such as Antarctica. She has pioneered the use of autonomous vehicles, such as profiling ocean gliders, to make critical measurements in challenging environments. She is an enthusiastic mentor of early career scientists, particularly in ocean measurement techniques.

Karen Heywood studied physics at the University of Bristol, followed by a PhD in physical oceanography at the University of Southampton and research positions at the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences Wormley, and Bangor University. She moved to the University of East Anglia in 1989. She is a Fellow of the Challenger Society for Marine Science (2000) and was awarded the Challenger Medal (2016). She was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union (2019). She has served as President of the Ocean Sciences Division of the European Geosciences Union (2017-2021).

Professional positions

Professor of Physical Oceanography, Centre for Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences, School of Environmental Sciences

Interest and expertise

Subject groups

  • Earth and environmental sciences
    • Climate sciences, Physical oceanography


Marine science

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