Steve Riser

Professor of Oceanography, University of Washington
Theme 1 Co-Lead
Office Phone
School of Oceanography, University of Washington, Box 355350, Seattle WA 98195


The nature of the large-scale ocean circulation, the interaction of physical and biogeochemical aspects of the circulation and their relationship to the carbon cycle and climate, and the development of new technological methodologies that can be used to make quantitative measurements of these effects.


Stephen C. Riser, Professor of Oceanography at the University of Washington in Seattle, has long-term interests in the interactions of physical and chemical aspects of the circulation of the large-scale ocean.   His published works on these topics generally have used observations from subsurface floats to infer physical and geochemical properties of the ocean circulation.   Some of this work dates from the days of the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE), where he was a member of the US WOCE Scientific Steering Committee. During the past decade he has been heavily involved in the international Argo program and has served as a member of the International Argo Steering Team.   He also serves as a member of NASA’s Aquarius Science Team, studying the freshwater balance of the ocean and air-sea interactions very near the sea surface. His present work is focused on the use of profiling float technology in studying the global ocean circulation, and his laboratory at UW has built and deployed over 1400 floats in the past decade in support of these studies.   His laboratory has pioneered the use of many of the technologies presently used in modern profiling floats, including the addition of biogeochemical sensors, under-ice technology, and the use of Iridium communications.  At UW he has recently taught graduate courses on both the Physics of Ocean Circulation and Climate Dynamics.   During the 2012-2013 academic year he will direct (in conjunction with several other UW faculty members) a group of 15 undergraduate students on a month-long expedition in the western North Pacific aimed at understanding the relationship between the circulation in the Kuroshio Extension and the drawdown of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere into the ocean in the region.

Dr. Riser serves as co-Leader for Theme I in SOCCOM, and his group at the University of Washington has the primary responsibility for fabricating and deploying the profiling floats that form the observation basis for the work of SOCCOM.