We study the geophysical fluid dynamics (GFD) of the ocean and atmosphere, using theory, state-of-the-art high-resolution numerical models, and observations. A particular focus of our work is the ocean submesoscale (horizontal scales of 0.1-10 kms), a range of scales which are particularly challenging for traditional observational and computational methods. Understanding the dynamics of the ocean submesoscale is currently one of the most outstanding challenges in ocean physics, with fundamental connections to large-scale ocean circulation, ocean primary productivity, and air-sea interaction.

Click the below topics for more info, or see publications.

Bottom boundary layer

Submesoscale processes in the ocean bottom boundary layer

Upper-ocean processes

Dynamics and biophysical interaction in the near-surface ocean

Air-sea interaction

Coupled interaction between the atmosphere and ocean


Coming soon!

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  1. Wenegrat, J.O., and L.N. Thomas: Centrifugal and symmetric instability during Ekman adjustment of the bottom boundary layer. J. Phys. Oceanogr. preprint
  2. Wenegrat, J.O., L.N. Thomas, M. Sundermeyer, J.R. Taylor, E.A. D'Asaro, J. Klymak, R.K. Shearman, and C.M. Lee: Enhanced mixing across the gyre boundary at the Gulf Stream front.


  1. Johnson, L., C.M. Lee, E.A. D'Asaro, J.O. Wenegrat, and L.N. Thomas, 2020: A stratifying submesoscale front, part 2: Dynamics. J. Phys. Oceanogr. doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-19-0204.1 online
  2. Wenegrat, J.O., and R.S. Arthur, 2018: Response of the atmospheric boundary layer to submesoscale sea-surface temperature fronts. Geophys. Res. Lett. 45, 24, 13505-13512. doi: 10.1029/2018GL081034 online pdf
  3. Wenegrat, J.O., J. Callies, and L.N. Thomas, 2018: Submesoscale baroclinic instability in the bottom boundary layer. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 48, 11, 2571-2592. doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-17-0264.1 online pdf
  4. Wenegrat, J.O., L.N. Thomas, J. Gula, and J.C. McWilliams, 2018: Effects of the submesoscale on the potential vorticity budget of ocean mode waters. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 48, 9, 2141-2165. doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-17-0219.1 online pdf
  5. Wenegrat, J.O., and L.N. Thomas, 2017: Ekman transport in balanced currents with curvature. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 47, 5, 1189-1203. doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-16-0239.1 online pdf
  6. Wenegrat, J.O., and M.J. McPhaden, 2016: A simple analytical model of the diurnal Ekman layer. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 46, 9, 2877-2894. doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-16-0031.1 online pdf
  7. Wenegrat, J.O., and M.J. McPhaden, 2016: Wind, waves, and fronts: Frictional effects in a generalized Ekman model. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 46, 2, 371-394. doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-15-0162.1 online pdf
  8. Wenegrat, J.O., and M.J. McPhaden, 2015: Dynamics of the surface layer diurnal cycle in the equatorial Atlantic Ocean (0°, 23°W), J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 120, 563-581, doi: 10.1002/2014JC010504 online pdf
  9. Wenegrat, J.O., M.J. McPhaden, and R.-C. Lien, 2014: Wind stress and near-surface shear in the equatorial Atlantic Ocean. Geophys. Res. Lett., 41, 1226-1231, doi: 10.1002/2013GL059149 online pdf
SUOMI/VIIRS courtesy of NASA


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Jacob Wenegrat

Assistant Professor
Atmospheric and Oceanic Science

Now hiring a postdoctoral researcher to work on the energetics of submesoscale turbulence in the bottom boundary layer!
More information can be found here.

Opportunities are now available for undergraduate researchers, PhD students, and postdocs to join my group at the University of Maryland, College Park. It helps to have a strong background in topics like math, physics, and scientific programming, but no experience in oceanography or ocean dynamics is necessary. If you would like to learn more, please get in touch to discuss possible research topics, funding opportunities, and how to apply.

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Jacob Wenegrat

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science
University of Maryland, College Park
4254 Stadium Dr.
College Park, MD 20740