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


Physical Oceanography (AOSC420/670)
Fall 2020: Course Flyer, Syllabus

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  1. Wenegrat, J.O., E. Bonanno, and U. Rack: A century of observed temperature change in the Indian Ocean.


  1. Ruan, X., J.O. Wenegrat, and J. Gula: Slippery bottom boundary layers: the loss of energy from the general circulation by bottom drag. Geophys. Res. Lett. In press.
  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, 2020: Enhanced mixing across the gyre boundary at the Gulf Stream front. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 117, 30, 17607-17614. doi: 10.1073/pnas.2005558117 online pdf SI
  3. Wenegrat, J.O., and L.N. Thomas, 2020: Centrifugal and symmetric instability during Ekman adjustment of the bottom boundary layer. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 50, 6, 1793-1812. doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-20-0027.1 online pdf
  4. Johnson, L., C.M. Lee, E.A. D'Asaro, J.O. Wenegrat, and L.N. Thomas, 2020: Restratification at a California current upwelling front, part II: Dynamics. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 50, 5, 1473-1487. doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-19-0204.1 online pdf
  5. 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
  6. 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
  7. 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
  8. 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
  9. 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
  10. 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
  11. 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
  12. 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

Tomás Chor

Postdoctoral Researcher

Victoria Whitley

Graduate Student in Applied Mathematics & Statistics, and Scientific Computing

Igor Uchôa Farias

Graduate Student
Atmospheric and Oceanic Science

Rachel Wegener

Graduate Student
Atmospheric and Oceanic Science

Skylar Lama

Undergraduate Researcher
Atmospheric and Oceanic Science

Daniel Levy

Undergraduate Researcher
Mathematics and Physics

Group Alumni

Emma Bonanno - Undergraduate researcher AOSC (2020-2021)
2021 recipient of the Bernice and Susan Tannenbaum Prize in Climate Science

Opportunities are now available for UMD 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 I recommend starting by reading some of our recent publications, and taking a look at our group 'expectations' document which will hopefully give you a sense of my advising style and what it is like to work in our group. I also welcome you to 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