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Laure Zanna

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Laure Zanna
BornLaure E. Zanna
🏳️ Nationality
🎓 Alma materTel Aviv University (BSc)
Weizmann Institute of Science (MSc)
Harvard University (PhD)
💼 Occupation
🌐 Websitelaurezanna.github.io

Laure E. Zanna is a climate scientist and associate professor in the Clarendon Laboratory at the University of Oxford. She works on climate system dynamics and the influence of the oceans on global scales.[1][2][3] In July 2019 she was awarded the Nicholas P. Fofonoff Award for Early Career Research by the American Meteorological Society.[4]

Early life and education[edit]

Zanna studied physics at Tel Aviv University and graduated in 2001.[5] She earned a master's degree at the Weizmann Institute of Science. She was a doctoral student under Eli Tziperman at Harvard University. Her PhD dissertation looked at Atlantic Ocean circulation.[6] She developed a model that could visualise thermohaline circulation.[7]

Research and career[edit]

Zanna was appointed as a junior research fellow at Balliol College, Oxford, in 2009. She was appointed to the Oxford Martin School and made an Associate Professor in Physics in 2011. She was made a Fellow of St Cross College, Oxford in 2011. Here she worked on Meridional Overturning Circulation anomalies.[8] She was a lecturer at Christ Church, Oxford from 2014 to 2018, when she was appointed as a David Richards Fellow at Wadham College, Oxford.[9] Her work applies mathematical models to ocean data.[10] By understanding how ocean heat has changed in the past, Zanna's work help make more accurate predictions about climate change.[11][12][13][14]

Zanna uses Green's function methods to relate observations of sea surface temperatures to the temperatures of the deep ocean.[15] By using an ocean transport model, Zanna demonstrated that temperature could be treated as a passive variable that did not impact circulation.[15] She demonstrated that atmospheric heat is mainly stored in the deep sea, with oceans storing up to 93% of the heat of climate change.[15][16][17] Specifically, the models developed by Zanna and her group showed that the deep oceans have absorbed 436 zettajoules of energy in the past 150 years.[18] This represents around 1,000 times the worldwide human energy consumption, or 1.5 atomic bombs every second for 150 years.[19][20] She also found that major ocean currents that transport nutrients and heat are changing.[17]

Recently, her group demonstrated that it is possible to use deep learning and sub-grid parametrisation to analyse ocean data.[21][22] She is due to join the New York University Center for Atmosphere Open Science in 2019.[23]


  1. Laure Zanna publications indexed by Google Scholar
  2. Laure Zanna publications indexed by the Scopus bibliographic database. (subscription required)
  3. Laure Zanna's Entry at ORCID
  4. "2020 Awards and Honors Recipients". American Meteorological Society. Retrieved 2019-07-29.
  5. Zanna, Laure. "Laure Zanna, Oxford". Laure Zanna, Oxford. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  6. "People | Department of Earth and Planetary Sciences". eps.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2019-02-08.
  7. "research". www.seas.harvard.edu. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  8. Zanna, Laure E. (2009). Optimal excitation of Atlantic Ocean variability and implications for predictability. harvard.edu (PhD thesis). Harvard University. Bibcode:2009PhDT........32Z. OCLC 477172665.
  9. "Laure Zanna". www.wadham.ox.ac.uk. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  10. David, Tomos W.; Marshall, David P.; Zanna, Laure (2017-05-01). "The statistical nature of turbulent barotropic ocean jets". Ocean Modelling. 113: 34–49. doi:10.1016/j.ocemod.2017.03.008. ISSN 1463-5003.
  11. Carrington, Damian (2019-01-07). "Global warming of oceans equivalent to an atomic bomb per second". The Guardian. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  12. Wright, Pam (2019-01-08). "Oceans Absorbed Equivalent of an Atomic Bomb Per Second Over Past 150 Years". The Weather Channel. Retrieved 2019-08-15.
  13. Fraser, Robert (2018). Interannual North Atlantic Sea surface height dynamics and associated predictability. ora.ox.ac.uk (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.757853. open access
  14. Bronselaer, Benjamin (2015). Climate-carbon feedback of the high latitude ocean. ora.ox.ac.uk (DPhil thesis). University of Oxford. EThOS uk.bl.ethos.730512. open access
  15. 15.0 15.1 15.2 Aut, Lopatka Alex author (2019-01-15). "Atmospheric heat gets stored in the deep ocean". doi:10.1063/PT.6.1.20190115a.
  16. Aut, Lopatka Alex author (2019-01-15). "Atmospheric heat gets stored in the deep ocean". doi:10.1063/PT.6.1.20190115a.
  17. 17.0 17.1 "2018 was the ocean's hottest year. We'll feel it a long time". 2019-01-16. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  18. "Ocean warming speeds vary with depth". Physics World. 2019-01-11. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  19. "A century and half of reconstructed ocean warming offers clues for the future". EurekAlert!. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  20. "'Scary': Warming of Oceans Is Equivalent to 1.5 Atomic Bombs Every Second Over Past 150 Years". EcoWatch. 2019-01-09. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  21. Bolton, Thomas; Zanna, Laure (2019). "Applications of Deep Learning to Ocean Data Inference and Subgrid Parameterization". Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems. doi:10.1029/2018MS001472. ISSN 1942-2466.
  22. Zanna, Laure (2019-01-05). "Applications of Deep Learning to Ocean Data Inference and Sub-Grid Parameterisation". Laure Zanna, Oxford. Retrieved 2019-02-09.
  23. "Faculty | Center for Atmosphere Ocean Science | NYU Courant". caos.cims.nyu.edu. Retrieved 2019-02-09.

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