10. January 2019 Henry Stommel Research Medal for Martin Visbeck

High honors for German Oceanographer

At the 99th annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society Professor Martin Visbeck, Head of Physical Oceanography and Spokesman for the Cluster of Excellence "The Future Ocean", is honored with the Henry Stommel Research Medal. Prof. Visbeck receives the award for his outstanding contributions to understanding ocean circulation and mixing, and the role of the oceans in climate.


Oceanography is still a very young field in natural sciences. The American oceanographer Henry Melson Stommel, born in 1920, was a pioneer in this field. He made important contributions in the field of physical oceanography. Stommel developed basic theories about the global circulation patterns of the oceans and the behavior of the Gulf Stream, which still are the basis of todays' physical oceanography. 1995, three years after his death, the American Meteorological Society named the award after him. The Henry-Stommel Research Medal is awarded to scientists who made outstanding contributions to the understanding of the dynamics and physics of the ocean. It is the highest award that the American Meteorological Society can bestow on an oceanographer. The award is presented in the form of a medal.

So far, the only other German scientist alongside Professor Visbeck who received this prestigious award was the oceanographer Friedrich Schott from Kiel in 2004.

"I feel extremely honored and I am delighted to be able to personally accept this prestigious award today", said Prof. Martin Visbeck at the award ceremony that took place at the 99th annual meeting of the American Meteorological Society in Phoenix, AZ, USA. "Special thanks to my team at GEOMAR in Kiel and many colleagues worldwide, with whom I have been able to conduct such successful research in recent years", Visbeck continued. "It is a special honor for me to receive this award, as the second German after my teacher and mentor Friedrich Schott", said the 55-year-old oceanographer.

Professor Martin Visbeck studied physical oceanography at Kiel University. After his PhD, he first worked as a postdoc at the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in Boston before moving to Columbia University in New York in 1997. In 2004 he returned to Kiel on a professorship at Kiel University and as the head of the research unit "Physical Oceanography" at the former Leibniz Institute of Marine Sciences.

Amongst other functions, he serves as spokesman for the Kiel Cluster of Excellence "Future Ocean", President of The Oceanography Society, as a member of the Joint Scientific Committee of the World Climate Research Programme, and many national and international committees. Martin Visbeck is the author of about 100 scientific papers in peer-reviewed journals and has received numerous awards for his research achievements.

Homepage Martin Visbeck
Henry-Stommel Medal


Dr. Andreas Villwock (GEOMAR, Communication & Media), Tel.: +49 431 600-2802