Dr. Robert Dickson


Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science
The Laboratory
Pakefield Road
Lowestoft Suffolk NR33 OHT England

Presenting Lectures:
“The Freshening of the Deep Atlantic ”
Date: September 4, 2002

“Towards an Observing System to Determine the Ocean’s Role in Climate Change”
Date: September 5, 2002


Dr. Bob Dickson is the current leader of the effort in Deep Sea Physical Oceanography at the Centre for Environment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science (CEFAS) in Lowestoft. Since joining the Lowestoft Laboratory in 1964, he has maintained four main research interests: First, since the early days of the self-recording current meter, he has contributed to the available stock of direct current measurements by which the sense and variability of the deep ocean circulation became known, both in the North Atlantic and at important choke points in the Southern Ocean. Second, he has maintained an interest in the processes that drive variations in the physical environment of the North Atlantic, including the varied ocean response to an extreme multi-decadal shift in the North Atlantic Oscillation between the 1960s and 1990s. Third he has investigated ways in which change in the ocean circulation and climate at interannual to decadal time scales have affected various components of the Atlantic ecosystem from plankton to commercial fish stocks. Fourth and most recently, he has chaired, cajoled, coordinated and contributed to a major international research effort aimed at understanding the role of the high latitude ocean in Global Change—The Arctic-Subarctic Ocean Flux Study [ASOF].

For his own contribution to ASOF, he has since 1986 provided many of the direct long term measurements of the cold, dense Denmark Strait Overflow, which helps to “drive” the Atlantic overturning circulation, and from 2000 has participated with German, Finnish and Icelandic colleagues in measuring the freshwater efflux from the Arctic Ocean which is supposed to shut it down. His recent work (with colleagues) on a multi-decadal freshening of the northern overflow system was published by Nature in April.

Dr. Dickson is the present UK member of the Arctic Ocean Sciences Board; past Chair of the ICES Hydrography Committee and member of its Oceanic Hydrography WG, member of the CLIVAR Atlantic Panel, Member of the SSC for the U. Washington Study of Environmental Arctic Change (SEARCH), Member of the Steering Committee for the ‘Rapid Climate Change’ thematic program of NERC and Chairman of the International Science Steering Group for the Arctic Subarctic Ocean Fluxes (ASOF) program.

Dr. Dickson was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in Spring 1995, was awarded the Plymouth Marine Sciences Silver Medal in November 1995, was elected first Fellow of the Sir Alister Hardy Foundation for Ocean Science in May 1997, was appointed Climate Center Visiting Lecturer, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, NY, in February 1998, was presented with the Albatross Award of the American Miscellaneous Society at the AGU in San Diego in the same month, and was appointed Honorary (Teaching) Professor in the School of Environmental Sciences at the University of East Anglia in August 2001.