Dr. Isaac Ginis

Professor of Oceanography

Graduate School of Oceanography
University of Rhode Island
Narragansett, RI 02882
Tel: (401) 874-6484
Fax: (401) 874-6728
Email: iginis@gso.uri.edu

Professional History

Dr. Ginis holds M.S. in Applied Mathematics from Kabardino-Balkarski State University (1977), Russia and Ph.D. in Geophysics from Institute of Experimental Meteorology (1986), Russia. He was associated with Princeton University/Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory since 1990 as a Visiting Research Scientist before joining Graduate School of Oceanography at University of Rhode Island in 1993.  (click for a Biographical Sketch)

Dr. Ginis' research has been supported by the U.S. Office of Naval Research, the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Bi-National U.S.-Israel Science Foundation, and the private insurance industry. Dr. Ginis is actively involved in both the U.S. and international tropical cyclone research and forecast communities. During the last five years, he has made presentations at over 30 national and international meetings and delivered many invited lectures. His ground-breaking work in developing a coupled hurricane-ocean interaction model has led to significant improvement in hurricane forecasting. The National Weather Service has embraced this model which has become an official operational hurricane model for the National Hurricane Center in 2001.

Dr. Ginis is a recipient of several national awards, including the 2001 NOAA Outstanding Scientific Paper Award, the 2002 National Oceanographic Partnership Program Excellence Award. He has been named the “2002 Environmental Hero” by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

Research interests

Oceanic and atmospheric fluid dynamics. Structure, variability and dynamics of the coupled ocean-atmosphere system from small to large space and time scales. Mathematical modeling of those physical processes which govern the behavior of the atmosphere and the oceans using theoretical and computer simulation methods.

Recent Publications (click for full list)

Bender, M.A., I. Ginis, R. Tuleya, B. Thomas, T. Marchok, 2007: The operational GFDL coupled hurricane-ocean prediction system and summary of its performance. Mon. Wea. Rev. In press.


Moon, I., I. Ginis, and T. Hara, 2007: Impact of reduced drag coefficient on ocean wave modeling under hurricane conditions, Mon. Wea. Rev. In press.


Yablonsky, R. M., I. Ginis, 2007: Improving the initialization of coupled hurricane-ocean models by assimilating mesoscale oceanic features. Mon. Wea. Rev. In press


Moon, I., I. Ginis, and T. Hara, B. Thomas, 2007: Physics-based parameterization of air-sea momentum flux at high wind speeds and its impact on hurricane intensity predictions. Mon. Wea. Rev. 135, 2869-2878.


Falkovich, A., I. Ginis, S. Lord, 2005: Implementation of data assimilation and ocean initialization for the coupled GFDL/URI hurricane prediction system. J. Atmos. and Ocean. Tech., 22, 1918–1932.

Ginis, I., A.P. Khain, E. Morozovsky, 2004: Effects of large eddies on the structure of the marine boundary layer under strong wind conditions, J. Atmos. Sci., 61. 61, 3049-3064.

Moon, I.-J., I. Ginis, and T. Hara, 2004: Effect of surface waves on Charnock coefficient under tropical cyclones, Geophys. Res. Lett. 31, L20302.

Moon, I.-J., T. Hara, I. Ginis et al., 2004: Effect of surface waves on air-sea momentum exchange. Part I: Effect of mature and growing seas, J. Atmos. Sci., 61, 2321– 2333.

Moon, I.-J., I. Ginis, and T. Hara, 2004: Effect of surface waves on air-sea momentum exchange. Part II: Behavior of drag coefficient under tropical cyclones, J. Atmos. Sci., 61, 2334– 2348.

Shen, W., and I. Ginis, 2003: Effects of surface heat flux-induced sea surface temperature changes on tropical cyclone intensity, Geophys. Res. Lett., 30, 1933.

Moon, I.-J., I. Ginis, T. Hara et al., 2003: Numerical simulation of sea-surface directional wave spectra under hurricane wind forcing, J. Phys. Oceanogr., 33, 1680– 1706.

Ginis I.: Hurricane-ocean interactions, 2002: Tropical cyclone-ocean interactions. Chapter 3. In Atmosphere-Ocean Interactions, Edited by W. Perrie, WIT Press, Advances in Fluid Mechanics Series,  Vol. 33, p. 83 – 114.

Shen, W., I. Ginis, and R.E. Tuleya, 2002: A numerical investigation of land surface water on landfalling hurricanes. J. Atmos. Sci. 59, 789-802

Shen, W. and I. Ginis, 2001: The impact of ocean coupling on hurricanes during landfall.  Geophys. Res. Lett. Vol. 28, No. 14, 2839-2842.

Sutyrin, G., I. Ginis, and S. A. Frolov, 2001: Equilibration of baroclinic meanders and deep eddies in a Gulf Stream-type jet over a sloping topography, J. Phys. Oceanogr. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 31, 2049-2065.

Khain A.P., I. Ginis and A. Falkovich, 2001: Interaction of binary tropical cyclones in a coupled tropical cyclone-ocean model. J. Geophys. Res. 105 (D17): 22,337-22,354.

teaching.gif   Course OCG593:

Numerical Methods for Atmospheric and Oceanic modeling



   Numerical Modeling Group


Current Research Projects:

Tropical Cyclones

This project focuses on improving our understanding of the interaction between the ocean and tropical cyclones using numerical simulation models.  We develop coupled tropical cyclone-ocean models capable of realistically simulating the hurricane-ocean interaction. The inclusion of ocean coupling leads to significant improvements in the hurricane intensity forecasting. This research is featured at BBC News (February, 2000), The Economist (March, 2000), Christian Science Monitor (February, 2000), National Geographic (October, 2000).

We are currently implementing our coupled hurricane-ocean model at the National Weather Service for operational prediction of hurricanes in the North Atlantic (click for URI press release).

We also explore how a CO2 warming-induced enhancement of hurricane intensity could be altered by the inclusion of hurricane/ocean coupling.

Movable Nested Mesh Ocean Model

In this project we are developing a new movable nested mesh model. Nested-mesh numerical models have in recent years become useful research and operational tools for simulating mesoscale meteorological and oceanic phenomena in the large-scale environment. The important advantage of a multiply-nested mesh arrangement is that it allows improved horizontal resolution in a limited region without requiring a fine grid resolution throughout the entire model domain. Therefore the model domain to be resolved with higher resolution is kept to a minimum, greatly reducing computer memory and speed requirements, and allowing better resolution than would otherwise be possible.

Binary Storm Interactions

In this project we investigate the motion and evolution of binary tropical cyclones using a coupled tropical cyclone-ocean movable nested grid model. The interaction of tropical cyclones frequently causes sharp changes of their tracks and translation speed. The binary vortices can merge or move away depending on the storm structures, intensities and the separation distance.

Coupled Shallow - Deep Ocean Processes

Our study focuses on the effects of a topographic slope on nonlinear evolution of a local perturbation in a Gulf Stream-type baroclinic jet. We seek to answer the following three fundamental questions:

  1. How are Gulf Stream meanders downstream of Cape Hatteras modified over the continental slope?
  2. How are the mean flow and deep eddies are modified by bottom topography?
  3. What are the effects of dynamical coupling between amplifying meanders and associated deep eddies

Gulf Stream Data Assimilation

We have successfully implemented a new Gulf Stream (GS) data assimilation scheme into the NOAA Coastal Ocean Forecast System (COFS) as a part of the Coastal Marine Demonstration Project. The scheme is designed to augment the data assimilation method used operationally in COFS, aiming to improve the representation of the Gulf Stream path and structure in the model. The main thrust of the implemented scheme is the use of the observed spatial and temporal stability of the GS density and velocity structure in the cross-stream coordinates. The technique employs the cross-stream temperature and velocity profiles derived from field experiments and the daily-available GS path data.

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