Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli

Professor Emerita of Physical Oceanography

Contact Info:

Office Phone






Darius Collazo 617.253.0251

Physical oceanographer specializing in numerical and theoretical modeling, recognized for contributions to the Venice MOSE barrier project.

Paola Malanotte-Rizzoli is a physical oceanographer whose interests include:

  • investigation and modeling, both mathematical and numerical, of nonlinear coherent structures such as oceanic rings shed by western boundary currents and atmospheric blocking in the atmosphere;
  • circulation and water mass formation processes of marginal, semi-enclosed seas such as the Mediterranean and Black Sea, including modeling of their shallow water ecosystems (northern Adriatic, Black Sea shelf);
  • development of novel, theoretical methods for the assimilation of oceanic observations into general circulation ocean models (ogcm’s);
  • investigation and modeling of the processes characterizing the tropical oceans (tropical Atlantic, South China Sea and Indonesian Through-Flow) and of their ocean/atmosphere coupled modes of interaction.

Her most recent interests are focused on the development and application of a regional climate coupled ocean/atmosphere model for the South Asia Maritime Continent for the understanding of its present climate and the prediction of future climate scenarios. This project is part of the Singapore-MIT Alliance for Research and Technology (SMART) Program.

A constant interest throughout her career has been the study and prediction of the extreme floods affecting the city of Venice, Italy, and of its lagoon and the construction of the mobile barriers at the lagoon inlets for their protection.

Key Awards & Honors

  • 2018 • Enrico Marchi Invited lecture, University of Catania
  • 2017 • Rachel Carson invited lecture, American Geophysical Union
  • 2006 • Fellow, American Geophysical Union
  • 2002 • Fellow, American Meteorological Society
  • 1998 • Masi Prize, Italy