Raffaele Ferrari

Co-Director, MIT Lorenz Center
Cecil & Ida Green Professor of Oceanography

Contact Info:

Office Phone






Darius Collazo 617.253.0251

Physical oceanographer building next-generation models to understand ocean circulation and the inner workings of climate.

Research Interests

I’m interested in the role of the ocean in climate. In my group, we focus on turbulence in the ocean and atmosphere, the impact of ocean turbulence on marine biology and the carbon cycle, and the role of the ocean in present, past, and future climates.

Currently, I’m co-principal investigator on two ambitious projects that are building new, higher-resolution climate modeling tools: the Climate Modeling Alliance (CliMA), co-led with Caltech Professor Tapio Schneider, is a Caltech-JPL-MIT collaboration to develop a next-generation climate model that leverages AI tools to learn from observations; and Bringing Computation to the Climate Challenge, co-led with MIT Professor Noelle Selin, is an MIT Climate Grand Challenges project aimed at developing fast emulators of full climate models to democratize access to climate information. I’m also principal investigator of the Bottom Boundary Layer observational program in the North Atlantic to study deep ocean turbulence.

Topics I investigate:

Biographic Sketch

Raffaele Ferrari joined the EAPS faculty in 2002. After earning a BS and MS in physics from the Università di Torino in 1994, Ferrari went on to pursue PhD studies in fluid dynamics and oceanography from Politecnico di Torino (1999) and the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (2000). Prior to arriving at MIT, he was a postdoctoral scholar at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Ferrari served as the chair of the EAPS Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate from 2012-2022 and is currently co-Director of the MIT Lorenz Center, a think-tank created to attract a diverse community interested in the fundamentals of climate science.

Key Awards & Honors

  • 2022 • Harald Sverdrup Lecture, American Geophysical Union
  • 2019 • Ally of Nature, MIT School of Science
  • 2016 • Robert L. and Bettie P. Cody Award, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
  • 2012 • Moore Distinguished Scholar, Caltech
  • 2007 • Nicholas P. Fofonoff Award, American Meteorological Society

Key Publications

  • Ramadhan, A., G. L. Wagner, C. Hill, J.-M. Campin, V. Churavy, T. Besard, A. Souza, A. Edelman, J. Marshall, and R. Ferrari, (2020) Oceananigans.jl: Fast and friendly geophysical fluid dynamics on GPUsJournal of Open Source Software, 5(53), 2018. DOI: 10.21105/joss.02018

  • Gallet, B., & Ferrari, R. (2020). The vortex gas scaling regime of baroclinic turbulenceProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America117(9), 4491–4497. DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1916272117

  • Ferrari, R., Mashayek, A., McDougall, T. J., Nikurashin, M., & Campin, J. (2016). Turning Ocean Mixing Upside Down. Journal of Physical Oceanography46(7), 2239-2261. DOI: 10.1175/JPO-D-15-0244.1