Personal Homepage: Brian K. Arbic

Associate Professor, Physical Oceanography and Ocean Modeling

Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
University of Michigan


PhD, Physical Oceanography, 2000
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program

BS, Mathematics and Physics, 1988
University of Michigan

Contact information

Office: 3020 C.C. Little Building
Lab: 3023 C.C. Little Building

Mailing address: Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences
2534 C.C. Little Building
1100 N. University Avenue
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1005

Email: arbic AT umich DOT edu
Phone: (734)615-4941
Fax: (734)763-4690

UM affiliations

I joined the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences (formerly Geological Sciences) at the University of Michigan as an assistant professor on June 1, 2010. I became an associate professor on September 1, 2015.

I have a dry appointment in the Department of Climate and Space Science and Engineering (formerly AOSS).

I am an affiliated faculty with the Applied Physics Program and the Applied and Interdisciplinary Mathematics Program.

Research interests

I am a physical oceanographer. I am primarily interested in the dynamics and energy budgets of oceanic mesoscale eddies (the oceanic equivalent of atmospheric weather systems), the large-scale oceanic general circulation, and tides. I have also studied paleotides, tsunamis, and the decadal variability of subsurface ocean temperatures and salinities. My primary tools are numerical models of the ocean. I use both realistic models, such as the HYbrid Coordinate Ocean Model (HYCOM) being used as a U.S. Navy ocean forecast model, and idealized models. I frequently compare the outputs of such models to oceanic observations, taken with a variety of instruments. Comparison of models and observations helps us to improve our models as well as our ideas about how the ocean works. My research has often been interdisciplinary, involving collaborations with scientists outside of my discipline, such as glaciologists, geodynamicists, and marine geophysicists.


Students and postdocs interested in joining our group should have strong quantitative skills--for instance training in physical oceanography or related fields, or skills in mathematics, physics, or computer programming. Click here for information on current opportunities to join our group. For information on applying to the graduate program in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences at the University of Michigan, click here. Professor Arbic also works with graduate students from other departments and programs, for instance Physics, Applied Physics, Applied Mathematics, and AOSS.