Photo of Professor Ric Williams

Professor Ric Williams BSc, MSc, PhD

Professor Earth, Ocean and Ecological Sciences

Research

Research Overview

"I am climate scientist interested in the role of the ocean in the climate system, addressing how the ocean provides climate and carbon feedbacks that affect the planet response to carbon emissions.

My expertise is in ocean dynamics and the transfer of heat, nutrients and carbon in the global ocean. I have experience in ocean and climate modelling including assessing model responses in terms of theory and in comparing with the available data.

I am the co-lead of the University of Liverpool research theme ‘Climate Futures’, which is addressing the research challenges of the science, societal response and solutions in climate change and the need to move to net zero carbon."

Research Interest 1

In my research, I focus on addressing different questions as to how the climate system operates:
How is the ocean warming and heat storage linked to ocean circulation?
How is surface warming linked to carbon emissions?
Why do plankton flourish over some parts of the ocean and not others?
How similar is the behaviour of the Gulf Stream in the ocean and the Jet Stream in the atmosphere?
How is the ocean carbon cycle affected by ocean physics and biology?

Research Group Membership

Research Grants

Asymmetries in ocean heat and carbon uptake, and effects on marine hazards

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

May 2020 - December 2023

SNAP-DRAGON - Subpolar North Atlantic Processes - Dynamics and pRedictability of vAriability in Gyre and OverturNing

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

September 2020 - August 2023

Southern Ocean carbon indices and metrics (SARDINE)

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

January 2020 - December 2022

Mechanistic controls of surface warming by ocean heat and carbon uptake

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

June 2016 - August 2019

How does ocean warming and steric sea level rise depend on carbon emissions?

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

May 2014 - April 2016

The UK Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Program (UK-OSNAP)

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

January 2014 - January 2019

FASTNET - Fluxes Across the Sloping Topography of the North East Atlantic

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

April 2012 - October 2016

Climate variability in the North Atlantic Ocean: wind-induced changes in heat content, sea level and overturning.

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

January 2011 - May 2014

Dynamical Regimes in the Deep Ocean.

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

July 1999 - July 2002

A monitoring array along the western margin of the Atlantic.

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

May 2003 - April 2009

Does nutrient transport control phytoplankton blooms over the North Sea?

DEPARTMENT FOR ENVIRONMENT, FOOD AND RURAL AFFAIRS (UK)

October 2003 - October 2006

Iron Biogeochemistry in the High Latitude North Atlantic Ocean

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

September 2009 - November 2013

The role of oceanic ventilation in the coupled climate system.

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

October 2000 - December 2003

Physical and chemical forcing of diazotrophy in the (sub)-tropical Atlantic Ocean

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

October 2010 - March 2014

Transport and storage of nutrients, carbon and heat in the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean.

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

January 2005 - April 2009

Mediterranean model networking and archiving program - MEDNET.

EUROPEAN COMMISSION

February 1999 - July 2001

The role of sloping topography in the overturning circulation of the North Atlantic.

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

January 2004 - June 2008

Attribution of climate change in the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean: exploiting tritium-helium data and adjoint sensitivity analyses.

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

May 2006 - August 2010

A nutrient and carbon pump over mid-ocean ridges (RidgeMix).

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

January 2015 - February 2019

Nutrient Streams and the subduction process: their effect on global nutrient distributions

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

July 2007 - February 2010

Sensitivity of ocean carbon cycling to anthropogenic emissions

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

September 2008 - December 2010

Assessing the role of eddies in exchanging nutrients across the European Shelf

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

October 2012 - September 2017

North Atlantic Sea-Level Variability during the Last Half-Millennium

PROUDMAN OCEANOGRAPHIC LABORATORY (UK)

August 2010 - January 2011

The Altantic Meridional Transect (AMT) Programme

NATURAL ENVIRONMENT RESEARCH COUNCIL (NERC)

July 2002 - October 2006

Research Collaborations

Prof. Susan Lozier

External: Duke University

Visiting Professor at Duke University for spring semester, 2008. Working together on how ocean heat content is changing over the North Atlantic.

Professor Mick Follows

External: Massachusettes Institute of Technology, USA

Collaborated on writing a new research book on 'Ocean dynamics and the carbon cycle) for Cambridge University Press, now jointly working on carbon and ecosystem research questions.