How Did I Get From There to Here?

Gordon, Arnold L.

In this memoir I trace the trajectory from childhood to a career in physical oceanography. The trajectory was not based on a well thought out plan, but I had a sense of my interest in the ocean and atmosphere. One is faced with many career opportunities in life, choosing the best for you depends on your interest and talents. The better you understand them, the better you recognize ‘opportunity’, but be flexible, opportunity is never likely to be a perfect fit (it might actually be better fit to your ‘passion’). My research quest, as an observationalist, is to develop a clearer, conceptual, picture of ocean, how it ‘works’, with a tilt towards its role in the climate system. I have worked in the cold southern polar regions to the hot tropics, and in-between; from the top to the bottom of the water column. Here I discuss a few discoveries that led to new insight into interocean exchange and deep ocean ventilation, which are now widely explored: Southern ocean: two modes of convection, along the margins of Antarctica and in the open ocean of the Weddell Sea; Agulhas Leakage: Indian Ocean invades the Atlantic, essential to the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation; The Indonesian Throughflow: tropical Pacific water spreads into Indian Ocean, part of the global interocean thermocline exchange.


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Also Published In

Perspectives of Earth and Space Scientists

More About This Work

Academic Units
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Ocean and Climate Physics
Published Here
January 20, 2023


Key Points:
• Let your career path be molded by your interests, but remain flexible to fit opportunity
• Pay attention to the observational data as it rolls in, there might be a hidden discovery
• The global ocean is composed of a network of interactive warm and cold water regions