Dr Steve Rintoul: Acting Chief or Marine and Atmospheric Research.
Dr Steve Rintoul: researching the Southern Ocean and how it affects global climate systems
Dr Steve Rintoul is internationally recognised as a leading authority on the circulation of the Southern Ocean and how it affects global climate systems.
19 November 2009 | Updated 14 October 2011
Dr Rintoul is based at CSIRO's research site in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia.
CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research was formed on 1 July 2005 by the merging of CSIRO Marine Research and CSIRO Atmospheric Research. Staff are located at sites in five states, with headquarters in Hobart.
Dr Rintoul is a physical oceanographer studying the role of the ocean in the Earth’s climate system, with a particular interest in the Southern Ocean.
Dr Rintoul was awarded the inaugural Georg Wüst Medal by the German Society of Marine Research in 2005.
His current interests include:
ocean currents and how they affect Earth's climate
the Southern Ocean and the Antarctic Circumpolar Current
how ocean currents influence sea ice, biogeochemical cycles, and the distribution of biological productivity.
Born and educated in the USA, Dr Rintoul joined the CSIRO Division of Oceanography in Hobart in 1990, where he has been based ever since.
The Hobart location provided him with a ready stepping off point to explore the Southern Ocean, home to the world's largest ocean current - the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.
He has participated in 14 research voyages, 11 as Chief Scientist, on major expeditions to the Southern, Indian and Pacific Oceans.
Dr Rintoul's research has laid the foundation for the growing recognition of the importance of the Southern Ocean in the climate system. For example, he has shown that the Southern Ocean plays a critical role in the global overturning circulation that controls climate.
He has made pioneering contributions to understanding the dynamics, structure and variability of the world’s largest ocean current, the Antarctic Circumpolar Current.
His scientific interests are broad, including the interactions between physical, biological and biogeochemical processes in the sea.
Dr Rintoul's commitment to science leadership is evident in his roles as:
Co-chair, International Climate of Antarctic and Southern Ocean (CASO) research program
Co-chair, Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Expert Group on Oceanography
a participant of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR) Southern Ocean Implementation Panel
Acting Chief of CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research, May-Nov 2009.
He has contributed to the design of a multi-national Southern Ocean Observing System currently being discussed in the science community.
Dr Rintoul graduated with Honours in Physics from Harvard College, USA, and obtained his Doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program, USA.
Dr Rintoul has published more than 65 papers in refereed journals and books, with more than 1 800 citations.
He is on the editorial board of Ocean Dynamics and the Journal of Marine Research.
In 2005, Dr Rintoul was awarded the inaugural Georg Wüst Medal by the German Society of Marine Research.
He was elected to the Australian Academy of Science in 2006 and was made a CSIRO Fellow, CSIRO's highest recognition for scientific achievement, in 2007.
Find out more about CSIRO Marine and Atmospheric Research.