Photo of Stuart Cunningham
  • SAMS, Scottish Marine Institute, Oban, Argyll, PA37 1QA

    United Kingdom

  • PA37 1QA

    United Kingdom

  • 3025 Citations
  • 25 h-Index
If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile

Research expertise

Prof. Stuart Andrew Cunningham
Head of Environmental Physics and Autonomous Technology
The preeminent scientific challenge of the 21st Century is to understand and quantify Earth¿s current and future climate. How will climate variability impact the ocean¿s sustainable resources and what are the human impacts of such change? Observing, modelling and quantifying marine systems is key to understanding their response to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide. Oceans¿ determine the rate, extent and character of climate by their long-term storage and transport of heat and carbon and dominance of the global fresh-water cycle. A critical challenge is to integrate our understanding of ocean systems on different timescales and across disciplines and to propose testable hypothesis of how these systems interact.
New technology, particularly the development of observing platforms and novel sensors will likely provide sustained observations of physical, chemical, biological and geological properties, and so play a critical role in this challenge for the 21st century.
I am an observational Physical Oceanographer with a B.Sc. (Astrophysics, University of Edinburgh) a M.Sc. (Physical Oceanography, University College of North Wales) and a Ph.D. (Ocean Inverse Modelling, University of Liverpool). I joined the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences in 1990 and then the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. In August 2012 I joined SAMS as the MASTS appointment in Physical Oceanography. As an observational physical oceanographer I have participated in 32 research cruises (800+ days at sea). I have written or co-authored 35 refereed scientific publications including three in Nature or Science. From 2004 to 2012 I was Principal Investigator for the NERC/NSF funded RAPID-WATCH programme for sustained observations of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation at 26.5°N. Over several years I have been advocating and proposing basin-wide observations in the subpolar gyre because of the relevance to the UK. I collaborate widely: as a leader or major partner in UK and EU programmes (Thermohaline Overturning at Risk? and North Atlantic Climate Variability); and in international programs interacting with funding and co-ordination agencies (e.g. NSF, NOAA, CLIVAR, OceanObs and the UK MCCIP). I am a contributing author for the International Panel on Climate Change. I provide national and international leadership through the adoption and exploitation of new technology, and through leadership of science programs and the promotion of large-scale observing programmes.

Education/Academic qualification

Master of Science, University College of North Wales

Bachelor of Science

Doctor of Science, University of Liverpool


  • Marine Processes and Climate

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics where Stuart Cunningham is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

  • 4 Similar Profiles
meridional circulation Earth & Environmental Sciences
gyre Earth & Environmental Sciences
ocean Earth & Environmental Sciences
cruise report Earth & Environmental Sciences
basin Earth & Environmental Sciences
trough Earth & Environmental Sciences
climate Earth & Environmental Sciences
plateau Earth & Environmental Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1995 2019

3 Citations (Scopus)
47 Downloads (Pure)

Arctic Mediterranean Exchanges: A consistent volume budget and trends in transports from two decades of observations

Osterhus, S., Woodgate, R., Valdimarsson, H., Turrell, W. R., de Steur, L., Quadfasel, D., Olsen, S., Moritz, M., Lee, C., Larsen, K. M., Jonsson, S., Johnson, C. L., Jochumsen, K., Hansen, B., curry, B., Cunningham, S. & Berx, B., 12 Apr 2019, In : Ocean Science. 15, p. 379-399 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
volume transport
31 Citations (Scopus)
22 Downloads (Pure)

A sea change in our view of overturning in the sub polar North Atlantic

Lozier, M. S., Li, F., Bacon, S., Bahr, F., Bower, A. S., Cunningham, S., de Jong, M. F., de Steur, L., deYoung, B., Fischer, J., Gary, S., Greenan, B. J. W., Holliday, N. P., Houk, A., Houpert, L., Inall, M., Johns, W., Johnson, C. L., Karstensen, J., koman, G. & 17 others, Le Bras, I. A., Lin, X., Mackay, N., Marshall, D., Mercier, H., Oltmans, M., Pickart, R. S., Ramsey, A. L., Rayner, D., Straneo, F., Thierry, V., Torres, D. J., Williams, R., Wilson, C., Yang, J., Yashayaev, I. & Zhao, J., 1 Feb 2019, In : Science. 363, 6426, p. 516-521 6 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
meridional circulation
deep water formation
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
twenty first century
3 Citations (Scopus)
122 Downloads (Pure)

Seasonal cycles of oceanic transports in the eastern subpolar North Atlantic

Gary, S., Cunningham, S., Johnson, C., Houpert, L., Holliday, N. P., Behrens, E., Biastoch, A. & Böning, C. W., 27 Feb 2018, In : Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. 123, p. 1471-1484 36 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
meridional circulation
1 Citation (Scopus)
35 Downloads (Pure)

Structure and Transport of the North Atlantic Current in the Eastern Subpolar Gyre from Sustained Glider Observations

Houpert, L., Inall, M., Dumont, E., Gary, S., Johnson, C., Porter, M., Johns, W. E. & Cunningham, S. A., 29 Aug 2018, In : Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. 123, 8, p. 6019-6038 19 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
15 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)

Subpolar North Atlantic Overturning and Gyre-Scale Circulation in the Summers of 2014 and 2016

Holliday, N. P., Bacon, S., Cunningham, S., Gary, S., Karstensen, J., King, BA., Li, F. & McDonagh, EL., 2 Jul 2018, In : Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. 123, 7, p. 4538-4559 22 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Open Access
meridional circulation

Activities 2012 2019

  • 18 Oral presentation
  • 2 Types of Public engagement and outreach - Media article or participation
  • 1 Organising a conference
  • 1 Invited talk

Workshop on Subpolar North Atlantic Eastern Boundary

Stuart Cunningham (Participant), Gerard McCarthy (Organiser)
14 Oct 2019

Activity: Participating in or organising an eventOrganising a conference


Ocean predictions and observations in response to the climate emergency

Stuart Cunningham (Keynote speaker), Noel Keenlyside (Keynote speaker), Steffen Olsen (Keynote speaker), Barbara Berx (Speaker), Mark Payne (Keynote speaker)
16 Oct 2019

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Ocean heat content and fluxes of energy in the Labrador Sea: 1992 to 2014

Stuart Cunningham (Speaker), B. Berx (Speaker), Clare Johnson (Speaker), Loic Houpert (Speaker), Stefan Gary (Speaker)
Nov 2016

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

ATLAS: Adding chemical sensors to the eastern portion of the OSNAP array

Clare Johnson (Speaker), Stuart Cunningham (Speaker), Stefan Gary (Speaker)
Nov 2016

Activity: Talk or presentationOral presentation

Press / Media

iAtlantic project - mapping the Atlantic Ocean

Stuart Cunningham


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Research

Atlantic Circulation

Stuart Cunningham


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Research