Jan D. Zika
The 2018 Division Outstanding Early Career Scientists Award is awarded to Jan D. Zika for outstanding research in ocean dynamics, including fundamental advances in our understanding of the ocean’s thermocline circulation and the ocean’s role in climate.
Jan Zika has made fundamental advances in our understanding of the ocean’s role in Earth’s climate. Although still an early career scientist, he has published more than 30 papers and these have had a significant impact on the development of ocean and climate physics. He was the first to quantitatively describe the ocean’s thermohaline circulation as a thermodynamic cycle. This laid the foundations for the diagnosis of global rates of ocean turbulent mixing to quantify changes in heat and salt fluxes. Recently Zika used these methods to quantify changes in the global water cycle over the past half century. He has also moved beyond ocean science to quantify the thermodynamic cycles of the atmospheric heat engine; this has led to fundamental new understanding of how the atmosphere will respond to climate change.
Zika has already mentored PhD students, led research projects and initiated efforts to communicate the ocean’s role in climate change to the general public. His energy and scientific insight make him a highly deserving recipient of this award.