Robin Muench

ESR Co-Founder
Scientist Emeritus

Research focus: Physical oceanographic research in both polar regions, with emphasis on: mesoscale process, their dynamics and coupling to larger scales; double-diffusive processes; boundary layer mixing processes; free convective processes including both open ocean and shelf convection; shelf-slope plume flows; cross-shelf exchanges; and interannual change.

Robin D. Muench is co-founder, with Dr. Gary S.E. Lagerloef, of Earth & Space Research. Dr. Muench’s early collegiate educational preparation was in physics (AB from Bowdoin College in 1964) and in earth sciences (MA from Dartmouth College in 1966). This background prepared him for PhD studies in physical oceanography at the University of Washington (PhD awarded in 1970). Dr. Muench first went to sea as an oceanographer in 1965 when he participated in a research cruise to the Greenland Sea aboard a US Navy icebreaker. He has since frequently participated in field-based physical oceanographic research, primarily in the Arctic and Antarctic. His research reflects a holistic approach that attempts to assess a given physical system as a connected whole. He has addressed problems ranging from microscale turbulent mixing to ocean basin boundary currents and the relationships between physical processes acting over this wide range of time and space scales. His most recent research has dealt with small-scale to mesoscale processes related to ocean turbulence and mixing, with specific application to oceanographic processes associated with the Antarctic continental margins. His research activities since retirement to an emeritus position in 2007 have focused on processes associated with the continental slope and shelf off Western Antarctica, a region dominated in the Ross Sea by deep ocean bottom formation and in the Amundsen Sea by ocean-forced acceleration of mass loss from ice shelves and the adjacent glaciers and ice sheet.

Dr. Muench has served in many oceanographic research community roles including Oceanography Section Editor for Eos, Associate Editor for Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, President of the International Association for Physical Sciences of the Ocean (IAPSO), and ex officio member of the Executive Committee for the Scientific Council on Ocean Research (SCOR). He more recently chaired SCOR Working Group 121 on Ocean Mixing. He is at present a member of the US National Committee for Geodesy and Geophysics, and serves as Secretary for Physical Oceanography of the Oceanography Section, American Geophysical Union.


B.S. (1964) Bowdoin College (Physics)
M.S. (1966) Dartmouth College (Geology).
Ph.D. (1970) University of Washington (Physical Oceanography).



Wåhlin, A.K., R.D. Muench, L. Arneborg, G. Björk, H.K. Ha, S.H. Lee, and H. Alsén, 2012. Some implications of Ekman layer dynamics for cross-shelf exchange in the Amundsen Sea. J. Physical Oceanography, 42, 1461-1474, doi: 10.1175/JPO-D-11-041.1.

Muench, R., L. Padman, A. Gordon, and A. Orsi, 2009. A dense water outflow from the Ross Sea, Antarctica: Mixing and the contribution of tides. J. Marine Systems, 77, 369-387, doi:10.1016/j.jmarsys.2008.11.003.

Muench, R., A. Wåhlin, T. Özgökmen, R. Hallberg, and L. Padman (2009), Impacts of bottom corrugations on a dense Antarctic outflow: The NW Ross Sea, Geophys. Res. Lett., 36, 23, doi:10.1029/2009GL041347.

Padman, L., S. L. Howard, A. Orsi, and R. Muench, 2009. Tides of the northwestern Ross Sea and their impact on dense outflows of Antarctic Bottom Water, Deep-Sea Res. II, 56, 818-834, doi: 10.1016/j.dsr2.2008.10.026.

De Steur, L., D.M. Holland, R.D. Muench and M.G. McPhee, 2007. The warm-water “halo” around Maud Rise: properties, dynamics and impact. Deep-Sea Res. 1, 53, 871-896.

SCOR Working Group 121 on Ocean Mixing (Chair, R.D. Muench), 2006. Editorial Introduction, Special Issue on Ocean Mixing. Deep-Sea Res. 2, 52, 2-4.

Padman, L., S. Howard, and R. Muench, 2006. Internal tide generation along the South Scotia Ridge. Deep-Sea Research II, 53, 157-171, doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2005.07.011.

Kadko, D. and R.D. Muench, 2005. Evaluation of shelf-basin interaction in the western Arctic by use of short-lived radium isotopes: the importance of mesoscale processes. Deep-Sea Res.2, 51, 3227-3244.

Heywood, K.J., A.C. Naveira-Garabato, D.P. Stevens and R.D. Muench, 2004. On the fate of the Antarctic slope front and the origin of the Weddell Front. J. Geophys. Res., 109, C06021, doi:10.1029/2003JC002053.

Matano, R.P., A.L. Gordon, R.D. Muench and E.D. Palma, 2002. A numerical study of the circulation in the northwestern Weddell Sea. Deep-Sea Res. 2, 48, 4827-4841.

Boyd, T.J., M. Steele, R.D. Muench and J.T. Gunn, 2002. Partial recovery of the Arctic Ocean halocline. Geophys. Res. Letters, 29, 10.1029/2001GLO14047.

Guay, C.K.H., K.K. Falkner, R.D. Muench, M. Mensch and R. Bayer, 2001. Wind-driven transport pathways for Eurasian Arctic river discharge, J. Geophys. Res., 106, 11,469-11,480.

Gunn, J.T. and R.D. Muench, 2001. Observed changes in Arctic Ocean temperature structure over the past half decade, Geophys Res. Lett., 28(6), 1035-1038.

Muench, R. D.,L. Padman, S. L. Howard, and E. Fahrbach, 2001. Upper ocean diapycnal mixing in the northwestern Weddell Sea, Deep Sea Res. II, 49, 4843-4861.

Muench, R. D., J. H. Morison, L. Padman, D. G. Martinson, P. Schlosser, B. Huber, and R. Hohmann, 2001: Maud Rise Revisited, J. Geophys. Res., 106, 2423-2440.

Schauer, U., B. Rudels, E.P. Jones, L.G. Anderson, R.D. Muench, G. Bjork, J.H. Swift, V. Ivanov and A.-M. Larson, 2001. Confluence and redistribution of Atlantic Water in the Nansen, Amundsen and Makarov basins. Annales Geophysicae, 20, 257-273.

Woodgate, R.A., K. Aagaard, R.D. Muench, J. Gunn, G. Björk, B. Rudels, A.T. Roach and U. Schauer, 2001. The Arctic Ocean boundary current along the Eurasian slope and the adjacent Lomonosov Ridge: water mass properties, transports and transformations from moored instruments. Deep-Sea Res. 1, 48, 1757-1792.

Muench, R.D., J. T. Gunn, T.E. Whitledge,P. Schlosser and W.E. Smethie, Jr., 2000. An Arctic Ocean cold core eddy, J. Geophys. Res., 105, 23,997-24,006.

Rudels, B., R. D. Muench, J. T. Gunn, U. Schauer, and H. J. Friedrich, 2000. Evolution of the Arctic Ocean boundary current north of the Siberian shelves, J. Mar. Systems, 25, 77-99.

Dewey, R.K., R.D. Muench and J.T. Gunn, 1999. Mixing and vertical heat flux estimates in the Arctic Eurasian Basin. J. Mar. Systems, 21, 199-205.

Rudels, B., G. Björk, R.D. Muench and U. Schauer, 1998. Double-diffusive layering in the Eurasian Basin of the Arctic Ocean, J. Mar. Systems , 21, 3-27.

Schauer, U., R.D. Muench, B. Rudels and L. Timokhov, 1997. The impact of eastern Arctic shelf waters on the Nansen Basin intermediate layers. J. Geophys. Res. , 102, 3371-3382.

Levine, M.D., L. Padman, R.D. Muench, and J.H. Morison, 1997. Internal waves and tides in the western Weddell Sea: Observations from Ice Station Weddell, J. Geophys. Res., 102, 1073-1089.

Lynch, J.F., G. Jin, R. Pawlowicz, D. Ray, C-.S. Chiu, J.H. Miller, R.H. Bourke, A.R. Parsons, A.J. Plueddemann and R.D. Muench, 1996. Acoustic travel time perturbations due to shallow water internal waves and internal tides in the Barents Sea Polar Front: theory and experiment. J. Acoustical Soc. America, 99, 803-821.

McPhee, M.G., S.F. Ackley, P. Guest, B.A. Huber, D.G. Martinson, J.H. Morison, R.D. Muench, L. Padman, and T.P. Stanton, 1996. The Antarctic Zone flux experiment, Bull. Amer. Meteorol. Soc., 77, 1221-1232.

Parsons, A.R., R.H. Bourke, R.D. Muench, C.-S. Chiu, J.F. Lynch, J.H. Miller, A.J. Plueddemann and R. Pawlowicz, 1996. The Barents Sea Polar Front in summer. J. Geophys. Res., 101 , 14201-14221.

Muench, R.D., D.C. Smith, IV and C.A. Paulson, 1995. Convection beneath freezing leads: new observations compared with numerical model results. J. Geophys. Res., 100, 4681-4692.

Muench, R.D. and A.L. Gordon, 1995. Circulation and transport of water along the western Weddell Sea margin. J. Geophys. Res. , 100, 18503-18515.

Muench, R.D., M.G. McPhee, C.A. Paulson and J.H. Morison, 1992. Winter oceanographic conditions in the Fram Strait-Yermak Plateau region. J. Geophys. Res., 97, 3469-3483.

Cota, G. F., W. O. Smith, Jr., D. M. Nelson, R.D. Muench and L.I. Gordon, 1992. Nutrient and biogenic particulate distributions, primary productivity and nitrogen uptake in the Weddell-Scotia Sea marginal ice zone during winter. J. Mar. Res. , 50 , 155-181.

Muench, R.D., J.T. Gunn and D.M. Husby, 1990 The Weddell-Scotia Confluence in Mid-winter, J. Geophys. Res., 95, 18,177-18,190.

Muench, R.D., Huber, B.A., Gunn, J.T., Husby, D.M. and Mountain, D. G., 1992. The Weddell-Scotia marginal ice zone: Physical oceanographic conditions, geographical and seasonal variability, J. Mar. Syst., 3, 1-14.

Padman, L., A.J. Plueddemann, R.D. Muench, and R. Pinkel, 1992. Diurnal tides near the Yermak Plateau, J. Geophys. Res., 97, 12639-12652.

Muench, R.D., 1991. Relict convective features in the Weddell Sea. In Deep Convection and Deep Water Formation (J.C. Gascard and P.C. Chu, eds.), Elsevier Press, Netherlands, 53-67.

Muench, R.D., H.J.S. Fernando and G.R. Stegen, 1990. Temperature and salinity staircases in the northwestern Weddell Sea, J. Phys. Oceanog., 20, 295-306.

Muench, R.D., 1990. A review of mesoscale processes in the polar oceans. In Polar Oceanography (W.O. Smith, ed.), Academic Press, NY, 223-285.

Smith, S.D., R.D. Muench and C.H. Pease, 1990. Polynyas and leads: an overview of physical processes and environment, J. Geophys. Res., 95, 9461-9480.