Joseph L. Reid
Professor Emeritus of Physical Oceanography
Integrative Oceanography Division

Joseph L. Reid is professor emeritus of physical oceanography in the Integrative Oceanography Division at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. He served as director of the Scripps Marine Life Research Group. He is a highly regarded physical oceanographer concerned with the study of ocean circulation in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans.

Reid was born in Franklin, TX. He received a BA in mathematics from the University of Texas. During World War II, he served more than two years as an officer in the U.S. Navy aboard the USS Stockdale, and served in the Mediterranean and Caribbean seas and North Atlantic and Western Pacific oceans. After the war, he became interested in the study of the oceans, and entered Scripps; he received an MS in physical oceanography.

He proposed and coordinated the NORPAC Expedition, which included ships from the U.S., Japan, and Canada, and collected oceanographic observations in the North Pacific Ocean. He has written numerous papers based on the expedition’s results and edited the NORPAC Atlas.

Aboard R/V Argo, he carried out a winter expedition into the northwestern Pacific, the Bering Sea, and the Okhotsk Sea. He made the first measurements of the abyssal flow from the South Pacific into the North Pacific through its deepest passage, the Samoan Passage.

On the Piquero Expedition, he measured the transport of water from the Pacific to Atlantic, south of Cape Horn. He has also measured water characteristics, including currents, in the Antarctic, south of New Zealand, and in the southwestern Atlantic.

Reid was one of the initial participants in the Atlantic and Pacific phases of the Geosecs Expedition, which obtained detailed measurements of oceanic constituents in the Arctic and Antarctic.

He investigated the nature of current exchanges among the major oceans. These studies focused on the exchange of water between the Norwegian-Greenland Sea and the North Atlantic; the Mediterranean Sea and the North Atlantic; and the Antarctic and South Atlantic oceans.

Reid was awarded the Maurice Ewing Medal of the American Geophysical Union for his outstanding scientific contributions to ocean sciences. He also has received the Alexander Agassiz Award of the National Academy of Sciences and the Henry Stommel Research Award of the American Meteorological Society. He received the Albatross Award from the American Miscellaneous Society, for “his outrageous insistence that ocean circulation models should bear some resemblance to reality.”

He is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the American Geophysical Union (AGU). He twice served as president of the Ocean Sciences Section of AGU.

In addition, he is a member of the American Society of Limnology and Oceanography, the New York Academy of Science, and the Eastern Pacific Oceanic Conference, which he served as secretary. He has been on the Board of Editors for the Journal of Marine Research.

Last updated May 2004