Dr Shane Keating
Senior Lecturer

Dr Shane Keating

School of Mathematics & Statistics

I use powerful mathematical tools to better measure, model, and understand our ocean and our planet.

The ocean circulation plays a crucial role in Earth's climate and biosphere. However, our understanding of the ocean circulation is limited because the ocean is dominated by turbulent vortices and jets on scales ranging from tens to thousands of kilometres that are notoriously difficult to represent accurately in numerical models. As such, the problem of effectively measuring and modelling turbulence in the ocean remains a critical challenge to our ability to accurately predict future climate change. I am interested in measuring, modelling and understanding turbulent mixing and stirring and its role in the ocean and the climate. Specifically, I study:

  • Mixing and turbulence in the geophysical flows
  • Ocean state estimation and data assimilation
  • Satellite remote sensing
  • Geophysical wave interactions


Employment and Education:

  • Senior Lecturer - School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (Jul 2017 - Present)
  • Lecturer - School of Mathematics and Statistics, University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia (Feb 2013 - Jun 2017)
  • Assistant Research Scientist, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York, USA (Aug 2010 - Jan 2013)
  • Postdoctoral Researcher, Courant Institute of Mathematical Sciences, New York University, New York, USA (Aug 2008 - Jul 2010)
  • Ph.D. in Physics, Department of Physics, University of California San Diego, San Diego, California, USA (Sep 2003 - Jun 2008)
  • B.A. in Theoretical Physics, Department of Physics and Department of Mathematics, Trinity College Dublin, Dublin, Ireland (Sep 1998 - Jun 2002)


Available Student Projects:

I am very interested to talk to potential Honours, Masters, and Ph.D. students who are interested in working in the field of Mathematical Oceanography. Information on scholarships for Australian and International students is available from the Graduate Research School.

  • Fractal geometry of ocean temperature and chlorophyll fronts

Turbulent eddies in the ocean tend to stretch and deform fronts of temperature and chlorophyll into strikingly convoluted, fractal-like patterns that are visibile from space. This fractal structure provides a fingerprint of the underlying flow and is intimately linked with the processes of stirring and mixing in the ocean. In this project, we will investigate the theoretical connection between the fractal geometry of fronts in turbulent flows and diffusion across the front, with the goal of developing a parameterisation of mixing in numerical ocean and climate models. 

  • Submesoscale ocean dynamics

Submesoscale ocean dynamics (~100m to 100km) play a critical but poorly understood role in the ocean, from planet-scale to plankton scale. The impact of submesoscale fronts on heat and carbon exchange between the deep ocean and the atmosphere represents a key uncertainty in Earth's climate. Submesoscale eddies modulate the ocean food chain from top predators to phytoplankton. And submesocales strongly impact the dispersion of ocean-borne material such as nutrients, marine biota, and pollutants. Research topics in this area include

Ocean dynamics as a driver of productivity. The student will configure a coupled hydrodynamic biogeochemical version of the Regional Ocean Modeling System to understand the role of submesoscale eddies in the 3D distribution of chlorophyll-a in the East Australian Current.

Diagnosing submesoscale ocean eddies. The student will use a combination of ocean model output and observational data from coastal radar, moorings, and satellite observations to quantify the properties of submesoscale eddies, including lifespan, size, and shedding frequencies.

Stochastic parameterization of submesoscale. The student will examine novel stochastic and Lagrangian methods for representing unresolved submesoscale dynamics in ocean climate models. The methods will be tested using both numerical and observational ocean data.

See here for more information on projects in submesoscale ocean dynamics and scholarship opportunities.

+61 2 93857071
  • Journal articles | 2022
    Barthel A; Hogg AM; Waterman S; Keating S, 2022, 'Baroclinic Control of Southern Ocean Eddy Upwelling Near Topography', Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 49, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2021GL097491
    Journal articles | 2022
    Denes MC; Froyland G; Keating SR, 2022, 'Persistence and material coherence of a mesoscale ocean eddy', Physical Review Fluids, vol. 7, http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevFluids.7.034501
    Journal articles | 2021
    Shakespeare CJ; Gibson AH; Hogg AMC; Bachman SD; Keating SR; Velzeboer N, 2021, 'A New Open Source Implementation of Lagrangian Filtering: A Method to Identify Internal Waves in High-Resolution Simulations', Journal of Advances in Modeling Earth Systems, vol. 13, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2021MS002616
    Journal articles | 2020
    Archer M; Schaeffer A; Keating S; Roughan M; Holmes R; Siegelman L, 2020, 'Observations of submesoscale variability and frontal subduction within the mesoscale eddy field of the tasman sea', Journal of Physical Oceanography, vol. 50, pp. 1509 - 1529, http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-19-0131.1
    Journal articles | 2020
    Boettger DG; Banner ML; Barthélémy X; Keating SR; Morison RP, 2020, 'On the energetics of breaking inception and onset in surface gravity waves', , http://arxiv.org/abs/2008.00633v1
    Journal articles | 2020
    Siripatana A; Kerry C; Roughan M; Souza JMAC; Keating S, 2020, 'Assessing the Impact of Nontraditional Ocean Observations for Prediction of the East Australian Current', Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, vol. 125, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2020JC016580
    Journal articles | 2019
    Cetina-Heredia P; Roughan M; van Sebille E; Keating S; Brassington GB, 2019, 'Retention and Leakage of Water by Mesoscale Eddies in the East Australian Current System', Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, vol. 124, pp. 2485 - 2500, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2018JC014482
    Journal articles | 2019
    Li Y; McDougall T; Keating S; DE LAVERGNE C; Madec G, 2019, 'Horizontal residual mean: Addressing the limited spatial resolution of ocean models', Journal of Physical Oceanography, vol. 49, pp. 2741 - 2759, http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-19-0092.1
    Journal articles | 2018
    Archer MR; Keating SR; Roughan M; Johns WE; Lumpkin R; Beron-Vera FJ; Shay LK, 2018, 'The Kinematic Similarity of Two Western Boundary Currents Revealed by Sustained High-Resolution Observations', Geophysical Research Letters, vol. 45, pp. 6176 - 6185, http://dx.doi.org/10.1029/2018GL078429
    Journal articles | 2017
    Archer MR; Roughan M; Keating SR; Schaeffer A, 2017, 'On the Variability of the East Australian Current: Jet Structure, Meandering, and Influence on Shelf Circulation', Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, vol. 122, pp. 8464 - 8481, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2017JC013097
    Journal articles | 2017
    Barthel A; McC. Hogg A; Waterman S; Keating S, 2017, 'Jet-topography interactions affect energy pathways to the deep Southern Ocean', Journal of Physical Oceanography, vol. 47, pp. 1799 - 1816, http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-16-0220.1
    Journal articles | 2017
    Mantovanelli A; Keating SR; Wyatt LR; Roughan M; Schaeffer A, 2017, 'Lagrangian and Eulerian characterization of two counter-rotating submesoscale eddies in a western boundary current', Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, vol. 122, pp. 4902 - 4921, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016JC011968
    Journal articles | 2017
    Roughan M; Keating SR; Schaeffer A; Cetina Heredia P; Rocha C; Griffin D; Robertson R; Suthers IM, 2017, 'A tale of two eddies: The biophysical characteristics of two contrasting cyclonic eddies in the East Australian Current System', Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, vol. 122, pp. 2494 - 2518, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2016JC012241
    Journal articles | 2016
    Klocker A; Marshall DP; Keating S; Read PL, 2016, 'A regime diagram for ocean geostrophic turbulence', Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, vol. 142, pp. 2411 - 2417, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/qj.2833
    Journal articles | 2015
    Keating SR; Smith KS, 2015, 'Upper ocean flow statistics estimated from superresolved sea-surface temperature images', Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, vol. 120, pp. 1197 - 1214, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2014JC010357
    Journal articles | 2015
    Van Sebille E; Waterman S; Barthel A; Lumpkin R; Keating SR; Fogwill C; Turney C, 2015, 'Pairwise surface drifter separation in the western Pacific sector of the Southern Ocean', Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, vol. 120, pp. 6769 - 6781, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/2015JC010972
    Journal articles | 2012
    Keating S; Majda AJ; Smith KS, 2012, 'New methods for estimating ocean eddy heat transport using satellite altimetry', Monthly Weather Review, vol. 140, pp. 1703 - 1722, http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/MWR-D-11-00145.1
    Journal articles | 2012
    Waugh DW; Keating S; Chen M, 2012, 'Diagnosing ocean stirring: Comparison of relative dispersion and finite-time Lyapunov exponents', Journal of Physical Oceanography, vol. 42, pp. 1173 - 1185, http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-11-0215.1
    Journal articles | 2011
    Keating SR; Smith KS; Kramer PR, 2011, 'Diagnosing lateral mixing in the upper ocean with virtual tracers: Spatial and temporal resolution dependence', Journal of Physical Oceanography, vol. 41, pp. 1512 - 1534, http://dx.doi.org/10.1175/2011JPO4580.1
    Journal articles | 2011
    Keating SR; Spiegel EA; Worster MG, 2011, 'Patterns of convection in solidifying binary solutions', Geophysical and Astrophysical Fluid Dynamics, vol. 105, pp. 304 - 328, http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/03091929.2010.545405
    Journal articles | 2010
    Keating SR; Kramer PR; Smith KS, 2010, 'Homogenization and mixing measures for a replenishing passive scalar field', Physics of Fluids, vol. 22, pp. 1 - 9, http://dx.doi.org/10.1063/1.3456726
    Journal articles | 2009
    Kramer PR; Keating SR, 2009, 'Homogenization theory for a replenishing passive scalar field', Chinese Annals of Mathematics. Series B, vol. 30, pp. 631 - 644, http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11401-009-0196-0
    Journal articles | 2008
    Keating SR; Diamond PH, 2008, 'Turbulent resistivity in wavy two-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic turbulence', Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol. 595, pp. 173 - 202, http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S002211200700941X
    Journal articles | 2008
    Keating SR; Silvers LJ; Diamond PH, 2008, 'On cross-phase and the quenching of the turbulent diffusion of magnetic fields in two dimensions', Astrophysical Journal, vol. 678, http://dx.doi.org/10.1086/588654
    Journal articles | 2007
    Keating SR; Diamond PH, 2007, 'Turbulent diffusion of magnetic fields in two-dimensional magnetohydrodynamic turbulence with stable stratification', Physical Review Letters, vol. 99, http://dx.doi.org/10.1103/PhysRevLett.99.224502
    Journal articles | 2002
    Sabatelli L; Keating S; Dudley J; Richmond P, 2002, 'Waiting time distributions in financial markets', European Physical Journal B, vol. 27, pp. 273 - 275, http://dx.doi.org/10.1140/epjb/e20020151
  • Preprints | 2021
    Denes MC; Froyland G; Keating SR, 2021, Persistence and material coherence of a mesoscale ocean eddy
    Preprints |
    Barthel A; Hogg AM; Waterman S; Keating SR, Baroclinic control of Southern Ocean eddy upwelling near topography, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/essoar.10509842.1
    Preprints |
    Gwyther DE; Kerry C; Roughan M; Keating SR, Observing system simulation experiments reveal that subsurface temperature observations improve estimates of circulation and heat content in a dynamic western boundary current, http://dx.doi.org/10.5194/gmd-2022-98
    Preprints |
    Shakespeare CJ; Gibson AH; Hogg AM; Keating SR; Bachman SD; Velzeboer N, Lagrangian Filtering: A novel method for separating internal waves from non-wave flows in high-resolution simulations, http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/essoar.10507016.1