Associate Professor
Dept. of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences
University of Wisconsin - Madison

Professor McKinley and her research group study how physical structures and biogeochemical processes in large water bodies influence carbon cycling and its temporal variability. This requires an interdisciplinary approach across a range of fields: from fluid dynamics to aquatic chemistry and ecology. She uses numerical models, historical datasets, and remote sensing in her research. Currently, Professor McKinley has projects underway addressing global trends in surface ocean pCO2, biological export of carbon from the surface to deep ocean, physical and biogeochemical changes since the late 1990's in the North Atlantic, and biogeochemical cycling in Lake Superior and Michigan.


Galen is teaching AOS660 - Introduction to Physical Oceanography, in Fall 2013 with 13 students enrolled. Here is the link.

Fay-McKinley, pCO2 paper is out.

Amanda Fay and Professor McKinley have published a new analysis of global trends in surface ocean pCO2 over the past 30 years. The paper is here.

Fay, A. R., and G. A. McKinley (2013), Global trends in surface ocean pCO2 from in situ data, Global Biogeochem. Cycles, 27, doi:10.1002/gbc.20051.

This paper has been highlighted by Nature Climate Change Link

We have developed a website devoted to this work. As new data become available, we will update our analysis and post it on this site, so please stay tuned!

James Kralj, Sea Grant Scholar in Oregon

James Kralj is spending the summer at Oregon State working with the United States Environmental Protection Agency in the Pacific Coastal Ecology Branch at the Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Oregon studying soil oxidation rates in salt marshes along the Oregon coast.

You can read about his work at the Oregon Sea Grant Scholors blog linked here.

AOS/GEOG 332: Global Warming Science and Impacts Professor McKinley's students in AOS/GEOG 332: Global Warming Science and Impacts have put together some great videos on climate impacts in Wisconsin, Minnesota and the world. Click here to see them all on YouTube

Below is a small sample:


In April 2013, Graduate students Haidi Chen, Darren Pilcher and Alexis Santos and undergraduate James Kralj presented posters at the Nelson Institute Earth Day conference and at the AOSS Poster Reception.

Congratulations to James Kralj who won "Best Undergraduate Poster" and to Haidi Chen who had a honorable mention in the graduate student poster competition.


Amanda Fay, who works with Professor McKinley on diagnosing trends in surface ocean pCO2, is working this spring at Friday Harbor Labs on an ocean acidification mesocosm experiment.

Check out their blog at


Climate and Carbon Impacts on Productivity, Chemistry, and Invasive Species in the Great Lakes - Galen A. McKinley, University of Wisconsin-Madison

Watch this webinar at: - 63 minutes

Abstract: The ecosystems of the Great Lakes are critical national resources, yet their large-scale functioning and interactions with climate change are poorly explained. How do physical drivers impact chemistry and ecology? How are invasive species reacting to physical change? How will the Great Lakes respond to increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide? Numerical models and data help us to answer these questions, and to identify future research priorities.

AOS 332: Global Warming: Science and Impacts

In Spring 2013, Professor McKinley will teach AOS 332: Global Warming: Science and Impacts. This course will give non-AOS majors an understanding of the science of climate change and the expected impacts on their lives. More information coming soon.

AOS 332 Syllabus


Water Docs: Professor Galen McKinley Profile

Past News

For past news, research, announcements, graduations and awards see our Past News Page



From left to right: Melissa Breeden, Darren Pilcher, Alexis Santos, James Kralj, Galen McKinley and Dierk Polzin. Not Pictured: Haidi Chen and Amanda Fay

Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences