Philosophy + Aims

As a teacher, mentor, book author, book editor, and journal editor, I aim to foster a fundamental understanding of physical concepts and their creative use in describing observed and simulated ocean phenomena. Towards this aim, I strive to pedagogically articulate the foundations of ocean fluid mechanics in both the written and spoken word. I am particularly interested in revealing how concepts and tools from mathematical physics can be leveraged to deepen our understanding of ocean physical processes and circulation.

Cultivating a safe and grateful space for learning and research

As part of my research, teaching, and mentoring, I aim to foster an inclusive, friendly, generous, patient, and non-judgmental space for students, postdocs, and researchers. Key principles that support this space include equity, diversity and inclusion, each of which are intrinsically valuable and an essential feature of ethical research and education. I also acknowledge and honor past generations whose efforts, some of which were sadly garnered through force and oppression, have led to the rewarding research environment that I now work. It is my sincere hope that practicing the above principles supports present and future generations in a way that helps to heal past injustices.

Cultivating an open, accepting, and grateful research and learning space supports spontaneous brainstorming and learning while genuinely appreciating contributions from individuals without regard to race, ethnicity, culture, religion, sexual orientation, gender identity and expression, physical ability, age, socioeconomic status or nationality. Each participant in this space celebrates diversity and nurtures an inclusive and resilient community that is better able to produce fundamental scientific advances that are effectively communicated to the global community.


I find it fulfilling to collaborate with scientists from across a broad spectrum of experience, expertise, and backgrounds. I particularly seek to mentor and collaborate with students, postdocs, and visiting researchers with passions for mathematical physics and physical oceanography. As a mentor, I aim to nurture a talent for diving deep into the fundamentals of ocean physics and for creatively uncovering their impacts on ocean circulation and climate. I support open and honest working relations and aim for an environment where scientific understanding and insights emerge from questions posed in a trusting and non-judgmental space.

Going away dinner for Graeme Sept 2023: Graeme MacGilchrist, Stephen Griffies, Matt Lobo, Jan Zika, and Hemant Khatri.
Research group January 2020: Benjamin Taylor, Hemant Khatri, Ruth Moorman, Graeme MacGilchrist, Houssam Yassin, and Stephen Griffies.
Research group June 2016: Adele Morrison, Henri Drake, Stephen Griffies, Carolina Dufour, and Alison Gray.

Here is a list of past and present people I have mentored/hosted at GFDL and Princeton University.

GFM at Princeton

Geophysical fluid mechanics (GFM) is a beautiful discipline of theoretical physics that forms the intellectual foundation for physical oceanography, atmospheric circulation, and climate. I teach the graduate GFM course as part of Princeton University's AOS program. The first semester develops mathematics, kinematics, tracer dynamics, momentum dynamics, and vorticity dynamics relevant for understanding and describing the physics of rotating and stratified fluids. The second semester focuses on waves and instabilities in geophysical fluid flows. I make use of the following book draft for the lectures, and I welcome comments and suggestions on this ongoing book project (Griffies, 2024).

AOS 572 (Geophysical Waves and Instabilities) Spring 2024
AOS 571 (Geophysical Fluid Mechanics) Autumn 2022

Lectures + Schools

In addition to teaching as part of the Princeton Atmosphere/Ocean Sciences faculty, I offer pedagogical lectures at schools and workshops for students aiming to refine their understanding of ocean and climate science, and for developing insights into how to run and analyze ocean model simulations. My most recent course (pre-pandemic) was at the CLEX advanced ocean modelling summer school in Tasmania during April/May 2019.

Review Papers + Books

The evolution of a scientific discipline is supported by review articles and books that enable a new generation of scientists to penetrate into the discipline and in turn to contribute novel insights. Such publications also help establish a rigor that might otherwise be lacking without a systematic synthesis of intellectual strands. I have participated in many review papers, lead authoring some and mentoring the lead author on others. I am also the author of a monograph on ocean models (Griffies 2004) and the co-editor of a book on ocean climate science (Siedler, Griffies, Gould, and Church 2013).