Sam B. Cornish

Sam B. Cornish


I’m interested in the dynamics of the Arctic Ocean. It is a complicated space and one which is sparsely observed and difficult to model. This means we still have a lot to learn.

The Arctic is changing rapidly. And although the Arctic Ocean is a comparitively small ocean, it plays an important role in larger scale climate processes, being positioned at the northerly node of the global cycle of heat and humidity.

The physical dynamics of the Arctic encompass atmospheric, oceanic and cryospheric processes. These systems are interlinked at the surface of the ocean. As an ocean that is stratified by salinity (how salty a layer of water is determines its position in the water column), freshwater in the Arctic represents an important control on these linkages, because its abundance modulates connection between the ocean interior and the surface.

My PhD research focusses on understanding freshwater changes in the Arctic.

My interest is both in the fundamental physics of the Arctic ocean and atmosphere circulation, and its representation in climate models. I use linear response theory to interrogate coupled climate models and evaluate the way they represent these systems.

In Autumn 2019 I participated in the MOSAiC School aboard Akademik Fedorov in the central Arctic, and made these podcasts as part of the outreach effort to animate this vital Arctic science:

MOSAiC Mixdown: Mini-podcasts from the Arctic


  • S.B. Cornish, Y. Kostov, H.L. Johnson, C. Lique, 2020. Response of Arctic Freshwater to the Arctic Oscillation in Coupled Climate Models. Journal of Climate. DOI:
  • M. Muilwijk, M. Ilicak, S.B. Cornish, S. Danilov, R. Gelderloos, R. Gerdes, V. Haid, T. W. N. Haine, H. L. Johnson, Y. Kostov, T. Kovács, C. Lique, J. M. Marson, P. G. Myers, J. Scott, L. H. Smedsrud, C. Talandier, Q. Wang, 2019. Arctic Ocean Response to Greenland Sea wind anomalies in a suite of model simulations. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans. DOI: 10.1029/2019JC015101
  • M.P. Searle, S.B. Cornish, A.W. Heard, J-H. Charles, J.D. Branch, 2019. Structure of the Northern Moine Thrust zone, Loch Eriboll, Scottish Caledonides. Tectonophysics. DOI:
  • H.L. Johnson, S.B. Cornish, Y. Kostov, E. Beer, C. Lique, 2018. Arctic Ocean freshwater content and its decadal memory of sea-level pressure. Geophysical Research Letters. DOI: 10.1029/2017GL076870
  • S. Cornish and M. Searle, 2017. 3D geometry and kinematic evolution of the Wadi Mayh sheath fold, Oman, using detailed mapping from high-resolution photography. Journal of Structural Geology 101, 26-42. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsg.2017.06.009

In preparation:

  • Cornish, Muilwijk et al. Ice trajectories under the Beaufort high can influence freshwater accumulation. To be submitted to Ocean Modelling
  • Cornish et al. Decline of the Arctic ‘Ice Factories’ delayed by negative feedbacks.
  • Cornish et al. Can sea ice export drive liquid freshwater changes in the Arctic?