ADDRESS: Scripps Institution of Oceanography
University of California, San Diego, 0213
La Jolla, California 92093
(858) 534-1380 (Office); (858) 534-8045 (Fax);


Undergraduate Degree, 1977, B.Sc. (Theoretical Physics), M.Sc. ( Applied Mathematics), Australian National University
Graduate Degree, 1981, Ph.D. (Physical Oceanography),
Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution MIT-WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography


July 1991 to present: Professor of Physical Oceanography,
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego
Jan. 1988 to June 1991: Associate Professor of Physical Oceanography,
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego


1976 University Medal in Theoretical Physics from the Australian National University.
1982 Carl-Gustav Rossby Award, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
1989 McElwane Medal from the American Geophysical Union.
1989 Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.
1998 Houghton Lecturer, Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
2006 G.K. Batchelor Lecturer, University of Cambridge.
2009 Fellow of the American Meteorological Society.
2012 Fellow of the National Academy of Sciences.


I am an associate editor of the Journal of Marine Research and the Fuid Dynamics Research .

I reluctantly participate in the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Summer Study Program in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics.


1. Snyder, A.W., and W.R. Young, 1978. Modes of optical waveguides. J. Opt. Soc. Am., 68, 297-309.

2. Young, W.R., and P.B. Rhines, 1980. Rossby wave action, energy, and entrophy in forced mean flows. Geophys. Astrophys. Fluid Dyn., 15, 39-52.

3. Rhines, P.B., and W.R. Young, 1982. Homogenization of potential vorticity in planetary gyres. J. Fluid Mech., 122, 347-367.

4. Rhines, P.B., and W.R. Young, 1982. A theory of the wind-driven circulation, I- mid-ocean gyres. J. Mar. Res., 40, Supp. 559-596.

5. Young, W.R., and P.B. Rhines, 1982. A theory of the wind-driven circulation, II-circulation models and western boundary layers. J. Mar. Res., 40, 849-872.

6. Young, W.R., P.B. Rhines, and C.J.R. Garrett, 1982. Shear-flow dispersion, internal waves, and horizontal mixing in the ocean. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 12, 515-527.

7. Rhines, P.B., and W.R. Young, 1983. How rapidly is passive scalar mixed within closed streamlines? J. Fluid Mech., 133, 135-145.

8. Young, W.R., 1983. Topographic rectification of tidal currents. J. Phys. Oceanogr. 13, 716-721.

9. Ierley, G.R., and W.R. Young, 1983. Can the western boundary layer affect the potential vorticity distribution in the Sverdrup interior of a wind gyre? J. Phys. Oceanogr., 13, 1753-1763.

10. Pedlosky, J., and W. R. Young, 1983. Ventilation, potential vorticity homogenization and the structure of the ocean circulation. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 13, 2020-2037.

11. Young, W.R., 1984. The role of western boundary layers in gyre scale ocean mixing. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 14, 478-483.

12. Dewar, W.K., P.B. Rhines, and W.R. Young, 1984. The nonlinear spin-up of a stratified ocean. Geophys. Astrophys. Fluid Dyn., 30, 169-197.

13. Young, W.R., 1985. Some interactions between small numbers of baroclinic vortices. Geophys. Astrophys. Fluid Dyn., 33, 35-61.

14. Pierce, B.P., and W.R. Young, 1986. Lycaenid butterflies and ants: two-species stable equilibria in mutualistic, commensal and parastic interactions. Am Naturalist, 128, 216-227.

15. Broutman, D., and W.R. Young, 1986. On the interaction of small-scale oceanic internal waves with near inertial waves. J. Fluid Mech., 166, 341- 358.

16. Young, W.R., 1986. Elliptical vortices in shallow water. J. Fluid Mech., 171, 101-119.

17. Hayashi, Y.Y., and W.R. Young, 1986. Stable and unstable shear modes of rotating parallel flows in shallow water. J. Fluid Mech., 184, 477-504.

18. Young, W.R., and G.R. Ierley, 1986. Eastern boundary conditions and weak solutions of the ideal thermocline equations. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 16, 1884-1900.

19. Abarbanel, H.D.I., and W.R. Young, 1987. The General Circulation of the Ocean. Springer-Verlag, New York, 291 pp.

20. Young, W.R., 1987. Baroclinic Circulation Theories. In: The General Circulation of the Oceans., ed. by H.D.I. Abarbanel and W. R. Young, Springer-Verlag.

21. Young, W.R., 1987. Selective decay of entrophy and the excitation of barotropic waves in a channel. J. Atm. Sci., 44, 2804-2812.

22. Cessi, P., G.R. Ierley, and W.R. Young, 1987. A model of the inertial recirculation driven by potential vorticity anomalies. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 17, 1640-1652.

23. Ierley, G.R., and W.R. Young, 1988. Inertial recirculation in a beta-plane corner. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 18, 683-689.

24. Young, W.R., 1988. Arrested shear dispersion and other models of anomalous diffusion. J. Fluid Mech., 193, 129-149.

25. Young, W.R., A. Pumir, and Y. Pomeau, 1989. Anomalous diffusion of tracer in convection rolls. Phys. Fluids, A-1, 462-469.

26. Thompson, L., and W.R. Young, 1989. An upper bound on the size of sub-mesoscale coherent vortices. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 19, 233-237.

27. Childress, S., G.R. Ierley, E.A. Spiegel and W.R. Young, 1989. Blow-up of unsteady two-dimensional Euler and Navier-Stokes solutions having stagnation point form. J. Fluid Mech., 203, 1-22.

28. Vallis, G.K., G.F., Carnevale, and W.R. Young, 1989. Extremal energy properties and construction of stable solutions of the Euler equations. J. Fluid Mech., 207, 133-152.

29. Carnevale, G.F., Y. Pomeau, and W.R. Young, 1990. Statistics of Ballistic Agglomeration. Phys. Rev. Lett., 64, 2913-2916.

30. Cessi, P., R.V. Condie, and W.R. Young, 1990. Dissipative dynamics of western boundary currents. J. Mar. Res., 48, 677-700.

31. Cessi, P., E.A. Spiegel, and W.R. Young, 1990. Small scale excitation in large systems. In: Nonlinear Evolution of Spatio-Temporal Structures in Dissipative Continuous Systems, ed. by F.H. Busse and L. Kramer. Plenum Press, New York, pp. 231-236.

32. Young, W.R., and S. Jones, 1991. Shear dispersion. Phys Fluid, A. 3, 1087-1101.

33. Carnevale, G.F., J.C. McWilliams, Y. Pomeau, J.B. Weiss, and W.R. Young, 1991. Evolution of vortex statistics in two-dimensional turbulence. Phys. Rev. Lett., 66, 2735-2737.

34. Niiler, P.O., D.K. Lee, W.R. Young and J.H. Hu, 1991. Expendable current profiler (XCP) section across the North Pacific at 25N. Deep-Sea Research, 38, Suppl. 1, 545-561.

35. Ierley, G.R., and W.R. Young, 1991. Viscous instabilities in the western boundary layer. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 21, 1323-1332.

36. Young, W.R., and S. Jones, 1991. Dispersion in an unconsolidated porous medium. Phys. Fluids A., 3, 2468-2470.

37. McNamara, S. and W.R. Young, 1992. Inelastic collapse and clumping in a one-dimensional granular medium. Phys. Fluids A., 4, 496-504.

38. Cessi, P. and W.R. Young, 1992. Fixed-flux convection in a tilted slot. J. Fluid Mech. , 237, 57-71.

39. Cessi, P. and W.R. Young, 1992. Multiple equilibria in two-dimensional thermohaline circulation. J. Fluid Mech., 241, 291-309.

40. Carnevale, G.F., J.C., McWilliams, Y., Pomeau, J.B. Weiss, and W.R. Young, 1992. Rates, pathways, and end-states of nonlinear evolution in decaying two-dimensional turbulence: scaling theory vs. selective decay. Phys. Fluids A, 4, 1314-1316.

41. Balmforth, N.J., S.P. Meacham, E.A. Spiegel and W.R. Young, 1992. Global equilibria of turbulent accretion disks. Annals New York Acad. Sci., 675, 53-64.

42. Stommel, H. M. and W.R. Young, 1993. The average T-S relation of astochastically forced box model. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 23, 151-158.

43. McNamara, S. and W.R. Young, 1993. Kinetics of a one-dimensional granular medium in the quasielastic limit. Phys. Fluids A., 5, 34-45.

44. Young, W.R., 1994. The subinertial mixed layer approximation. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 24, 1812-1826.

45. Roemmich, D., M.Y. Morris, W. R. Young and J.R. Donguy, 1994. Fresh equatorial jets. J. Phys Oceanogr., 24, 540-558.

46. Jones, S.W. and W.R. Young, 1994. Shear dispersion and anomalous diffusion by chaotic advection. J. Fluid Mech., 280, 149-172.

47. McNamara, S. and W.R. Young, 1994. Inelastic collapse in two dimensions. Phys. Rev. E. 50, R28.

48. Young, W.R. and L. Chen, 1995. Baroclinic instability and thermohaline gradient alignment in the mixed layer. J. Phys. Oceanogr, 25, 3172-3185.

49. Chen, L. and W.R. Young, 1995. Density compensated thermohaline gradients and diapycnal fluxes in the mixed layer. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 25, 3064-3075.

50. Young, W.R., 1995. Decaying two-dimensional turbulence. Turbulence, A Tentative Dictionary, 1-4, Eds. P. Tabeling and O. Cardoso, Plenum Press.

51. McNamara S., and W.R. Young, 1996. Dynamics of a freely evolving, two-dimensional granular medium. Phys. Rev. E., 53, 5089-5100.

52. Cessi, P., and W.R. Young, 1996. Some unexpected consequences of the inter-action between convective adjustment and horizontal diffusion. Physica D., 98, 287-300.

53. Balmforth, N.J., and D. del-Castillo-Negrete and W.R. Young, 1997. Dynamics of vorticity defects in shear. J. Fluid Mech., 333, 197-230.

54. Young, W.R., and M. Ben Jelloul, 1997. Propagation of near-inertial oscillations through a geostrophic flow. J. Mar. Res., 55, 735-766.

55. Ferrari, R., and W.R. Young, 1997. On the development of thermohaline correlations as a result of nonlinear diffusive parameterizations. J. Mar. Res., 55, 1069-1101.

56. Balmforth, N.J., and W.R. Young. 1997. Long-wave instability in marginally stable shear flows. Phys. Rev. Lett., 79, 4155-4158.

57. Balmforth, N.J., S.G. Llewellyn Smith, and W.R. Young. 1998. Dynamics of interfaces and layers in a stratified turbulent fluid. J. Fluid Mech., 355, 329-358.

58. Balmforth, N.J., S.G. Llewellyn Smith, and W.R. Young. 1998. Enhanced dispersion of near-inertial waves in an idealized geostrophic flow. J. Mar. Res., 56, 1-40.

59. Manfroi, A.J., and W.R. Young, 1999. Slow evolution of zonal jets on the beta-plane. J. Atmos. Sci., 56, 784-800.

60. Balmforth, N.J., and W.R. Young, 1999. Radiative damping of near-inertial oscillations.J. Mar. Res., 57, 561-584.

61. Dauxois, T., and W.R. Young, 1999. Near-critical reflection of internal waves. J. Fluid Mech., 390, 271-295.

62. Balmforth, N.J., S.G Llewellyn-Smith and W.R. Young, 2001. Disturbing vortices. J. Fluid Mech. 426, 95-133.

63. Ferrari, R., Manfroi, A., and W.R. Young, 2001. Strongly and weakly self-similar diffusion. Physica D 154, 111-137.

64. Young, W.R., A.J. Roberts and G. Stuhne, 2001. Reproductive pair correlations and the clustering of organisms. Nature 412, 328-331.

65. Manfroi, A.J. and W.R. Young, 2002. Stability of beta-plane Kolmogorov flow. Physica D 162, 208-232.

66. Llewellyn Smith, S.G. and W.R. Young, 2002. Conversion of the barotropic tide. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 32, 1554-1566.

67. Balmforth, N.B., G.R.Ierley and W.R. Young, 2002. Tidal conversion by subcritical topography. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 32, 2900-2914.

68. Paparella, F. and W.R. Young, 2002. Horizontal convection is nonturbulent. J. Fluid Mech., 466, 205-214.

69. Balmforth, N.B. and W.R. Young, 2003. Diffusion limited scalar cascades. J. Fluid Mech., 482, 91-100.

70. Llewellyn Smith, S.G. and W.R. Young, 2003. Tidal conversion at a very steep ridge. J. Fluid Mech., 495, 175-191.

71. Tang, W., Caulfield, C.P. and W.R. Young, 2004. Bounds on dissipation in stress-driven flow J. Fluid Mech., 510, 333-352.

72. Tang, W., Caulfield, C.P. and W.R. Young, 2005. Bounds on dissipation in stress-driven in a rotating frame. J.Fluid Mech., 540, 373-391.

73. Plasting, S.C. and W.R. Young, 2006. A bound on scalar variance for the advection diffusion equation. J.Fluid Mech., 552, 289-298.

74. Birch, D.A. and W.R. Young, 2006. A master equation for a spatial population model with pair interactions. Theoretical Population Biology, 70, 26-42.

75. Thompson, A.F. and W.R. Young 2006. Scaling baroclinic eddy flux: vortices and energy balance. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 36, 720-738.

76. Petrelis, F., S.G. Llewellyn Smith and W.R. Young, 2006. Tidal conversion at a submarine ridge. J.Phys. Oceanogr., 36, 1053-1071.

77. di Lorenzo, E., W.R. Young and S.G. Llewellyn Smith 2006. Numerical and analytical estimates of M2 tidal conversion at steep oceanic ridges. J.Phys.Oceanogr., 36, 1072-1084.

78. Cessi P., W.R. Young and J. A. Polton 2006. Control of large-scale heat transport by small-scale mixing. J.Phys.Oceanogr., 36, 1877-1894.

79. Thompson, A.F. and W.R. Young 2007. Two-layer Baroclinic Eddy Heat Fluxes: Zonal Flows and Energy Balance. J. Atmos. Sci., 64, 3214-3231.

80. Balmforth N.J., J.W.M. Bush, D. Vener and W.R. Young 2007. Dissipative descent: rocking and rolling down an incline. J. Fluid Mech., 590, 295-318.

80. Birch, D.A., Y.-K. Tsang and W.R. Young 2007. Bounding biomass in the Fisher Equation. Phys. Rev. E 76, 041910. (Also selected to appear in the Virtual Journal of Biological Physics Research 13, issue 12.)

82. Birch, D.A., W.R. Young and P.J.S. Franks 2008. Thin layers of plankton: Formation by shear and death by diffusion Deep Sea Res. Part I: Oceanographic Research Papers, 55, 2277-295.

83. Young, W.R., Y.-K. Tsang and N.J. Balmforth 2008. Near-inertial parametric subharmonic instability. J. Fluid Mech. 607 pp 25-49.

84. Tsang, Y.-K. and W.R. Young 2008. Energy-enstrophy stability of beta-plane Kolmogorov flow with drag. Physics of Fluids, vol 20, 084102.

85. Birch, D.A., W.R.Young and P.J.S. Franks 2009. Plankton layer profiles as determined by shearing, sinking and swimming. Limnology and Oceanography, vol 54(1).

86. Winters, K.B. and W.R.Young 2009. Available potential energy and buoyancy variance in horizontal convection. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol 629 pp 221-230.

87. Tsang, Y.-K. and W.R.Young 2009. Forced-dissipative two-dimensional turbulence: A scaling regime controlled by drag. Physical Review E, vol 79, 045308(R).

88. W.R.Young 2010. Dynamic enthalpy, conservative temperature, and the seawater Boussinesq approximation. Journal of Physical Oceanography, vol 40, 394-400.

89. Vanneste, J. and W.R.Young 2010. On the energy of elliptical vortices. Physics of Fluids, vol 22, 081701.

90. Balmforth, N.J. and W.R.Young 2011. An interacting particle system with compact hierarchial structure. Physica D, vol 240, 101-113.

91. Sukhatme, J. and W.R.Young 2011. The advection-condensation model and water-vapour probability density functions. Q. J. Roy. Meteorl. Soc, DOI:10.1002/qj.869.

92. Hazewinkel, J., Paparella, F. and W.R.Young 2012. Stressed Horizontal Convection. J. Fluid Mech., vol 692, 317-331.

93. K. Srinivasan and W.R.Young 2012. Zonostrophic Instability. J. Atmos. Sci., vol 69, 1633-1656.

94. W.R.Young 2012. An exact thickness-weighted average formulation of the Boussinesq equations. J. Phys. Oceanogr. vol 42, 692-707.

95. Gallet, B. and W.R.Young 2013. A two-dimensional vortex condensate at high Reynolds number. J. Fluid Mech. vol 715, 359-388.

96. Young, W.R. and C.L. Wolfe 2014. Generation of surface waves by shear-flow instability. J. Fluid Mech. vol 739, 276-307.

97. Srinivasan K. and W.R. Young 2014. Reynolds stress and eddy diffusivity of beta-plane shear flows.J. Atmos. Sci. vol 71, 2169-2185.

98. Gallet B. and W.R. Young 2014. Refraction of swell by ocean currents. J. Mar. Res. vol 72, 105-126.

99. Wagner, G. L., Young, W.R. and E Lauga 2014. Mixing by microorganisms in stratified fluids. J. Mar. Res. vol 72, 47-72.

100. Wagner, G. L. and Young, W.R. 2015. Available potential vorticity and wave-averaged quasi-geostrophic flow. J. Fluid Mech. vol 785, 401-424

101. Dewar, W.K., J. Schoonover, T.J. McDougall and Young, W.R. 2015. Semicompressible ocean dynamics. J. Phys. Oceanogr. vol 45, pp 149-156

102. Rocha, C. B., W.R. Young and I. Grooms 2016. On Galerkin approximations of the surface active quasigeostrophic equations. J. Phys. Oceanogr. vol 46, pp 125-139

103. Musgrave, R. C., R. Pinkel, J.A. MacKinnon, M.R. Mazloff and W.R. Young 2016. Stratified tidal flow over a tall ridge above and below the turning latitude. Journal of Fluid Mechanics vol 793, pp 933-957

104. Wagner G.L. and W.R. Young 2016. A three-component model for the coupled evolution of near-inertial waves, quasi-geostrophic flow and the near-inertial second harmonic. Journal of Fluid Mechanics vol 802 pp 806-837.

105. Constantinou N.C. and W.R. Young 2017. Beta-plane turbulence above monoscale topography. Journal of Fluid Mechanics vol 827, pp 415-447.

106. Wagner G.J., G. Ferrando and W.R. Young 2017. An asymptotic model for the propagation of oceanic internal tides through quasi-geostrophic flow. Journal of Fluid Mechanics vol 828, pp779-811.

107. Haney S. and W.R. Young 2017. Radiation of internal waves from groups of surface gravity waves. Journal of Fluid Mechanics vol 829 pp 280-303.

108. Marcotte, F., Doering, C.R., Thiffeault, J.L. and W.R. Young, 2018. Optimal heat transfer and optimal exit times. SIAM Journal on Applied Mathematics, vol 78(1), pp 591-608.

109. Rocha, C.B., G.L. Wagner and W.R. Young, W.R., 2018. Stimulated generation: extraction of energy from balanced flow by near-inertial waves. Journal of Fluid Mechanics vol 847, pp 417-451.

110. Asselin, O., and W.R. Young,2019. An improved model of near-inertial wave dynamics. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol 876, pp 428-448. doi:10.1017/jfm.2019.557

111. Rocha C.B., T. Bossy, S.G. Llewellyn Smith and W.R. Young,2019. Improved bounds on horizontal convection. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol 883, A41. doi:10.1017/jfm.2019.850

112. Boas, Ana B. Villas, and William R. Young, 2020. Directional diffusion of surface gravity wave action by ocean macroturbulence. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol 890. doi:10.1017/jfm.2020.116 .

113. Rocha, C.B., Constantinou, C.B., Llewellyn Smith, S.G. and W.R. Young,2020. The Nusselt numbers of horizontal convection. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol 894, A24. doi:10.1017/jfm.2020.269

114. Asselin, O. and W.R. Young, 2020. Penetration of wind-generated near-inertial waves into a turbulent ocean. Journal of Physical Oceanography, vol 50, 1699-1716

115. Asselin, O., Thomas, L. N., Young, W. R., and Rainville, L. 2020. Refraction and Straining of Near-Inertial Waves by Barotropic Eddies. Journal of Physical Oceanography, vol 50(12), 3439-3454.

116. Thomas, L.N., Rainville, L., Asselin, O., Young, W.R., Girton, J., Whalen, C.B., Centurioni, L. and Hormann, V., 2020. Direct Observations of Near‐Inertial Wave ζ‐Refraction in a Dipole Vortex. Geophysical Research Letters, 47(21), p.e2020GL090375.

117. Kafiabad, H.A, Vanneste, J., and Young, W.R., 2021. Wave-averaged balance: a simple example. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol 911, R1. doi:10.1017/jfm.2020.1032

118. Kafiabad, H.A, Vanneste, J., and Young, W.R., 2021. Interaction of near-inertial waves with an anticyclonic vortex. Journal of Physical Oceanography, vol 51, DOI: 10.1175/JPO-D-20-0257.1

119. Young, W.R., 2021. Inertia-gravity waves and geostrophic turbulence. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, vol 920, F1, doi:10.1017/jfm.2021.334


Meiss, J., and W.R., Young, 1980. A forced Burgers equation. Proceedings of the 1980 Summer Study Program in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. WHOI Technical Report, 80-53.

Young, W.R., 1981. The vertical structure of the general circulation. Ph.D. thesis submitted to Woods Hole - Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Joint Program in Oceanography.

Young, W.R. and M. Ben Jelloul, 1995. Intermittent mixing: the Zappa model. Proceedings of the 1995 Summer Study Program in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. WHOI Technical Report.

W.R. Young, 1999. Lectures on Stirring and Mixing delivered at the 1999 WHOI Summer Program in Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, and also at the 2000 FDEPS workshop in Tokyo.

W.R.Young 2001. Brownian bugs and superprocesses. Proceedings of the 12th 'Aha Huliko'a Hawaiian Winter Workshop, 2001.

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