Kay McMonigal

Kay McMonigal


Assistant Professor

Physical Oceanography

College of Fisheries and Ocean Sciences
2150 Koyukuk Drive
Suite 129 O'Neill Bldg.

Fairbanks, AK 99775-7220


University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Sciences
Ph.D. Meteorology and Physical Oceanography

Northwestern University
B.A. Math and Earth and Planetary Sciences


Curriculum Vitae




Selected Publications

McMonigal, K., Larson, S., Hu, S., and Kramer, R. 2023. Historical changes in wind-driven ocean circulation can accelerate global warming. Geophysical Research Letters. https://doi.org/10.1029/2023GL102846

Gunn, K.L., K. McMonigal, L.M. Beal, and S. Elipot. 2022. Decadal and Intra-annual Variability of the Indian Ocean Freshwater Budget. Journal of Physical Oceanography. https://doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-22-0057.1

McMonigal, K., K.L. Gunn, L.M. Beal, S. Elipot, and J.K. Willis 2022. Reduction in Meridional Heat Export Contributes to Recent Indian Ocean Warming. Journal of Physical Oceanography. https://journals.ametsoc.org/view/journals/phoc/52/3/JPO-D-21-0085.1.xml

McMonigal, K., and S. Larson. 2022. ENSO explains the link between Indian Ocean Dipole and ocean meridional heat transport. Geophysical Research Letters. https://doi.org/10.1029/2021GL095796

McMonigal, K., L.M. Beal, S. Elipot, K. Gunn, T. Morris, J. Hermes, and A. Houk. 2020. The impact of meanders, deepening and broadening, and seasonality on Agulhas Current temperature variability. Journal of Physical Oceanography. https://doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-20-0018.1

Gunn, K.L., L.M. Beal, S. Elipot, K. McMonigal, and A. Houk. 2020. Mixing of subtropical, central and intermediate waters driven by shifting and pulsing of the Agulhas Current. Journal of Physical Oceanography. https://doi.org/10.1175/JPO-D-20-0093.1

McMonigal, K., L.M. Beal, and J.K. Willis. 2018. The seasonal cycle of the south Indian Ocean subtropical gyre circulation as revealed by Argo and satellite data. Geophysical Research Letters. https://doi.org/10.1029/2018GL078420


  • Large scale physical oceanography
  • Indian Ocean
  • Climate change
  • Ocean heat transport
  • Climate variability


Research Overview

My research focuses on the ways in which ocean currents have changed and are expected to change due to climate change, as well as the effects of changing ocean currents. A combination of in situ observations and climate models are used to address these questions. By redistributing heat and freshwater, changing ocean currents can feed back onto local, regional, and global climate impacts. Improving our quantifications and projections of such processes is essential for climate change mitigation. 


Awards / Honors

  • Mary Roche Scholarship, University of Miami, 2019
  • Seymour Schlanger Undergraduate Earth Science Award, Northwestern University, 2015
  • Academic All-Big Ten Student Athlete, Northwestern University, 2012



  • The Oceanography Society
  • American Meteorological Society
  • American Geophysical Union


Links to Other Places