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Stuart Cunningham

Professor of Ocean Circulation and Climate, Scottish Association for Marine Science

Stuart Cunningham is an observational Physical Oceanographer specialising in ocean measurements for climate studies. He has led 35 research cruises as Principal Scientist around the world’s oceans. Since the early 2000s Stuart has focused on purposefully designed mooring arrays for observing and monitoring the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). The AMOC is a central component of Earth’s climate and moves heat and property fluxes around the globe. One of the major predictions of climate change in the 21st Century is a slowing of this circulation and this will have profound impacts on how Earth’s climate changes. He was one of the three PIs who proposed RAPID mooring array programme ( and he managed the array from 2003-2012. He now is a PI as part of the international OSNAP programme ( measuring the AMOC from Newfoundland to Greenland to Scotland. The goal of these arrays is to provide the fundamental observations of the changing AMOC so we can better understand the physics of the circulation and to constrain models of climate.

Stuart began his career in 1991 with the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences, Deacon Laboratory as a research assistant in the World Ocean Circulation Experiment, then at the James Rennel Centre and from 1995-2012 at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton. He is now a Professor at the Scottish Association for Marine Science and teaches with the University of the Highlands and Islands ( ). Stuart completed a M.Sc. in 1991 at the University of College North Wales in Physical Oceanography and obtained a Ph.D. in 1998 from the University of Liverpool Department of Earth Sciences.


  • 2012–2021
    Professor, Scottish Association for Marine Science


Society for Underwater Technology, Oceanographer of the Year 2014