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Liz Drenkard

Liz Drenkard

Research Oceanographer

Biogeochemistry, Atmospheric Chemistry, and Ecosystems Division

Curriculum Vitae

ORCID: 0000-0002-3817-5717

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Contact Information


Phone: (609) 452-5316

Research Interests

I study the response of ocean dynamics, ocean biogeochemistry and living marine resources to climate change and natural variability to derive implications for conservation and resource management.

Primary Research Activities

  • Regional modeling (Modular Ocean Model 6; MOM6) of the North East Pacific Ocean
  • Investigating the impacts of dynamic vs. static iron deposition on future ocean biogeochemistry
    Coauthors: Jasmin John, Charles Stock, Hyung-Gyu Lim, John Dunne, Paul Ginoux, and Jessica Luo

Other Research Interests and Collaborations

  • Using GFDL’s ESM4 to predict Caribbean coral reef climate change refugia
    Collaborators: NOAA Hollings Scholar, Isabela Rios and Jessica Luo
  • Quantifying eastern tropical Pacific shark species vulnerability to climate change
    Collaborators: Florencia Cerutti and Charles Stock
  • Investigating environmental resilience of the Verde Island Passage to extreme heat events
    Collaborators: Raphael Dussin, Joanie Kleypas,Frederic Castruccio, and Enrique Curchitser
  • Linking modeled (potential) and genetic (realized) clown fish larvae connectivity in the Camotes Sea
    Collaborators: Katrina Catalano, Malin Pinsky, and Enrique Curchitser


  • Ph.D., Climate Variability and Impacts, WHOI Joint Program in Oceanography, 2015
  • B.A., Biological Sciences and Chemistry, Cornell University, 2009

Project Highlights

Regional Ocean Modeling: North East Pacific MOM6

The North East Pacific (NEP) is home to valuable fisheries and ecosystems rich in biodiversity. In support of NOAA’s Climate and Fisheries Initiative, we are downscaling Earth System Models as a means of translating global climate information to relevant regional scales in service of management and conservation. The figure depicts the extent of our regional MOM6 NEP model domain, showing modeled sea ice concentration and sea surface temperature (spring 1981), which highlights representation of local currents and upwelling systems. This regional version of MOM6 was developed at GFDL in collaboration with CIMES, and colleagues at Rutgers and University of Alaska, Fairbanks.


Dynamic vs. Static Iron Deposition in a Changing Climate

Airborne dust is an important source of iron to the upper ocean. The amount of dust transferred from air to sea (i.e., deposition) depends on a number of factors and can have important consequences for upper ocean biogeochemistry. However, until recently, iron deposition in most Earth system Models has been prescribed as a “static”, climatological flux that is not influenced by variability in factors such as precipitation or the amount of dust in the atmosphere. GFDL’s latest ESM4 contributions to CMIP6 include “dynamic” iron deposition (i.e., the flux reflects atmospheric conditions). In this work, we investigate how static vs. dynamic iron deposition affects projected future Pacific Ocean biogeochemistry. The figure shows the geographic distribution of the primary limiting nutrient for phytoplankton. Under future conditions (ssp585), dynamic iron deposition leads to a smaller area of iron limitation in the central Pacific with macronutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) becoming more limiting by the end of the 21st century.


Lagrangian Particle Tracking: Studying Potential Connectivity

Planktonic larvae are at the mercy of ocean currents. While some float, others tend to migrate vertically exposing them to different horizontal velocity fields. Knowing where larvae may come from and end up is useful information for the design of marine protected areas. This work is conducted in collaboration with the Rutgers Earth System Modeling Group. This animation illustrates the difference in particle position (green markers; calculated using tracmass) over time when tracked at the surface (2D) vs. allowing particles to be moved vertically and horizontally (3D); region modeled: Camotes Sea, Philippines.
2D Surface Tracking
3D Tracking


Recent Publications

  1. Schultz, Cristina, John P Dunne, Xiao Liu, Elizabeth J Drenkard, and Brendan R Carter, February 2024: Characterizing subsurface oxygen variability in the California Current System (CCS) and its links to water mass distribution. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 129(2), doi:10.1029/2023JC020000.
    [ Abstract ]
  2. Barkan, Joel T., Jasmin G John, Elizabeth J Drenkard, and Drew Talley, December 2023: Ocean Discovery Institute’s model for empowering underrepresented students in STEM: Community-based, continuous belief. Oceanography, 36(4), doi:10.5670/oceanog.2024.117.
  3. Drenkard, Elizabeth J., Jasmin G John, Charles A Stock, Hyung-Gyu Lim, John P Dunne, Paul Ginoux, and Jessica Y Luo, November 2023: The importance of dynamic iron deposition in projecting climate change impacts on Pacific Ocean biogeochemistry. Geophysical Research Letters, 50(21), doi:10.1029/2022GL102058.
    [ Abstract ]
  4. Ross, Andrew C., Charles A Stock, Alistair Adcroft, Enrique N Curchitser, Robert Hallberg, Matthew J Harrison, Katherine Hedstrom, Niki Zadeh, Michael A Alexander, Wenhao Chen, Elizabeth J Drenkard, Hubert du Pontavice, Raphael Dussin, Fabien A Gomez, Jasmin G John, Dujuan Kang, Diane Lavoie, Laure Resplandy, Alizée Roobaert, Vincent S Saba, Sang-ik Shin, Samantha A Siedlecki, and James Simkins, November 2023: A high-resolution physical–biogeochemical model for marine resource applications in the northwest Atlantic (MOM6-COBALT-NWA12 v1.0). Geoscientific Model Development, 16(23), doi:10.5194/gmd-16-6943-20236943-6985.
    [ Abstract ]
  5. Drenkard, Elizabeth J., Charles A Stock, Andrew C Ross, Keith W Dixon, Alistair Adcroft, Michael A Alexander, V Balaji, Steven J Bograd, Momme Butenschön, Wei Cheng, Enrique N Curchitser, Emanuele Di Lorenzo, Raphael Dussin, Alan C Haynie, Matthew J Harrison, Albert Hermann, Anne B Hollowed, Kirstin Holsman, Jason Holt, Michael G Jacox, Chan Joo Jang, Kelly A Kearney, Barbara A Muhling, Mercedes Pozo Buil, Vincent S Saba, Anne Britt Sandø, Desiree Tommasi, and Muyin Wang, September 2021: Next-generation regional ocean projections for living marine resource management in a changing climate. ICES Journal of Marine Science, 78(6), doi:10.1093/icesjms/fsab100.
    [ Abstract ]
  6. Kearney, Kelly A., Steven J Bograd, Elizabeth J Drenkard, Fabien A Gomez, Melissa A Haltuch, Albert Hermann, Michael G Jacox, Isaac C Kaplan, Stefan Koenigstein, and Jessica Y Luo, et al., August 2021: Using global-scale Earth system models for regional fisheries applications. Frontiers in Marine Science, doi:10.3389/fmars.2021.622206.
    [ Abstract ]