Hi there! My name is Daniel Watkins. I’m a climate scientist specializing in Arctic sea ice and atmosphere. I received my doctorate from Oregon State University in spring 2022, and currently work as a postdoctoral research associate in the Wilhelmus Lab at Brown University.

My research focuses on the Arctic climate. I’m especially interested in the atmospheric boundary layer, which is the part of the atmosphere that responds directly to changes in the surface. The Arctic atmospheric boundary layer is especially interesting (and complicated) because there are big changes through the year–from snow to vegetation, from sea ice to open water, from polar night to midnight sun. I participated in the MOSAiC expedition (which I wrote about here). My work with MOSAiC uses drifting buoys to observe sea ice motion and deformation.

In addition to my research work, I’m a Science Communication Fellow at the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and a science writer for Science Journal for Kids. From 2018-2021, I was a host on the science radio show and podcast Inspiration Dissemination.


Science Journal for Kids
November 2022: How does sunscreen make corals sick?
October 2022: Why can some monkeys live high in the mountains?
September 2022: How can we know about dinosaurs’ social lives?
March 2022: How did the warrah reach the Falkland Islands?
March 2022: How does air pollution affect people differently?
December 2021: How can virtual reality help construction engineers?
November 2021: What can ancient DNA tell us about Stone Age people?
October 2021: Do hot neighborhoods affect everyone equally?
October 2021: How did COVID lockdowns affect air pollution?
September 2021: Can peer pressure help teens make safer decisions?
August 2021: How can caring grown ups help children overcome adversities?
August 2021: How will climate change affect Arctic birds?
May 2021: How can we find out about ancient Egyptian germs?
April 2021: How do ravens’ thinking skills compare with apes’?

Other Science Writing
08/05/2020: Freeze Frame
03/14/2020: Libraries of possibilities
02/09/2020: Fitness for Life: Sport psychology and the motivations behind healthy lifestyles
02/02/2020: Swimming with Salmon(ids)
11/10/2019: You don’t look your age
6/09/2019: Perceptions of Trust
4/21/2019: Repair, don’t replace: developing a new treatment for lower back pain
3/17/2019: Magnet blocks, connect the dots, and the world of modern mathematics
2/17/2019: Feather collections and stressed-out owls
12/09/2018: Applying medical anthropology: a history of stress in Puerto Rico and its impacts on birth outcomes
08/24/2016: OSU Harnesses Personal Computers for Climate Research
08/31/2016: Oregon State Scientist Awarded Tasty $3 Million Grant


2022 – PhD Ocean, Earth, and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University. Thesis title: Vertical structure of the lower tropopause in a changing Arctic. Advised by Dr. Jennifer Hutchings
2015 – MS Mathematics, Drexel University
2013 – BS Applied Mathematics, Brigham Young University-Idaho

2022 – Postdoctoral research associate, Center for Fluid Mechanics, Brown University
2019 – MOSAiC Arctic Expedition
2014 – Graduate student researcher, Risk Analysis and Decision Support, Los Alamos National Laboratory
2013 – Intern, Applied Statistics and Computational Modeling, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory
2012 – Visiting student researcher, Risk Analysis and Decision Support, Los Alamos National Laboratory

Watkins, D.M., R. Lei, M. Hoppmann, V. Smolianitsky, and J. Jutchings. “4. Deployment of the P-Buoy Array,” and Watkins, D.M. and J. Hutchings. “5.3 ASSIST ice watch observations,” contributed chapters to The Expedition AF122/1: Setting up the MOSAiC Distributed Network in October 2019 with Research Vessel Akademik Federov. Thomas Krumpen and Vladimir Sokolov, editors. Reports on Polar and Marine Research, 744, 2020. DOI: https://doi.org/10.2312/BzPM_0744_2020

Watkins, D.M., L. Cuéllar, D. Kubicek, E. Rodriguez, P. Stroud. “Identifying Security Checkpoint Locations to Protect the Major US Urban Areas.Homeland Security Affairs, Vol. 11, Sept. 2015

Watkins, D.M., L.H. Sego, A.E. Holmes et al. “Assessing Performance and Tradeoffs of Bioforensic Signature Systems.” Proceedings of the 2013 IEEE Homeland Security Technologies Conference. Nov. 13-14, 2013

Selected Presentations
Watkins, D.M., J. Hutchings (2021). “Climatology of multilayered temperature inversions in the Arctic lower troposphere,” American Meteorological Society Conference on Polar Meteorology and Oceanography, June 2021

Watkins, D.M., J. Hutchings, J. Haapala, C. Haas, M. Hoppmann, T. Krumpen, R. Lei, M. Maturilli, O. Persson, A. Solomon (2021). “Multilayered temperature inversions and sea ice deformation during the MOSAiC campaign,” Arctic Frontiers, Feb. 2021

Watkins, D.M., J. Hutchings (2019). “Seasonality of lower tropospheric stability in the Community Earth System Model,” American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting

Watkins, D.M., J. Hutchings (2018). “Temperature inversions in the Arctic atmospheric boundary layer in the CESM Large Ensemble,” American Meteorological Society Annual Meeting

Watkins, D.M., J. Hutchings (2017). “Arctic lower tropospheric temperature inversions in the CESM Large Ensemble,” American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, Dec. 2017

Watkins, D.M., G. Simpson (2015). “Convergence of the Robbins-Monro Algorithm in Infinite- Dimensional Hilbert Spaces,” SIAM Conference on Computational Science and Engineering