National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration
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Christopher Sabine, Ph.D.

Director, Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory


  • Ph.D., Oceanography, University of Hawaii at Manoa
  • B.S., Marine Science, Texas A&M University at Galveston

University Affiliations

  • Affiliate Full Professor, Department of Oceanography, University of Washington
  • Senior Fellow, University of Washington Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean

Dr. Christopher Sabine has been with PMEL since 1999 and previously worked as Supervisory Oceanographer in the PMEL Carbon Group before becoming Director in November 2011.  His research with the PMEL Carbon Group addressed the role of the ocean in the global carbon cycle, in particular, centering on interpreting ocean inorganic carbon measurements and understanding ocean acidification.

He obtained his Bachelor of Science in Marine Science at Texas A&M University-Galveston before receiving his Ph.D. in Oceanography from University of Hawaii at Manoa in Hawaii in 1992.  Prior to joining PMEL Dr. Sabine was a Research Associate at Princeton University where he was actively involved in the World Ocean Circulation Experiment (WOCE) and the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS) programs making state of the art ocean carbon measurements. Dr. Sabine has participated in 27 research cruises (five as Chief Scientist) and published over 100 peer reviewed scientific articles on carbon cycling. He was lead author on a 2004 Science article presenting the first estimates of human-derived carbon distributions in the ocean based on inorganic carbon measurements. He was also among the first to publish scientific articles describing ocean acidification. 

Dr. Sabine has been a scientific advisor for several U.S. national carbon programs. He was a lead author of the 2011 A U.S. Carbon Cycle Science Plan, a national strategy for multi-agency global carbon cycle research for the next decade. He also helped develop the U.S. ocean acidification research agenda. He has participated in the development and steering of several international carbon cycle programs including: the Global Carbon Program (GCP), the Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) program, the Integrated Marine Biogeochemistry and Ecosystem Research (IMBER) program, the Surface Ocean - Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) and the International Ocean Carbon Coordination Project (IOCCP). Together these programs help direct and coordinate the large-scale research of over 2,000 scientists from more than 100 countries.

Dr. Sabine has received numerous awards including the Department of Commerce Gold Medal, NASA Group Achievement Award, and the NOAA Technology Transfer Award.  He received special recognition from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) for his role in helping the IPCC win the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize and is a Coordinating Lead Author on the IPCC Working Group I Fifth Assessment Report. 

Sabine CV

Sabine Publications





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