Dr Loïc Houpert

        Dr Loic Houpert aboard a research ship

Physical Oceanographer

I am a physical oceanographer researching climate-relevant processes in ocean circulation and water mass formation, using in situ observations, satellite data and model outputs.

I have participated in 10 oceanographic cruises in the North Atlantic and in the Mediterranean Sea and I have published 19 peer-reviewed articles.

Contact details:

I use multiplatform observations (e.g. mooring, glider, CTD cruise) to understand and characterize ocean circulation (transport of heat/salt/mass by ocean currents, dynamics of dense water formation, long-term evolution of water mass characteristics).

During my PhD thesis, I used various datasets to characterise the variability of deep water formation in the Mediterranean Sea from the daily to interannual timescale. One of the highlight of this previous work was the direct observations from mooring and glider data of long-living cyclonic small scales eddies (radius of ~5km) which play an important role in the spreading of the newly formed deep water away from the winter mixing areas.

At SAMS, I am involved in the planning and execution of the UK-OSNAP glider and mooring program. Recently, I am using gliders to quantify circulation and transport associated with the different branches of the North Atlantic Current (eastward extension of the Gulf Stream) in the Subpolar Gyre.


Current projects

Overturning in the Sub-Polar North Atlantic Programme (UK-OSNAP):

The transport of heat and freshwater by the North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre greatly affects the climate of the North Atlantic and Europe through its impact on air temperature, precipitation and wind strength. It is highly significant to the region's marine ecosystems, the formation of hurricanes, and rainfall in places like the Sahel, the Amazon and parts of USA. However the Subpolar Gyre is presently inadequately measured, and no ocean general circulation or climate model represents it accurately. UK-OSNAP will deliver enhanced understanding of processes critical to the improvement of physics in climate models through sustained observation of ocean circulation and fluxes together with modelling and analysis.

Funded by NERC 2013-18

Overturning in the Sub-Polar North Atlantic Programme (International-OSNAP)

OSNAP is an international program designed to provide a continuous record of the full-water column, trans-basin fluxes of heat, mass and freshwater in the subpolar North Atlantic. The OSNAP observing system extends from southern Labrador to Scotland.

UK-OSNAP is part of internation OSNAP, led by USA, and includes 10 further partner groups in Canada, France, Germany, the Netherlands and China.



Past highlight projects

Gliders for Research, Ocean Observation & Management (GROOM)

The objective of the GROOM project was to design a new European Research Infrastructure that uses underwater gliders for collecting oceanographic data. This new infrastructure shall be beneficial for a large number of marine activities and societal applications, which can be related to climate change, marine ecosystems, resources, or security and which rely on academic oceanographic research and/or operational oceanography systems.

GROOM is a key project for building the required observatory network that would allow the Marine Strategy Framework Directive to be implemented. 

Funded by the EU 2011-14.

Policy-oriented marine Environmental Research in the Southern European Seas (PERSEUS)

PERSEUS was a research project that assesses the dual impact of human activity and natural pressures on the Mediterranean and Black Seas. PERSEUS merges natural and socio-economic sciences to predict the long-term effects of these pressures on marine ecosystems. The project aims to design an effective and innovative research governance framework, which will provide the basis for policymakers to turn back the tide on marine life degradation.

Funded by the EU 2011-15

Hotspot Ecosystem Research and Man’s Impact on European Seas (HERMIONE)

The HERMIONE project focused on investigating deep sea ecosystems, such as submarine canyons, seamounts, cold seeps, open slopes and deep basins. Scientists from a range of disciplines researched their natural dynamics, distribution, and how they interconnect.  The scientists also wanted to find out how these ecosystems contribute to the goods and services we rely on, and how they are affected by natural and anthropogenic change.  A major aim of HERMIONE was to use the knowledge gained during the project to contribute to EU environmental policies. This information can be used to create effective management plans that will help to protect our oceans for the future.

Funded by the EU 2009-12

  • >19 scientific articles in peer review journals (4 as 1st/2nd author)
  • >48 oral presentations: 28 in international conferences (9 as 1st author), 20 in national conferences / workshops (13 as 1st author)
  • >4 technical reports and edition of 3 cruise reports


Peer-reviewed publications


Gary, S. F., Cunningham, S. A., Johnson, C., Houpert, L., Holliday, N. P., Behrens, E., … Böning, C. W. (2018). Seasonal cycles of oceanic transports in the Eastern Subpolar North Atlantic. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 123. https://doi.org/10.1002/2017JC013350



Durrieu de Madron X., S. Ramondenc, L. Berline, L. Houpert, A. Bosse, S. Martini, L. Guidi, S. Escoffier, P. Testor, P. Conan (2017): Deep sediment resuspension and generation of thick nepheloid layer by open-ocean convection, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 122, doi:10.1002/2016JC012062

Johnson C., Cunningham S., Sherwin T., Dumont E., L. Houpert (2017): Pathways and transports of overflow water in the Rockall Trough, Deep Sea Research Part I, doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2017.02.004

Waldman R., S. Somot, M. Herrmann, A. Bosse, G. Caniaux, C. Estournel, L. Houpert, L. Prieur, F. Sevault, P. Testor (2017): Modelling the intense 2012-2013 dense water formation event in the northwestern Mediterranean sea: evaluation with an ensemble simulation approach, J. Geophys. Res.: Oceans, doi:10.1002/2016JC012437



Estournel, C., P. Testor, I. Taupier-Letage, M.-N. Bouin, L. Coppola, P. Durand, P. Conan, A. Bosse, P.-E. Brilouet, L. Beguery, S. Belamari, K. Béranger, J. Beuvier, D. Bourras, G. Canut, A. Doerenbecher, X. Durrieu de Madron, F. D’Ortenzio, P. Drobinski, V. Ducrocq, N. Fourrié, H. Giordani,L. Houpert, L. Labatut, C.L. Brossier, M. Nuret, L. Prieur, O. Roussot, L. Seyfried, and S. Somot (2016). HyMeX-SOP2: The field campaign dedicated to dense water formation in the northwestern Mediterranean. Oceanography 29(4):196–206, doi:10.5670/oceanog.2016.94

Houpert L., X. Durrieu de Madron, P. Testor, A. Bosse, F. D’Ortenzio, M.N. Bouin, D. Dausse, H. Le Goff, S. Kunesch, M. Labaste, L. Coppola, L. Mortier, P. Raimbault (2016): Observations of Open-Ocean Deep Convection in the Northwestern Mediterranean Sea : Seasonal and Interannual Variability of Mixing and Deep Water Masses for the 2007-2013 Period, J. Geophys. Res.: Oceans, doi: 10.1002/2016JC011857.

Bosse, A., Testor, P., L. Houpert, Damien, P., Prieur, L., Hayes, D., Taillandier, V., Durrieu de Madron, X., d’Ortenzio, F., Coppola, L., Karstensen, J. and Mortier, L. (2016): Scales and dynamics of submesoscale coherent vortices formed by deep convection in the northwestern Mediterranean Sea, J. Geophys. Res.: Oceans, doi: 10.1002/2016JC012144

Somot S., L. Houpert, F. Sevault, P. Testor, A. Bosse, X. Durrieu de Madron, C. Dubois, M. Herrmann, R. Waldman, M.N. Bouin, C. Cassou (2016): Characterizing, modelling and understanding the climate variability of the deep water formation in the North-Western Mediterranean Sea, Climate Dynamics, doi: 10.1007/s00382-016-3295-0

Lozier, M., S. Bacon, A. Bower, S. Cunningham, M. de Jong, L. de Steur, B. deYoung, J. Fischer, S. Gary, B. Greenan, P. Heimbach, N. Holliday, L. Houpert, M. Inall, W. Johns, H. Johnson, J. Karstensen, F. Li, X. Lin, N. Mackay, D. Marshall, H. Mercier, P. Myers, R. Pickart, H. Pillar, F. Straneo, V. Thierry, R. Weller, R. Williams, C. Wilson, J. Yang, J. Zhao, and J. Zika (2016): Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Program: a new international ocean observing system, BAMS, doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-16-0057.1

Touratier F., C. Goyet, L. Houpert, X. Durrieu de Madron, D. Lefèvre, M. Stabholz, V. Guglielmi (2016): Role of deep convection on carbon sequestration in the Gulf of Lion, Deep Sea Research I, doi 10.1016/j.dsr.2016.04.003



Cheng L., J. Abraham, G. Goni, T. Boyer, S. Wijffels, R. Cowley, V. Gouretski, F. Reseghetti, S. Kizu, S. Dong, F. Bringas, M. Goes, L. Houpert, J. Sprintall, J. Zhu (2015): XBT Science: assessment of instrumental biases and errors, BAMS, doi: 10.1175/BAMS-D-15-00031.1

Bourrin F., G. Many, X. Durrieu de Madron, J. Martin, L. Béguery, K. Mahiouz, S. Kunesch, L. Houpert, P. Testor, P. Puig (2015): Glider monitoring of shelf suspended particle dynamics and transport during storm and flooding conditions, Continental Shelf Research, doi: 10.1016/j.dsr.2014.07.015

Houpert L., P. Testor, X. Durrieu de Madron, S. Somot, F. D ́ Ortenzio, C. Estournel, H. Lavigne (2015): Seasonal cycle of the Mixed Layer, the Seasonal Thermocline and the Upper-Ocean Heat Storage Rate in the Mediterranean Sea derived from observations, Progress in Oceanography, SI: North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans’ State and Variability, doi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2014.11.004



Severin T., P. Conan, X. Durrieu de Madron, L. Houpert, M. Oliver, L. Oriol, J. Caparros, J.F. Ghiglione, M. Pujo-Pay (2014): Impact of open-ocean convection on nutrient and phytoplankton biomass and activity, Deep Sea Research Part I, doi: 10.1016/j.dsr.2014.07.015



Durrieu de Madron X., L. Houpert, P. Puig, A. Sanchez-Vidal, P. Testor, and others (2013): Interaction of dense shelf water cascading and open-sea convection in the northwestern Mediterranean during winter 2012, Geophysical Research Letters, doi: 10.1002/grl.50331

Lavigne H. , F. D ́ Ortenzio, C. Migon, H. Claustre, P. Testor, M. Ribera D ́ Alcalà, R. Lavezza, L. Houpert, L. Prieur (2013): Enhancing the comprehension of mixed layer depth control on the Mediterranean phytoplankton phenology, J. Geophys. Res.: Oceans, doi: 10.1002/jgrc.20251

Tamburini C., M. Canals X. Durrieu de Madron, L. Houpert, D. Lefevre, S. Martini, F. D ́ Ortenzio, A. Robert, P. Testor, and others (2013): Deep-Sea Bioluminescence Blooms after Dense Water Formation at the Ocean Surface, PLOS ONE, doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067523

Martìn J., X. Durrieu de Madron, P. Puig, F. Bourrin, A. Palanques, L. Houpert, M. Higueras, A. Sanchez-Vidal, A. M. Calafat, M. Canals, and S. Heussner (2013): Sediment transport along the Cap de Creus Canyon flank during a mild, wet winter, Biogeosciences, doi: 10.5194/bg-10-3221-2013

Stabholz M., X. Durrieu de Madron, M. Canals, A. Khripounoff, I. Taupier-Letage, P. Testor, S. Heussner, P. Kerherve, N. Delsaut, L. Houpert, G. Lastras, B. Denneliou (2013): Impact of open-ocean convection on particle fluxes and sediment dynamics in the deep margin of the Gulf of Lions, Biogeosciences, doi: 10.5194/bg-10-1097-2013



Puig P., X. Durrieu de Madron, J. Salat, K. Schroeder, J. Martìn, A. Karageorgis, A. Palanques, F. Roullier, J. L. Lopez-Jurado, M. Emelianov, T. Moutin, L. Houpert (2012): Thick bottom nepheloid layers in the western Mediterranean generated by deep dense shelf water cascading, Progress in Oceanography, doi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2012.10.003


Articles in preparation

Houpert L., M. Inall, W. Johns, M. Porter, S. Gary, E. Dumont, S. Cunningham :Transport Structure and Energetic of the North Atlantic Current in the Eastern part of the Subpolar Gyre, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, in prep.


PhD Thesis

Houpert L. (2013): Contribution to the Study of Transfer Processes from the Surface to the Deep Ocean in the Mediterranean Sea using in-situ Measurements, PhD Thesis, http://lhoupert.fr/files/these_houpertloic.pdf



Cunningham, S A et al. (editor L. Houpert) (2016): RSS Discovery DY053, 26 th June to 23rd July 2016, King George V Dock, Glasgow to Reykjavick, Iceland. OSNAP Mooring Cruise Report. Scottish Association for Marine Science Report, No. 293, Oban, UK, 123pp. https://www.bodc.ac.uk/data/information_and_inventories/cruise_inventory/report/dy053.pdf

Cunningham, S A et al. (editor L. Houpert / C. Johnson) (2016): R/V Pelagia PE399, 16th June to 8th July 2015 Southampton, UK to Reykjavik, Iceland. OSNAP Mooring Cruise Report, https://www.bodc.ac.uk/data/information_and_inventories/cruise_inventory/report/pe399.pdf

Cunningham, S A et al. (editor L. Houpert) (2015): RV Knorr Cruise KN221-02, 9th July –1st August 2014. OSNAP Mooring Cruise Report, https://pure.uhi.ac.uk/portal/files/1849435/KN221_02_Cruise_Report.pdf

Houpert L. (2014): Technical report on the intercalibration of the sensors on the LION mooring line for the period 2007-2013, http://lhoupert.fr/files/report/2014_intercalib_sensors_LION.pdf

Houpert L. (2013): Compte rendu d’intercomparaison des capteurs du mouillage LION avec une sonde SBE-9, Juin 2013, http://lhoupert.fr/files/report/tech_report_lion_mooring_line_2013.pdf

Houpert L. (2012): Compte rendu d’intercomparaison des capteurs du mouillage LION avec une sonde SBE-9, http://lhoupert.fr/files/report/tech_report_lion_mooring_line_2012.pdf

Houpert L. (2011): Compte rendu d’intercomparaison des capteurs du mouillage 42N5E-DEEP avec une sonde SBE-9,  http://lhoupert.fr/files/report/tech_report_lion_mooring_line_2011.pdf



Houpert L., Testor P, Durrieu De Madron X (2016). Gridded climatology of the Mixed Layer (Depth and Temperature), the bottom of the Seasonal Thermocline (Depth and Temperature), and the upper-ocean Heat Storage Rate for the Mediterrean Sea. SEANOE. Doi: 10.17882/46532

Testor P, Durrieu De Madron X, Mortier L, D’ortenzio F, Legoff H, Dausse D, Labaste M, Houpert L. (2016). LION observatory data. SEANOE. Doi: 10.17882/44411

Instrumentation/data analysis skills

In situ observations: Acquisition, processing and analysis of glider, mooring, CTD/LADCP & ship underway data

Other data: Meteorological buoy; ocean color, SST and altimetry data, atmospheric reanalyses

Toolbox: Development of twp Matlab toolboxes for delayed-mode processing of: 1) Glider data; 2) Mooring data (following the RAPID-AMOC protocols)

Database: Creation/development (200k profiles with quality control procedures and metadata collection)

Methods: Time-series analysis, statistics, geostatistics/kriging, spectral and wavelett analysis, EOF, scientific programming


10 mooring and hydrographic cruises, 150 days at sea

May 2017 : DY078-079, RSS Discovery (NOC), Scotland-Iceland, 3 weeks
Moorings recovery/deployment, CTD watch leader, underway data, glider recovery

June 2016 : DY053, RSS Discovery (NOC), Scotland-Iceland, 3 weeks
Moorings recovery/deployment, CTD watch leader, underway data, glider recovery

July 2015 : PE400, R/V Pelagia (NIOZ), Iceland-Greenland, 3 weeks
Moorings recovery/deployment, glider recovery, CTD watch leader

June 2015 : PE399, R/V Pelagia (NIOZ), Scotland-Iceland, 3 weeks
Moorings recovery/deployment, ship data processing, glider recovery

July 2014 : MOOSE-GE2014, R/V Le Suroit (IFREMER), West. Med., 1.5 week
Moorings recovery and deployment, CTD and SADCP data processing

June 2013 : MOOSE-GE2013, R/V Téthys II (INSU), West. Med., 1 week
Moorings recovery and deployment, CTD and SADCP data processing

July 2012 : MOOSE-GE2012, R/V Le Suroit (IFREMER), West. Med., 1.5 week
CTD watch leader; CTD, LADCP and SADCP data processing

June 2011 : MOOSE-GE2011, R/V Téthys II (INSU), West. Med., 1 week
Moorings recovery and deployment

March 2011 : CASCADE, R/V Atalante (IFREMER), West. Med., 3 weeks
Moorings preparation, CTD shift, LADCP and SADCP data processing

May 2010 : MOOSE-GE2010, R/V Téthys II (INSU), West. Med., 1 week
CTD shift


Seven UK-OSNAP glider missions, three years of measurements (2014-2017 on-going)
Co-planning, co-piloting, data processing and data analysis

Jun. 2017 - ... 2017: OSNAP 9  Seaglider Bellatrix, Scotland-Iceland Basin

Feb. 2017 – Jul. 2017: OSNAP 8 Seaglider Scapa, Scotland-Iceland Basin

Feb. 2016 - Jul. 2016: OSNAP 5 Seaglider Bowmore, Scotland-Iceland Basin

Jun. 2015 - Dec. 2015: OSNAP 4 Seaglider Laphroaig, Scotland-Iceland Basin

Feb. 2015 - Jun. 2015: OSNAP 3 Seaglider Bowmore, Scotland-Iceland Basin 

Oct. 2014 - Apr. 2015: OSNAP 2 Seaglider Scapa, Scotland-Iceland Basin

Jul. 2014 - Feb. 2015: OSNAP 1 Seaglider Jura, Scotland-Iceland Basin


Review activity

International peer review journal: Geophysical Research Letter; Limnology and Oceanography; Ocean Science



2016: Postdoctoral Researcher Exchanges grant from the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environ-ment & Society (SAGES): £3000 to cover travel and subsidence expenses for a one month visit in IEUM-LOPS, in Brest, France (collaboration with Dr. J. Gula)

2016: Small grant from the Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment & Society (SAGES): £750 to cover travel and subsidence expenses for a MRes student internship

2014: Invited speaker at "The 4th XBT Workshop : XBT Science and the Way Forward", in Beijing. (1000€ to cover T&S expenses funded by the Chinese Academy of Science)

2012: Invited speaker at the workshop "Marginal Seas in Change", in Seoul. (1200€ to cover T&S funded by the Seoul National University)

2010: PhD grant co-funded by the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA), the French Defence Science and Technology Agency (50 k€)


Undergraduate Electromagnetism, Thermodynamics, Electronics & GIS [50h], Université de Perpignan Via Domitia, France

Training of Master’s students during seagoing field courses [MOOSE2012,13,14], Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris


Current research students

E Diuck: Drivers and circulation of the Subpolar Mode Water Formation in the North Atlantic Subpolar Gyre. MSc 2016-17. Université de Bretagne Occidentale, Brest

Employment history

2014-present: PDRA in Observational Physical Oceanography. SAMS

2014: Postdoctoral Research Associate. LOCEAN-IPSL. Paris, France

2010-13: PhD Fellow. CNRS, CEFREM, Perpignan, France



2013 PhD 'Contribution to the Study of Transfer Processes from the Surface to the Deep Ocean in the Mediterranean Sea using in-situ Measurements'. Université de Perpignan Via Domitia, Perpignan, with honors

2010 Master of Science in Atmospheric, Oceanic and Climate Sciences. Université Pierre et Marie Curie, Paris, with honors

2008 Bachelor of Science in Maths, Physics and Chemistry. Université Louis Pasteur, Strasbourg