Dr Sam Jones

        Head and shoulder photo of a smiling Dr Sam Jones during a demonstration of his mixing tank

Translational Ocean Data Analyst

An interdisciplinary researcher linking observational oceanography with data science and visualisation.

Particular interest in the use of robotic platforms for novel measurement campaigns.

Personal website

Contact details:

Research interests

  • >Ocean-shelf exchange, mixing processes
  • >Use of tracers and proxies to track water masses
  • >Ocean-atmosphere interaction, particularly wind-driven processes
  • >Model development and validation
  • >Synthesis of large datasets
  • >Application of novel sensors and techniques
  • >High latitude oceanography
  • >Data visualisation


Current projects

OSNAP (Overturning in the Subpolar North Atlantic Program).

The OSNAP array is an observing system between Scotland and Labrador, Canada which provides continuous measurements of heat and freshwater transport in the North Atlantic Subpolar gyre.  These observations allow scientists to track the strength of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC) which exerts a major influence on Northern European and Arctic climate.  UK-OSNAP maintains seven long-term moorings, which along with annual CTD stations and glider occupations capture the major current pathways in the North-eastern Atlantic.  Within OSNAP, I am primarily investigating the influence of seabed topography on the path of the North Atlantic Current, which transports heat and salt towardsthe Arctic.   I am also interested in the impact of long-term ocean changes on the continental shelves and coastlines which border the Atlantic Ocean basin.


Funded by NERC. 2018-2024

Delivering knowledge and understanding of the Atlantic Ocean system that society needs for evidence-based decisions on ocean management. Filling knowledge gaps on ocean variability, climate regulation and ocean services, and assessing how the ocean will evolve as a result of climate change and intensified human exploitation.


Past Projects


MASSMO is a pioneering multi-partner series of trials and demonstrator missions that aim to explore the UK seas using a fleet of innovative marine robots. With newly developed unmanned surface vehicles (USVs) and submarine gliders, the multi-phase project has successfully completed the largest single deployment of marine autonomous systems ever seen in the UK. These field trials are providing valuable insight into UK seas and the marine life they support, gathering environmental data, and feeding back vital information on how the different vehicles perform separately and together in preparation for future scientific applications. More...

C2 Oceanids

The Command and Control (C2) project aims to simplify the operation of the Marine Autonomous Systems including gliders by developing infrastructure to allow piloting automation.


SOLSTICE-WIO is a four-year projects funded by the Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF).  The project addresses three sustainable development challenges facing developing countries:

  • >Secure and resilient food systems
  • >Resilience and action on short-term environmental shocks and long-term environmental change
  • >Reduction in poverty and inequality


Fluxes Across Sloping Topography in the North East Atlantic (FASTNEt). Funded by NERC. 

Oceanographic Data Tool (ODaT): Development of an online GIS data tool which translates the output of NERC oceanographic programmes (including FASTNEt, OSNAP and the Ellett Line) into products which can be used by the wider marine community. Funded by NERC. May 2016-Dec 2017


Cunningham, S. A. et al. Pole-to-Pole In-Situ Observing Systems for Measuring Volume, Heat and Freshwater Fluxes of the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation. Submitted to Reviews of Geophysics (special edition), May 2019.


Peer-reviewed publications

Li F, Lozier MS, Bacon S, Bower AS, Cunningham SA, de Jong MF, deYoung B, Fraser N, Fried N, Han G, Holliday NP, Holte J, Houpert L, Inall ME, Johns WE, Jones S, Johnson C, Karstensen J, Le Bras IA, Lherminier P, Lin X, Mercier H, Oltmanns M, Pacini A, Petit T, Rickart RS, Rayner D, Straneo F, Thierry V, Visbeck M, Yahayaev I & Zhou-Show C (2021) Subpolar North Atlantic western boundary desity anomalies and the Meridional Overturning Circulation. Nature Communications 12: 3002 https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-021-23350-2  

Houpert, L., S. Cunningham, N. Fraser, C. Johnson, N. Holliday, S. Jones, B. Moat and D. Rayner (2020) Observed variability of the North Atlantic Current in the Rockall Trough from four years of mooring measurements. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 125, doi:10.1029/2020JC016403.

Jones, S.C., Inall, M.E., Porter, M., Graham, J.A., Cottier, F. (2020) Storm-driven across-shelf oceanic flows into coastal waters. Ocean Science 16(2) 389-403. https://doi.org/10.5194/os-16-389-2020 

Fraser, N., Inall, M.E., Magaldi,M.G., Haine, T.W.N., Jones, S.C.  Wintertime Fjord-Shelf Interaction and Ice Sheet Melting in Southeast Greenland.  Submitted to Journal of Geophysical Research – Oceans, August 2018.

Porter, M., Dale, A., Jones, S.C., Siemering, B., Inall, M.E. Cross-slope flow driven by the on shelf deflection of a slope current: a supply of nutrients and heat to the European Shelf. Submitted to Deep-Sea Research Part I, May 2018.

Jones, S.C., Cottier, F.R., Inall, M.E., Griffiths, C. (2018) Decadal variability on the Northwest European continental shelf.  Submitted to Progress in Oceanography. doi: 10.1016/j.pocean.2018.01.012

Jones, S.C. (2016) Shelf edge exchange and the influence on coastal oceanography. Doctoral Dissertation. University of Aberdeen

Painter, S.C., Hartman, S.E., Kivimäe, C., Salt, L., Clargo, N.M., Bozec, Y., Daniels, C.J., Jones, S.C., Hemsely, V.S., Munns, L., Allen, S. (2015).  Carbon exchange on the Hebrides Shelf, west of Scotland. Geophysical Research Letters, doi:10.1002/2015JC011599

Jullion, L., Jones, S.C., Naveira Garabato, A.C., Meredith, M.P. (2010). Wind-controlled export of Antarctic Bottom Water out of the Weddell Sea. Geophysical Research Letters, 37, L09609, doi:10.1029/2010GL042822


Other publications

Macdonald, F., Weeks, R.J., Houpert, L., Howe, J A., Jones, S.C. (2016). The Scottish Marine Robotics Facility: use of unmanned vehicles for environmental measurement, monitoring and decision making. Invited paper, 10th IFAC Conference on Control Applications in Marine Systems, (CAMS 2016), Trondheim, Norway.

I am a physical oceanographer with specialisms in observational oceanography, time series analysis and data visualisation.

A recent example of my work is the development of an online data tool in partnership with Marine Scotland, the Navy and BP to increase the value of physical oceanographic data for the marine community.  This tool was successfully employed in the Navy MASSMO-3 autonomous vehicle exercise in 2016 and resulted in a contribution to the Scottish Ocean Climate Status Report.

I am also an expert on the oceanography of waters off the Scottish west coast, and can provide advice on flow pathways, water properties and their relationship with local weather patterns.


Accessing consultancy services from SAMS

SAMS consultancy work is delivered through its wholly owned commercial subsidiary, SAMS Research Services Ltd. (SRSL). SRSL operates a comprehensive Quality Management System (QMS) that is accredited to ISO9001:2008 standard, guaranteeing that all projects deliver the best possible service to our customers. All SRSL projects are planned by a professional programme manager who oversees a team of dedicated project managers, all of whom are focussed specifically on client delivery, and have scientific experience and technical expertise in fields relevant to their assigned projects.

For further information concerning commercial enterprise opportunities at SAMS, please contact SRSL by email (info@srsl.com) or phone +44 (0) 1631 559 470.

Professional memberships

ICES WGOH (Working Group on Oceanic Hydrography) chair-invited member, January 2019 – present

Scottish Alliance for Geoscience, Environment and Society: member since 2016

Challenger Society for Marine Science: member since 2014

Insitute of Marine Engineering, Science & Technology: member since 2014


Expert advice to regulators / government 

Scottish Ocean Climate Status Report 2017: Contributor


Relevant research expeditions / cruises

DY108, RRS Discovery, September / October 2019, PI: Dr. Veerle Huvenne (NOC-S).  Mooring and CTD operations.

DY017, RRS Discovery.  October / November 2014, PI: Dr. Stuart Painter (NOC-S). Vessel-Mounted ADCP operator, Sea-Bird CTD processing.

JC88, RRS James Cook.   June / July 2013, Hebridean shelf-edge. PI: Prof. Mark Inall (SAMS).  Vessel-Mounted ADCP operator.

D376, RRS Discovery.  June / July 2012, Celtic Sea.  PI: Prof. Mark Inall (SAMS).  Vessel-Mounted ADCP operator.

RV Calanus. March 2013. Servicing the Tiree Passage Mooring.

RV Calanus. August 2013. Replacing the Tiree Passage Mooring.


Outreach/public engagement 

Science demonstrator at NERC 50th Anniversary event, RRS Discovery, London, October 2015

Data visualisation for numerous SAMS and NERC projects

Argyll and Bute Astronomical Club Science Festival, October 2013

Delivery of interactive physics demonstration to 57 high school students, August 2012

SAMS open day science demonstrator, May 2012

Employment history

January 2019 – present: Postdoctoral Researcher. SAMS

2016-present Tranlational Ocean Data Analyst. SAMS

2012-16 Graduate Research Assistant. SAMS

2009-12 Marine Data Scientist. British Oceanographic Data Centre, Liverpool

2007-08 Design Engineer. Finetubes, Plymouth



2016 PhD Marine Science. University of Aberdeen

2009 MSc Oceanography. University of Southampton

2004 BSc Mechanical Design and Manufacture. University of Plymouth