Patrick Cummins

Research Scientist
Ocean Sciences Division
Institute of Ocean Sciences
Fisheries and Oceans Canada
P.O. Box 6000
9860 West Saanich Road
Sidney, B.C.
Canada, V8L 4B2

Phone: 250-363-6553

Fax: 250-363-6746


Research area(s):

  • Chemical oceanography
  • Impacts of climate change
  • Physical oceanography

Area of Expertise:

Dr. Patrick Cummins is a research scientist with the Ocean Sciences division at the Institute of Ocean Sciences. There are three general themes to his research. The first focuses on the coastal waters of British Columbia and involves studies of the estuarine flow, wind-driven circulation, and barotropic and internal tides of the region. Patrick and Diane Masson have been developing and applying numerical models to understand the intensive observations of the waters of the Georgia/Fuca basin collected over recent years. This includes analyses of the distribution of chemical concentrations within the estuary, and of the interannual variability of the system.

A second major focus has been on the causes and mechanisms of long-term variability over the northeast Pacific Ocean. Patrick has been developing relatively simple models to help interpret observations of long term change as revealed, for example, by satellite altimeter data. Of particular interest is an understanding of the influence of the Pacific Decadal Oscillation over the region and developing indices that may be useful to monitor local climatic changes of the upper ocean.

Finally, he is also involved in process studies on the interaction of stratified flows with the bottom topography of the ocean, especially the observations of hydraulic flow over the sill in Knight Inlet British Columbia and associated phenomena. This includes the generation of internal solitary waves, a type of motion that occurs in coastal oceans across the world and is important in mixing and pumping nutrients to the surface layer. Patrick Cummins is co-editor of Atmosphere – Ocean. Atmosphere-Ocean is published by the Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society. The journal is a medium for publication of the results of original research in all fields of the atmospheric, oceanographic and hydrological sciences.

Select Presentation(s) / Publication(s):

Cummins, P. F., & Thupaki, P. (2018). A note on evaluating model tidal currents against observations. Continental Shelf Research, 152, 35–37. doi:10.1016/j.csr.2017.10.007

Cummins, P. F., Masson, D., & Saenko, O. A. (2016). Vertical heat flux in the ocean: Estimates from observations and from a coupled general circulation model. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 121(6), 3790–3802. doi:10.1002/2016jc011647

Cummins, P. F., & Masson, D. (2014). Climatic variability and trends in the surface waters of coastal British Columbia. Progress in Oceanography, 120, 279–290. doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2013.10.002

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