Imperial College London

Ronan McAdam

Faculty of EngineeringDepartment of Earth Science & Engineering

Casual - Lib. Ass, Clerks & Gen. Admin Assistants



ronan.mcadam11 Website




708Huxley BuildingSouth Kensington Campus





Ocean Current Modelling - Physical Oceanography - Marine Plastic Pollution

My research focusses on understanding the connections between different parts of the ocean. Plastic debris, heat and marine organisms are all transported by ocean currents - understanding the time-scales and possible pathways of their motion is important for a range of academic and policy-relevant reasons. I use a range of models, mathematical techniques and instrument data to recreate the complexity of ocean motion. 

Supervisors: Dr Arnaud Czaja (Imperial College London) & Dr Erik van Sebille (Utrecht University)

Topics of research:

  • Transport Barriers and Connectors: Examining the role of the Agulhas Current and Gulf Stream in inter-ocean transport
  • Detecting plastic hot-spots: Predicting accumulation regions of floating plastic waste
  • Network theory and oceanography: Improving stochastic (Markov-chain) representations of current systems
  • From surface to abyss: Exploring how inter-ocean connections vary with depth

Outreach & Education

I am very enthusiastic about sharing the results of scientific research to a wider community. See below for some of my work on public exhibitions, lectures and articles:

Royal Society Summer Science 2016 Highlights: Plastic Not Fantastic In Our Oceans
Crowd-Sourcing Pollution Solutions
Grantham Institute Project: Plastic Pollution in our oceans
Pakeman Primary School Radio Interview
Articles for Significance Magazine

I also give frequent talks at school events, careers fairs and public lectures.

Secondment at the Royal Statistical Society

Details of my work with the RSS and Significance Magazine can be found here.

Affiliated groups:
Space & Atmospheric Physics (SPAT)
The Grantham Institute of Climate Change and the Environment

I am proud to be part of the Science and Solutions for a Changing Planet (SSCP) Doctoral Training Program (DTP), funded by NERC and The Grantham Institute.



McAdam R, van Sebille E, 2018, Surface connectivity and inter-ocean exchanges from drifter-based transition matrices, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, Vol:123, ISSN:2169-9275, Pages:514-532

van Sebille E, Griffies SM, Abernathey R, et al., 2017, Lagrangian ocean analysis: fundamentals and practices, Ocean Modelling, Vol:121, ISSN:1463-5003, Pages:49-75

McAdam R, 2017, Plastic in the ocean: How much is out there?, Significance, Vol:14, ISSN:1740-9705, Pages:24-27

Collins GS, Lynch E, McAdam R, et al., 2017, A numerical assessment of simple airblast models of impact airbursts, Meteoritics & Planetary Science, Vol:52, ISSN:1086-9379, Pages:1542-1560

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