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Christian Mertens

Christian Mertens
Christian Mertens
  • Tel: +49 (0)421 218-62154
  • Fax: +49 (0)421 218-62165
  • E-Mail: cmertens [at]

Research Interests

  • As a physical oceanographer I study the temporal variability of the ocean over a range of time scales from multi-year to short term fluctuations. My emphasis is on the processes that are responsible for the observed ocean variability.  I use a wide range of methodological approaches and instrumentation to study changes in the meridional overturning circulation, small scale processes and mixing, and the hydrographic dynamics at hydrothermal vents.
Academic education  
2000 PhD (Dr. rer. nat.) in Physical Oceanography, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
1994 Degree (Diplom) in Physical Oceanography, Christian-Albrechts-Universität Kiel
since 2000 research scientist, Institute of Environmental Physics (IUP), University of Bremen
1994 - 2000 research scientist, Institut für Meereskunde (IfM), University of Kiel
German, C.R., E.P. Reeves, A. Türke, A. Diehl, E. Albers, W. Bach, A. Purser, S.P. Ramalho, S. Suman, C. Mertens, M. Walter, E. Ramirez-Llodra, V. Schlindwein, S. Bünz, and A. Boetius (2022), Volcanically hosted venting with indications of ultramafic influence at Aurora hydrothermal field on Gakkel Ridge, Nature Communications 13: 6517 (2022), doi:10.1038/s41467-022-34014-0.
Rabe, B., C. Heuzé J. Regnery, Y. Aksenov, J. Allerholt, M. Athanase, Y. Bai, C. Basque, D. Bauch, T.M. Baumann, D. Chen, S.T. Cole, L. Craw, A. Davies, E. Damm, K. Dethloff, D.V. Divine, F. Doglioni, F. Ebert, Y.-C. Fang, I. Fer, A.A. Fong, R. Gradinger, M.A. Granskog, R. Graupner, C. Haas, H. He, Y. He, M. Hoppmann, M. Janout, D. Kadko, T. Kanzow, S. Karam, Y. Kawaguchi, Z. Koenig, B. Kong, R.A. Krishfield, T. Krumpen, D. Kuhlmey, I. Kuznetsov, M. Lan, G. Laukert, R. Lei, T. Li, S. Torres-Valde ́s, L. Lin, L. Lin, H. Liu, N. Liu, B. Loose, X. Ma, R. MacKay, M. Mallet, R.D.C. Mallett, W. Maslowski, C. Mertens, V. Mohrholz, M. Muilwijk, M- Nicolaus, J.K. O’Brien, D. Perovich, J. Ren, M. Rex, N. Ribeiro, A. Rinke, J. Schaffer, I. Schuffenhauer, K. Schulz, M.D. Shupe, W. Shaw, V. Sokolov, A. Sommerfeld, G. Spreen, T. Stanton, M. Stephens, J. Su, N. Sukhikh, A. Sundfjord, K. Thomisch, S. Tippenhauer, J.M. Toole, M. Vredenborg, M. Walter, H. Wang, L. Wang, Y. Wang, M. Wendisch, J. Zhao, M. Zhou, und J. Zhu (2022), Overview of the MOSAiC expedition: Physical oceanography. Elementa: Science of the Anthropocene 10(1), doi:10.1525/elementa.2021.00062.
Berx, B., D. Volkov, J. Baehr, M.O. Baringer, P. Brandt, K. Burmeister, S. Cunningham, M.F. de Jong, L. de Steur, S. Dong, E. Frajka-Williams, G.J. Goni, N.P. Holliday, R. Hummels, R. Ingvaldsen, K. Jochumsen, W. Johns, S. Jónsson, J. Karstensen, D. Kieke, R. Krishfield, M. Lankhorst, K.M.H. Larsen, I. Le Bras, C.M. Lee, F. Li, S. Lozier, A. Macrander, G. McCarthy, C. Mertens, B. Moat, M. Moritz, R. Perez, I. Polyakov, A. Proshutinsky, B. Rabe, M. Rhein, C. Schmid, Ø. Skagseth, D.A. Smeed, M.-L. Timmermans, W.-J. von Appen, B. Williams, R. Woodgate, and I. Yashayaev (2021), Climate-relevant ocean transport measurements in the Atlantic and Arctic Oceans. Pp. 10–11 in Frontiers in Ocean Observing: Documenting Ecosystems, Understanding Environmental Changes, Forecasting Hazards. E.S. Kappel, S.K. Juniper, S. Seeyave, E. Smith, and M. Visbeck, eds, A Supplement to Oceanography 34(4), doi:10.5670/oceanog.2021.supplement.02-04.
Löb J, J. Köhler, M. Walter, C. Mertens, and M. Rhein (2021), Time series of near-inertial gravity wave energy fluxes: The effect of a strong wind event. J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 126, e2021JC017472, doi:10.1029/2021JC017472.
Voelker, G.S., D. Olbers, C. Mertens, M. Walter, and P.G. Myers (2020), Estimates of wind power and radiative near-inertial internal wave flux, Ocean Dynamics, doi:10.1007/s10236-020-01388-y.
Nowitzki, H., M. Rhein, A. Roessler, D. Kieke, and C. Mertens (2021), Trends and transport variability of the circulation in the subpolar eastern North Atlantic. J. Geophys. Res.: Oceans, 126, e2020JC016693, doi:10.1029/2020JC016693.
Frajika-Williams, E., I.J. Ansorge, J.Baehr, H.L. Bryden, M.Paz Chidichimo, S.A. Cunningham, G. Danabasoglu, S. Dong, K.A. Donohue, S. Elipot, N.P. Holliday, R. Hummels, L.C. Jackson, J. Karstensen, M. Lankhorst, I. Le Bras, S. Lozier, E.L. McDonaugh, C.S. Meinen, H. Mercier, B.I. Moat, R.C. Perez, C.G. Piecuch, M. Rhein, M. Skrokoz, K.E. Trenberth, S. Bacon, G. Forget, G. Goni, P. Heimbach, D. Kieke, J. Koelling, T. Lamont, G. McCarthy, C. Mertens, U. Send, D.A. Smeed, M. van den Berg, D. Volkov, and C. Wilson (2019). Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation: Observed transports and variability. Frontiers in Marine Science, 6:260, doi:10.3389/fmars.2019.00260.
Köhler, J., M. Walter, C. Mertens, J. Stiehler, Z. Li, Z. Zhao, J.-S. von Storch, and M. Rhein (2019), Energy Flux Observations in an Internal Tide Beam in the Eastern North Atlantic. J. Geophys. Res. Ocean, 124, 5747–5764, doi:10.1029/2019JC015156.
Mertens, C., J. Köhler, M. Walter, J.-S. von Storch and M. Rhein (2019), Observations and Models of Low Mode Internal Waves in the Ocean, in: C. Eden and A. Iske (eds.), Energy Transfers in Atmosphere and Ocean, Mathematics of Planet Earth 1, Springer Nature Switzerland AG, 127-144, doi:10.1007/978-3-030-05704-6_4.
Rhein, M., Mertens, C., and A. Roessler (2019), Observed transport decline at 47°N, western Atlantic. Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 124, doi:10.1029/2019JC014993.
Mertens, C., W. Böke, K. Bulsiewicz, L. Castro del Guardia, A. Christodoulou, R. Cordts, L. Kappertz, J. Köhler, R. Nü, A. Roessler, A. Schneehorst, I. Sonntag, M. Spanknebel, J. Stake, R. Steinfeldt, H.-H. Uhde, T. Wegehaupt, M. Zeiss (2017), Water Circulation in the Subpolar North Atlantic - Cruise No. MSM43 - May 25 - June 27, 2015 - St. John's (Canada)- Nuuk (Greenland). MARIA S. MERIAN-Berichte, DFG-Senatskommission für Ozeanographie, doi:10.2312/cr_msm43.
Breckenfelder, T., M. Rhein, A. Roessler, C.W. Böning, A. Biastoch, E. Behrens and C. Mertens (2017), Flow paths and variability of the North Atlantic Current: A comparison of observations and a high-resolution model. J. Geophys. Res., 122, 2686-2708, doi:10.1002/2016JC012444.
Müller, V., D. Kieke, P.G. Myers, C. Penelly and C. Mertens (2017), Temperature flux carried by individual eddies across 47 N in the Atlantic Ocean, J. Geophys. Res., 122, 2441-2464, doi:10.1002/2016JC012175.
Gonnella G., S. Böhnke, D.Indenbirken, D. Garbe-Schönberg, R. Seifert, C. Mertens, S. Kurtz und M. Perner (2016), Endemic hydrothermal vent species identified in the open ocean seed bank. Nature Microbiology, 1(8), doi:10.1038/nmicrobiol.2016.86.
Kedzior, S., A. Buß, B. Schneider, J. Schneider von Deimling, J. Sültenfuß, M. Walter, C. Mertens und Gregor Rehder (2016), Geochemical observations within the water column at the CO2-rich hydrothermal systems Hatoma Knoll and Yonaguni Knoll IV, in the southern Okinawa Trough. J. Geophys. Res., 121, doi:10.1002/2016JC012003.
Fischer, J., J. Karstensen, R. Zantopp, M. Visbeck, A. Biastoch, E. Behrens, C. Böning, D. Quadfasel, K. Jochumsen, H. Valdimarsson, S. Jonsson, S. Bacon, N. P. Holliday, S. Dye, M. Rhein, and C. Mertens (2015), Intra-seasonal variability of the Deep Western Boundary Current in the western subpolar North Atlantic. Prog. Oceanogr., 132(3), 233-249, doi:10.1016/j.pocean.2014.04.002.
Roessler, A., M. Rhein, D. Kieke, and C. Mertens (2015), Long-term observations of North Atlantic Current transport at the gateway between western and eastern Atlantic, J. Geophys. Res., 120, 4003-4027, doi:10.1002/2014JC010662.
Mertens, C., M. Rhein, M. Walter, C.W. Böning, E. Behrens, D. Kieke, R. Steinfeldt, and U. Stöber (2014), Circulation and transports in the Newfoundland Basin, western subpolar North Atlantic, J. Geophys. Res., 119, 7772-7793, doi:10.1002/2014JC010019.
Köhler, J., C. Mertens, M. Walter, U. Stöber, M. Rhein, and T. Kanzow (2014), Variability in the internal wave field induced by the Atlantic Deep Western Boundary Current at 16 N. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 44(2), 492-516, doi:10.1175/JPO-D-13-010.1.
Walter, M. und C. Mertens (2013), Mid-depth mixing linked to North Atlantic Current variability, Geophys. Res. Lett., 40(18), 4869-4875, doi:10.1002/grl.50936.
Rhein, M., D. Kieke, S. Hüttl-Kabus, A. Roessler, C. Mertens, R. Meissner, B. Klein, C. W. Böning and I. Yashayaev (2011), Deep-water formation, the subpolar gyre, and the meridional overturning circulation in the subpolar North Atlantic. Deep-Sea Res. II, 58, 1819-1832, doi:10.1016/j.dsr2.2010.10.061.
Walter, M., C. Mertens, U. Stöber, C.R. German, D.R. Yoerger, J. Sültenfuß, M. Rhein, B. Melchert, and E.T. Baker (2010), Rapid dispersal of a hydrothermal plume by turbulent mixing. Deep-Sea Res. I, 57, 931-945, doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2010.04.010.
Mertens, C., M. Rhein, M. Walter, and K. Kirchner (2009), Modulation of the Inflow into the Caribbean Sea by North Brazil Current Rings. Deep-Sea Res. I, doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2009.03.002.
Kirchner, K., M. Rhein, C. Mertens, C.W. Böning, and S. Hüttl (2008), Observed and modeled MOC related flow into the Caribbean. J. Geophys. Res., 113, C03028, doi:10.1029/2007JC004320.
Melchert, B., C. W. Devey, C. R. German, K. S. Laschkewitz, R. Seifert, M. Walter, C. Mertens, D. R. Yoerger, E. T. Baker, H. Paulick, and K. Nakamura (2008), First evidence for high-temperature off-axis venting of deep crustal/mantle heat: The Nibelungen hydrothermal field, southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Earth Planet. Sci. Lett., 275(1-2), 61-69, doi:10.1016/j.epsl.2008.08.010.
Stöber, U., M. Walter, C. Mertens, and M. Rhein (2008), Mixing estimates from hydrographic measurements in the Deep Western Boundary Current of the North Atlantic. Deep-Sea Res. I, 55(6), 721-736, doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2008.03.006.
Haase, K. M., S. Petersen, A. Koschinsky, R. Seifert, C. Devey, N. Dubilier, S. Fretzdorff, D. Garbe-Schönberg, C. R. German, O. Giere, R. Keir, J. Kuever, K. Lackschewitz, J. Mawick, H. Marbler, B. Melchert, C. Mertens, H. Paulick, M. Perner, M. Peters, S. Sander, O. Schmale, T. M. Shank, J. Stecher, H. Strauss, J. Süling, U. Stöber, M. Walter, M. Warmuth, S. Weber, U. Westernströer, D. Yoerger, and F. Zielinski (2007), Young volcanism and related hydrothermal activity at 5 S on the slow-spreading southern Mid-Atlantic Ridge. Geochemistry, Geophysics, Geosystems (G3), 8, Q11002, doi:10.1029/2006GC001509.
Koschinsky, A., A. Billings, C. Devey, N. Dubilier, A. Duester, D. Edge, D. Garbe-Schönberg, C. German, O. Giere, R. Keir, K. Lackschewitz, H.A. Mai, H. Marbler, J. Mawick, B. Melchert, C. Mertens, M. Peters, S. Sander, O. Schmale, W. Schmidt, R. Seifert, C. Seiter, U. Stöber, I. Suck, M. Walter, S. Weber, D. Yoerger, M. Zarrouk, F. Zielinski (2006), Discovery of new hydrothermal vents on the Southern Midatlantic Ridge, 4 S-10 S, during cruise M68/1. InterRidge News, 15, 9-14.
Rhein, M., K. Kirchner, C. Mertens, R. Steinfeldt, M. Walter, and U. Fleischmann-Wischnath (2005), Transport of South Atlantic water through the passages south of Guadeloupe and across 16 N, 2000-2004. Deep-Sea Res. I, 52(12), 2234-2249, doi:10.1016/j.dsr.2005.08.003.
Walter, M., C. Mertens, and M. Rhein (2005), Mixing estimates from a large-scale hydrographic survey in the North Atlantic. Geophys. Res. Lett., 32, L13605, doi:10.1029/2005GL022471.
Rhein, M., M. Walter, C. Mertens, R. Steinfeldt, and D. Kieke (2004), The circulation of North Atlantic Deep Water at 16 N, 2000 - 2003. Geophys. Res. Lett., 31, L14305, doi:10.1029/2004GL019993.
Rhein, M., J. Fischer, W. M. Smethie, D. Smythe-Wright, R. F. Weiss, C. Mertens, D.-H. Min, and U. Fleischmann (2002), Labrador Sea Water: Pathways, CFC inventory, and formation rates. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 32(2), 648-665.
Mertens, C., and F. Schott (1998), Interannual variability of deep water formation in the Northwestern Mediterranean. J. Phys. Oceanogr., 28(7), 1410-1424.
Albérola, C., C. Millot, U. Send, C. Mertens, and J. L. Fuda (1996), Comparison of XCTD/CTD data, Deep-Sea Res. I, 43 (6), 859-876, doi:10.1016/0967-0637(96)00031-3.
U. Send, C. Mertens, and J. Font (1996), Recent observation indicates convection’s role in deep water circulation, Eos, Trans. AGU, 77 (7), 61-65, doi:10.1029/96EO00040.