Hristina Hristova

Postdoctoral Researcher

Hristina Hristova joined JISAO in the summer of 2009 as a postdoc with Dr. William Kessler at the Pacific Marine Environmental Laboratory (PMEL) shortly after graduating from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology - Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (MIT-WHOI) Joint Program.

Hristina was born and raised in Bulgaria. She spent many summers on the Black Sea and grew up in the company of two sailor uncles who greatly contributed to her fascination with the oceans and her desire to study them. Although her family still lives in Bulgaria, Hristina's studies have taken her abroad. She received an undergraduate engineering degree from Ecole Polytechnique in France and a masters degree in fluid mechanics from Ecole Polytechnique in Montreal, Canada. She earned a Ph.D. in physical oceanography from the MIT-WHOI Joint Program, where she worked with Dr. Michael Spall on various problems involving the stability of large-scale oceanic flows.

Hristina's current work focuses on the Tropical Pacific Ocean circulation. Hristina is particularly interested in the low-latitude western boundary current that flows through the Solomon Sea in the Southwest Pacific. This current represents a major pathway connecting the mid-latitudes to the equatorial region. Variability on seasonal, interannual, and decadal scales of the transport, pathways, and/or properties of the waters coming out of the Solomon Sea has the potential to modulate the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) cycle, triggering basin-scale climate feedbacks and influencing both the regional and global climate. Despite the importance of the Solomon Sea, this part of the ocean remains poorly understood, mainly because of its remoteness and difficult access. In conjunction with a team from UCLA and her postdoc supervisor William Kessler, Hristina is working on developing a high-resolution nested ROMS model for the Solomon Sea by checking the model performance against available in-situ observations and other realistic regional models. She is also interested in assessing the role of the small-scale eddy variability for the overall circulation.

When not sitting in front of her computer, Hristina enjoys spending time outdoors - biking, snowboarding, and exploring local parks and mountains. She also likes growing vegetables, taking care of her four-legged friends, and building houses with Habitat for Humanity. Hristina is an avid baseball fan with a split allegiance between the Boston Red Sox and Seattle Mariners.