Penny is a physical oceanographer and her research has focused on the circulation and variability of the subpolar North Atlantic, and the role of the ocean in our changing climate. She has participated in 21 seagoing expeditions, several as Chief Scientist. Penny is Associate Director National Capability Science at the NOC. Prior to this appointment Penny was Head of the Marine Physics and Ocean Climate group at the NOC. She is the UK principal investigator for an international programme researching the Atlantic meridional overturning circulation strength, variability and mechanisms (OSNAP). She holds the role of Principal Investigator for CLASS, a world-leading UK Atlantic science programme supporting national and global strategic needs.
Penny joined the Institute of Oceanographic Sciences Deacon Laboratory in 1990, initially working as a project manager for a global, multi-national research programme (World Ocean Circulation Experiment, WOCE), and later combining that role with her research. She received her PhD from Liverpool University in 2002, and worked part-time at the NOC from 2003 to 2016, before returning to full-time.
Penny was awarded the title of Honorary Professorial Fellow (Research) by the University of Southampton in June 2019, and was recipient of the Society of Underwater Technology's Oceanography Award in December 2019..
GOOS UK Point of Contact (2021 - )
EOOS Operations Committee (2021 - )
AtlantOS Steering Committee (2020 - )
ASOF International Scientific Steering Group (2020 - )
UK Integrated Marine Observing Network (2019 - )
OSNAP Scientific Steering Committee (2014- , chair 2019-2021);
GO-SHIP Science Committee (2019-2020)
UK Point of Contact for EuroGOOS (2019-2022)
French Oceanographic Fleet Science Advisory Board (2018-2022)
ICES Working Group on Oceanic Hydrography (2000-2020, chair 2006-2009)
ICES Steering Group on Climate Change (2007-2009)
CES Strategic Initiative on Climate Change (2009-2010)
WOCE Data Products Committee (2000-2002)
NERC Long Term Environmental Monitoring Group (2000-05)
Principal Investigator for the UK OSNAP project, which is part of an international programme to directly observe the subpolar gyre and overturning circulation and property transports. Co-Investigator on SNAP DRAGON (Dynamics and Predictability in subpolar gyre and overturning variability). UK OSNAP and SNAP DRAGON are part of the NERC Changing North Atlantic programme.
Science Coordinator and Academic Engagement leader for CLASS, a NERC National Capability programme (2018–2024)
NOC Principal Investigator for a CLASS programme called the Ellett Array, (formerly known as the Extended Ellett Line), which is a long-running project (started in 1975) observing and understanding the ocean west of Britain.