Matthias Morzfeld

Associate Professor

Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics

Scripps Institution of Oceanography

University of California, San Diego

My research interests are, broadly: interdisciplinary mathematical/stochastic modeling, data assimilation, Monte Carlo sampling, reduced order modeling. Specifically: numerical methods for data assimilation and inverse problems – importance/implicit sampling, Markov chain Monte Carlo, variational methods, Kalman filters.

I create new mathematics and computational tools and work towards their successful application across the Earth sciences. A main theme of my work is how sampling methods can function (or not) in high-dimensional spaces.

Please download my publications here.

Teaching at SIO

  • Fall 2020: Geophysical data analysis (SIOG223a),

Teaching at the University of Arizona

  • Fall 2018: Calculus II (Math129), Website.
  • Spring 2018: Data assimilation and inverse problems, part II, Website.
  • Fall 2017: Data assimilation and inverse problems, Website.
  • Spring 2017: Applied Linear Algebra (Math310), Website.
  • Fall 2016: Linear Algebra(Math313), Website.
  • Spring 2016: Calculus II (Math129), Website.
  • Fall 2015: Calculus I (Math125), Website.

Teaching at the University of California at Berkeley

  • Spring 2014: Numerical Analysis (Math128b), Website.

Please download my CV here.


Dan Blatter. Check out Dan's work on trans-dimensional MCMC.

Graduate students (SIO)

Kyle Gwirtz, Project: geomagnetic data assimilation.

Graduate students (U of Arizona)

Jessica Pillow, Applied Mathematics. Co-advised with Matt Kupinski. Project: Inverse problems in X-ray radiography.

Undergraduate students

Travis Davis, Computer Science.

Alumni (graduate)

Travis Harty (2020), Applied Mathematics, U of Arizona. Dissertation: Data assimilation and applications in forecasting. Position after graduation: Scientist at Worldview.

Spencer Lunderman (2020), Mathematics, U of Arizona. Dissertation: Feature-based parameter estimation of the nonlinear cloud and rain equation and global Bayesian optimization in data assimilation. Position after graduation: finance (declined JPL postdoc).

Jesse Adams (2019), Applied Mathematics, U of Arizona. Co-advised with Aaron Luttman (NNSS). Dissertation: Scalable block Gibbs sampling for image deblurring in X-ray radiography. Position after graduation: Postdoc at NNSS.

Andrew Leach, Applied Mathematics, U of Arizona. Co-advised with Kevin Lin. Dissertation: Monte Carlo methods for stochastic differential equations and their applications. Position after graduation: Google, Machine Learning Engineer.

Antonio Lorenzo, Optical sciences, U of Arizona. Co-advised with Alex Cronin. Dissertation: Short-term irradiance forecasting using an irradiance sensor network, satellite imagery, and data assimilation. Position after graduation: Research Scientist at the University of Arizona.

Alumni (undergraduate)

Savannah Rae Armstrong, Engineering and Mathematics double major.

Shivansh Singh Chauhan, Computer Science.

Tene Carter, Computer Science and Mathematics double major.

Rafael Orozco, Computer Science, Mathematics minor.

Outreach articles

Snapshots of modern mathematics from Oberwolfach article about merging models and data (2018)

Articles about research

SIAM News story about simplified geomagnetic models (2020)

UA News story about geomagnetic reversals (2017)

UA News story about Sloan Research Fellowship (2016)

NNSS article about Jesse Adams' dissertation work


Public lecture about data assimilation (2017, Everything is Math lecture series)

U2 can UQ

Workshop for people with interests in UQ

2019 Workshop

2018 Workshop

2017 Workshop

Contact information

Office: Revelle 2102

Email: matti [at] ucsd [dot] edu

Mail: Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics,Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego,9500 Gilman Drive, MC 0225, La Jolla, CA 92093-0225