Dr. Porter became an oceanographer because of his love of the ocean.  Besides studying, publishing papers on, and teaching students about the Earth’s major oceans, he has also swum in all of them.  He is an avid sailor, who during the summer plies the waters of the Patuxent River either sailing or on his kayak.  During his career he has been in/on/or used aircraft (e.g. P-3s), a deep submersible (Alvin), nuclear submarines (e.g. USS Dallas), research vessels (e.g. Kuyo Maru), satellites (e.g. Geosat), and piers (e.g., Army Corps of Engineers Duck Pier) to make observations of the oceans.  His work has taken him to all seven continents. He invites all, who would like to learn more about these oceans and the processes that drive them, to take the Applied Physics Course ‘Introduction to Oceanography,’  and if you want to learn about the climate of Earth, to take the course ‘Physics of Climate.’

Education History

  • B.S. Physics, University of Maryland
  • M.S. Physical Oceanography, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
  • Ph.D. Geophysical Fluid Dynamics, Catholic University of America

Work Experience

Principal Professional Staff, JHU Applied Physics Laboratory


Dr. Porter has 32 publications including the book “Recent Advances and Issues in Oceanography,” and contributions to “American Practical Navigator,” by Bowditch 1802. He holds two Intellectual Property Disclosures for the IBuoy and ADCP-Waves, as well as 30 published papers in proceedings, 34 published abstracts, and two Videos on Demand. Select publications are listed below:

Porter, D. L., ‘GEOSAT Observations of the Tropical Pacific Cyclone Pair of May 1986,’ Journal of Geophysical Research, Volume 95, No. D4, 3705-3710, March 20, 1990.

Porter, D. L., and H. H. Shih, ‘Investigations of Temperature Effects on NOAA’s Next Generation Water Level Measurement System,’ Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 13, pp. 714-725, June 1996.

Porter, D. L., and R. R. Thompson, ‘Continental Shelf Parameters Inferred from SAR Internal Wave Observations,’ Journal of Atmospheric and Oceanic Technology, 16, pp. 475-487, April 1999.

Raney, R. K. and D. L. Porter, ‘WITTEX: An Innovative Three-Satellite Radar Altimeter Concept, IEEE Transactions on Geoscience and Remote Sensing,’ 39(11), 2387-2391, 2001.

Raney, R. K. and D. L. Porter, ‘WITTEX: An Innovative Multi-Satellite Radar Altimeter Constellation, in Report of the High-Resolution Ocean Topography Science Working Group Meeting (Edited by Dudley B. Chelton),’ College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State University, Corvallis, Oregon, Reference 2001-4, October 2001, pp. 170-178.

Nichols, C. R., D. L. Porter, R. G. Williams, Recent Advances and Issues in Oceanography, Greenwood Press, pp 424, June 30, 2003.

Smith, W., R.K. Raney, D. Sandwell, D.L. Porter, and e. al., ‘ABYSS-Lite: A radar altimeter for bathymetry, geodesy and mesoscale oceanography,’ NRC Decadal Survey, 2005.

Porter, D.L., Goemmer, S.A., and Sweeney, J., ”Top Sounder Ice Penetration,” Fall AGU 2014, San Francisco, CA, 17 December, 2014.

Bowditch, LL.D., et al., American Practical Navigator, Pub. No. 9, National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, 2017.

Porter, D. L., “Underway,” Johns Hopkins APL Technical Digest, Volume 33, Number 4 (2017), pp. 289-290, 2017.

Honors and Awards

  • 2020 Blackboard Catalyst Award (2020)
  • Exceptional Online Course Design (2019)
  • J. H. Fitzgerald Dunning Professorship, JHU (2003)
  • Janney Fellowship, JHU/APL (1998)
  • Award for best presentation at the ‘Satellite Altimetry and the Oceans’ conference in Toulouse, France (1992)
  • Honorable Mention for an Outstanding Paper in the Category of UnclassifiedRefereed Development Publications, JHU/APL (1992)
  • Elected Senior Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (1992)
  • Recognition of outstanding contribution, NOAA (1985)

Professional Organizations