Author Archive

Wiig, Ø., Henrichsen, P., Sjøvold, T., Born, E.W., Dietz, R., Sonne, C.,  and Aars, J. (2019). Variation in non-metrical skull traits of polar bears (Ursus maritimus) and relationships across East Greenland and adjacent subpopulations (1830–2013). Polar Biology 42:3, 461-474.

Arctic System Science, NSF

Collaborative Research: Spatiotemporal variability of solar radiation partitioning in the sea ice system: improving climate models using observations from the MOSAiC field campaign; Principal Investigator.   



The seasonal cycle of Arctic snow depth from ICESat-2: linkages to summer freeboards and albedo; PI


DE-FOA-0002414: Biological and Environmental Research, DOE

How snow drives the seasonal evolution of land and sea surface albedos in the Alaskan high Arctic; Co-I.


Engineer Research & Development Center: Cold Regions Research & Engineering Laboratory

Observing and Predicting Coastal Sea Ice Stability & Trafficability; Co-Investigator.


NNH19ZDA001N-IDS: Interdisciplinary Research in Earth Science, NASA

Investigating the Fate of Sea Ice & Interactions with the Polar Atmosphere in the “New Arctic”; Co-Investigator.


NNH18ZDA001N-PMMST: Precipitation Measurement Missions (PMM) Science Team, NASA 

Using GPM in an Optimal Estimation Lagrangian Framework (OELaF) to quantify moisture transport in Arctic Cyclones; Co-Investigator.


NNH19ZDA001N-ATDM: Weather & Atmospheric Dynamics, NASA

Improving Understanding of Precipitation Events in the Arctic; Principal Investigator.



Refinement and Enhancement of the Terra and Aqua MODIS and Suomi NPP VIIRS Cryosphere Algorithms and Data Products; Co-Investigator.


NNH17ZDA001N-NIP: New (Early Career) Investigator Program in Earth Science, NASA 

Assessing & improving the seasonal capability of ICESat-2 data for sea ice research; Principal Investigator.

Arctic sea ice likely reached its 2018 lowest extent on September 19 and again on September 23, according to NASA and the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) at the University of Colorado Boulder. Analysis of satellite data by NSIDC and NASA showed that, at 1.77 million square miles (4.59 million square kilometers), 2018 effectively tied with 2008 and 2010 for the sixth lowest summertime minimum extent in the satellite record.

The 2018 Ocean Sciences Meeting (OSM), co-sponsored by the American Geophysical Union (AGU), the Association for the Sciences of Limnology and Oceanography (ASLO), and The Oceanography Society (TOS), will be held 11–16 February, in Portland, Oregon. Some of the members of PSC will join their colleagues from the University of Washington and other institutions to present and discuss their latest marine science research endeavors.

APL-UW has produced a video with Harry Stern and his research of the Arctic ice edge that incorporated logs and maps of Captain James Cook’s polar expedition among other early explorers.

Popular Science reported on Harry Stern’s research paper which analyzed observations recorded by the earliest explorers of the Northwest Passage in correlation to the current trend in sea ice.

The International Journal of Remote Sensing has published a study by Ben Hudson and his UC colleagues which assessed turbid water detection and cloud mask performance of NASA’s Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) MOD35_L2 cloud mask.

UW News talks to PSC’s Laura Kehrl about a recently published study identifying a locale in #Antarctica that may provide a continuous ice core record of the last 1 million yrs. The research team, which included members from UW and UMaine, used ice‐penetrating radar and an ice flow model to map the promising region. Kehrl is the corresponding author for the study published in AGU’s Geophysical Research Letters. Read on to learn how the team conducted their fieldwork…

Knut Aagaard

Principal Oceanographer- Retiree

Professor Emeritus, Oceanography

PSC members join their colleagues and peers at the AGU 2015 Fall Meeting in San Francisco, California.

PSC members join their colleagues and peers at the AGU 2016 Fall Meeting in San Francisco, California.


PSC members join their colleagues and peers at the AGU 2017 Fall Meeting in New Orleans, Louisiana.

PSC members join their colleagues and peers at the AGU Fall Meeting 2018 in Washington DC. 

Trending:  The article, Loitering of the retreating sea ice edge in the Arctic Seas, in JGR Oceans, is one of the most accessed in the past 3 months. Congrats to the authors; PSC’s Mike Steele and Wendy Ermold!

April 1, 2019 – TODAY Show host, Al Roker, traveled to Utqiagvik, Alaska to report on climate change. Al talks with PSC’s Ignatius Rigor about his research and the technology being used to gather data.

Albedyll, L.v., Hendricks, S., Grodofzig, R., Krumpen, T., Arndt, S., Belter, H.J., Birnbaum, G., Cheng, B., Hoppmann, M., Hutchings, J., Itkin, P., Lei, R., Nicolaus, M., Ricker, R., Rohde, J., Suhrhoff, M., Timofeeva, A., Watkins, D., Webster, M., & C. Haas (2022), Thermodynamic and dynamic contributions to seasonal Arctic sea ice thickness distributions from airborne observations, Elementa: Sci. of the Anthro. 10, doi:10.1525/elementa.2021.00074.

Alkire, M.B., J. Morison, A. Schweiger, J. Zhang, M. Steele, C. Peralta-Ferriz, and S. Dickinson, A meteoric water budget for the Arctic Ocean, Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans, 122, doi:10.1002/2017JC012807, 2017.

UW Today highlights the latest article, by PSC’s Harry Stern and Kristin Laidre, published in The Cryosphere. Other media sources reporting the study are The Seattle TimesScience DailyThe Washington PostMashable, and

Roger Andersen

Senior Mathematician

NASA climate scientists report that Antarctica has gained ice in the form of snow accumulation. This study was recently published in the Journal of Glaciology and reporters have sought comments from their peers at the Polar Science Center.

Results of a recent long-term and large-scale simulation of the collapse of the Western Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) show that the destabilization of the entire ice sheet would be irreversible if current conditions don’t change by 2075.

Science Daily reports on a study recently published in Geophysical Research Letters where satellite measurements assessed glacier flow in the Antarctic Peninsula. PSC’s Ian Joughin was part of an international team of researchers, led by the UK Centre for Polar Observation and Modelling at the University of Leeds, and is one of the co-authors.

Naturally produced brominated organic compounds are ubiquitous in the oceans and are thought to be largely responsible for the formation of the Antarctic “ozone hole” in Spring. In order to accurately model and forecast global ozone and the climate, it is critical to include reactive bromine and brominated organic compounds (bromocarbons). However, bromocarbon measurements for the Antarctic are limited, especially during Spring.

Kristin Laidre presented the fourth seminar in the APL-UW 75th Anniversary series, “The Polar Science Center From Ice Dynamics to Polar Bears.” 

An Arctic research expedition faces a carefully orchestrated crew change. Members reflect on how they feel about emerging from the ship into a pandemic, or from social isolation into close quarters.

Sea ice in the Arctic appears to have hit its annual maximum extent after growing through the fall and winter. The 2019 wintertime extent reached on March 13 ties with 2007’s as the 7th smallest extent of winter sea ice in the satellite record, according to scientists at the NASA-supported National Snow and Ice Data Center and NASA.

Eurasia Review reports on the results of the lengthy study of beluga whale migration led by PSC and published in the journal Global Change Biology. The news post includes previous comments by some of the authors, Donna Hauser and Kate Stafford.

In mid-September Arctic sea ice reaches its minimum extent and volume. There are annual fluctuations — 2012 was a record low for both measures — but reports of a recent ‘rebound’ are short-sighted. Axel Schweiger explains why the downward long-term trend is clear.

The University of Washington news produced a video with the Polar Science Center highlighting a six-year study of Beluga whale populations. Donna HauserKristin Laidre, and Harry Stern participated from PSC.

The region, which could provide a last refuge for polar bears and other Arctic wildlife that depends on ice, is not as stable as previously thought, according to a new study.

Armour K.C., Marshall, J., Scott, J., Donohoe, A., and Newsom, E.R.  (2016) Southern Ocean warming delayed by circumpolar upwelling and equatorward transport, Nature Geoscience, 9, 549–554, doi: 10.1038/ngeo2731

Armour, K.C., N. Siler, A. Donohoe, and G.H. Roe, 2019: Meridional Atmospheric Heat Transport Constrained by Energetics and Mediated by Large-Scale Diffusion. J. Climate, 32, 3655–3680,

Avoiding slush for hot-point drilling of glacier boreholesHill’s, B.H., D.P. Winebrenner, W.T. Elam, and P.M.S. Kintner, “Avoiding slush for hot-point drilling of glacier boreholes,” Ann. Glaciol., 62, 166-170, doi:10.1017/a0g.2020.70, 2021.Water-filled boreholes in cold ice refreeze in hours to days, and prior attempts to keep them open with antifreeze resulted in a plug of slush effectively freezing the hole even faster. Thus, antifreeze as a method to stabilize hot-water boreholes has largely been abandoned. In the hot-point drilling case, no external water is added to the hole during drilling, so earlier antifreeze injection is possible while the drill continues melting downward.…

Banas, N. S., J. Zhang, R. G. Campbell, R. N. Sambrotto, M. W. Lomas, E. Sherr, B. Sherr, C. Ashjian, D. Stoecker, and E. J. Lessard, Spring plankton dynamics in the Eastern Bering Sea, 1971-2050: Mechanisms of interannual variability diagnosed with a numerical model, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 121, doi:10.1002/2015JC011449, 2016.

Banzon, V., T.M. Smith, M. Steele, B. Huang, and H. Zhang, Improved Estimation of Proxy Sea Surface Temperature in the Arctic. J. Atmos. Oceanic Technol., 37, 341–349, doi:10.1175/JTECH-D-19-0177.1, 2020.

Beamer, J. P., D. F. Hill, A. Arendt, and G. E. Liston (2016), High-resolution modeling of coastal freshwater discharge and glacier mass balance in the Gulf of Alaska watershed, Water Resour. Res., 52, 3888–3909, doi:10.1002/2015WR018457.

Belter, J., Krumpen, T., von Albedyll, L., Alekseeva, T., Frolov, S., Hendricks, S., Herber, A., Polyakov, I., Raphael, I., Ricker, R., Serovetnikov, S., Webster, M., & C. Haas (2021), Interannual variability in Transpolar Drift summer sea ice thickness and potential impact of Atlantification, The Cryosphere. doi:10.5194/tc-15-2575-2021.

PSC’s Kristin Laidre lends her expertise to a CBC News story of a juvenile narwhal adopted by a pod of Beluga whales in the St. Lawrence River.

Donna Hauser participated in the analysis of beluga whales in the western Beaufort Sea. Temporally and spatially diverse data sets which included aerial survey, passive acoustic, and satellite tracking data were synthesized to gain baseline information and a more holistic understanding of beluga distribution. Read about the project published in Deep Sea Research.

The news source International Business Times, out of the UK, reports on findings recently published in Global Change Biology of a decades-long research study involving Beluga whales. Donna HauserKristin Laidre, Harry Stern and colleagues examined changes in autumn migration timing of Beluga whale populations since the 1990s.

Bhatt, U. S., D. A. Walker, M. K. Raynolds, P. A. Bieniek, H. E. Epstein, J. C. Comiso, J. E. Pinzon, C. J. Tucker, M. Steele, W. Ermold, and J. Zhang, Changing seasonality of panarctic tundra vegetation in relationship to climatic variables, Environ. Res. Lett., 12(5), doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aa6b0b, 2017.

Bi, H., J. Zhang, Y. Wang, Z. Zhang, Y. Zhang, M. Fu, H. Huang, and X. Xu, Arctic Sea Ice Volume Changes in Terms of Age as Revealed From Satellite Observations, IEEE Geoscience & Remote Sensing Society, DOI: 10.1109/JSTARS.2018.2823735, 2018.

Bieniek, P., U. Bhatt, D. Walker, M. Raynolds, J. Comiso, H. Epstein, J. Pinzon, C. Tucker, R. Thoman, H. Tran, N. Mölders, M. Steele, J. Zhang, and W. Ermold, The role of climate drivers in the seasonality of Alaska coastal tundra vegetation change, Earth Interactions, 19, doi:10.1175/EI-D-15-0013.1, 2015.

Bieniek, P.A., U.S. Bhatt, D.A. Walker, M.K. Raynolds, J.C. Comiso, H.E. Epstein, J.E. Pinzon, C.J. Tucker, R.L. Thoman, H. Tran, N. Mölders, M. Steele, J. Zhang, and W. Ermold, Climate drivers linked to changing seasonality of Alaska coastal tundra vegetation productivity. Earth Interactions, 19, No. 19, 2015.

This project devises low-temperature liquid-water environments mimicking the known chemistry of brines. The research team measures microbial growth rate, metabolic activity, ability to survive while inactive, and longevity for psychrophiles to reveal proteomic biosignatures for growth, activity, and survival strategies, and understand key molecular responses of life in these environments.

Taryn Black

Research Assistant

Blanchard-Wrigglesworth, E., R. I. Cullather, W. Wang, J. Zhang, and C. M. Bitz, Model forecast skill and sensitivity to initial conditions in the seasonal Sea Ice Outlook, Geophys. Res. Lett., 42, 8042-8048, doi:10.1002/2015GL0658, 2015.

Blanchard-Wrigglesworth, E., Webster, M., Farrell, S. L., & C. Bitz (2018), Reconstruction of snow on Arctic sea ice, J. Geophys. Res., 123 (5): 3588-3602, doi:10.1002/2017jcc013364. 

Blanchard-Wrigglesworth, E., Webster, M., Boisvert, L., Parker, C., & C. Horvat (in press), Record low SLP Arctic cyclone of January 2022: characteristics, impacts, and predictability, J. Geophys. Res. Atmos., 127, doi:10.1029/2022JD037161, 2022.

Bliss, A. C., M. Steele, G. Peng, W. N. Meier, and S. Dickinson, Regional variability of Arctic sea ice seasonal change climate indicators from a passive microwave climate data record, Environ. Res. Lett., 14, doi:10.1088/1748-9326/aafb84, 2019.