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Earth and Space Sciences Faculty

Portrait Photo

Eric J. Steig
Director, Quaternary Research Center

Office: Johnson Hall 351   
Phone: 206-685-3715
Fax: 206-543-3836 (shared)
E-Mail: steig*
* = @ess . washington . edu
Lab: 206-543-6327 Web Page: ISOLAB

Look for our upcoming paper in Nature on Antarctic temperatures over the last 50 years.


Congratulations to Joe Flaherty, who defended his Masters on "Interannual variability of deuterium excess in Antarctic precipitation" on December 11th, 2008.

Congratulations to Shelley Kunasek, who passed her general exam on October 27th, 2008. Look for Shelley's paper on the first measurements of the seasonal cycle of Δ17O of nitrate in Greenland snow in an upcoming issue of Journal of Geophysical Research PDF.

Look for our paper on the imprint of El Niño in Antarctica in the August 2008 Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. NCAR Press Release, here.

Congratulations to Julia Jarvis, who passed her PHD exam on August 14th, 2008. Look for Julia's paper on modeling of nitrogen and oxygen isotopes in atmosphere and snow nitrate (Geophysical Research Letters (abstract))

Congratulations to Lora Koenig, who passed her PHD exam on June 13th, 2008, and has just accepted a job with NASA's Cryospheric Sciences Branch.

Areas of Interest:
Stable isotopes, glaciology, climatology

Research Groups:
Analytical Geochemistry
, Glaciology , Climate and Paleoclimate

Other UW Academic Affiliations:
Quaternary Research Center, Program on Climate Change

Background & Current Research:
Professor Eric Steig completed his PhD in Geological Sciences at UW in 1995, was research assistant professor at the University of Colorado from 1996-1998 and Assistant Professor at at the University of Pennsylvania before returning to UW in 2001. Along with Roger Buick in ESS, Becky Alexander in Atmospheric Sciences, and Peter Ward in Biology/ESS, he directs the ISOLAB, a state-of-the art isotope geochemistry facility involving research ranging from climate and atmospheric chemistry to geobiology.

Steig teaches environmental earth science, isotope geochemistry and paleoclimatology at both the graduate and undergraduate levels. With his graduate students, postdocs, and lab staff, he uses various methods to develop time series of past environmental changes as a context for understanding contemporary and possible future change. Current focus areas include temperature and snow accumulation variability in Antarctica, through ice core measurements, satellite remote-sensing; development and application of methods to measure the nitrogen and oxygen isotope concentrations in atmospheric "odd-N" species (HNO3, NO2, NO); and acquisition of ice cores from alpine regions. Research support is from the National Science Foundation's Polar and Atmospheric Sciences Programs, and from the Canadian Foundation for Climate and Atmospheric Sciences (CFCAS).

He has been a contributor to science planning for glaciological and solid-earth geosciences in the polar regions, to international efforts to track pollution in the Arctic, and to archive and sample allocation at the National Ice Core Laboratory. He is a current member of the NSF-funded Ice Core Working Group and the steering committee for the International Partnerships in Ice Coring Sciences (IPICS) initiative. Steig served as Associate Editor (2001-2004) and Senior Editor (2005-2008) of the journal Quaternary Research, and continues as Special Editor for occasional solicted papers of interest. Steig is active in public education, and has given lectures to organizations such as the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve on the Washington State coast, and the Nature Conservancy. He is a founding member and contributor to the influential climate science web site, "RealClimate.org"

More information on Steig's research is available at the lab web pages and the research group web pages listed above. Check the "Dissertations" page to find out about our former students, and what they are doing now at NCAR, NASA, and unversities around the world.

Selected Recent Publications:
Complete publication list available upon request.

Kunasek SA, Alexander B, Steig EJ, Hastings MG, Gleason DJ, Jarvis JC. Measurements and modeling of Δ17O of nitrate in a snowpit from Summit, Greenland. Journal of Geophysical Research, in press.

Jarvis JC, Steig EJ, Hastings MG, Kunasek SA. The influence of local photochemistry on isotopes of nitrate in Greenland snow. Geophysical Research Letters 35: L21804, doi:10.1029/2008GL035551 (2008).

Schneider EJ, Steig, DP. Ice cores record significant 1940s Antarctic warmth related to tropical climate variability. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 105: 12154-12158 (2008).

Steig EJ, Wolfe AP. Sprucing up Greenland. Science, 320: 1595-1596 (2008).

Steig, EJ. Alarming or Alarmist? A review of Mark Lynas's "Six Degrees". Conservation Magazine, January, 2008.

Steig, EJ. Climate Lessons A review of Chris Turney's Ice, Mud and Blood. Nature Reports Climate Change Published online: 10 July 2008 | doi:10.1038/climate.2008.71.

Koenig LS, Steig EJ, Winebrenner DP, Shuman CA, A link between microwave extinction length, firn thermal diffusivity and accumulation rate in West Antarctica, Journal of Geophysical Research 2007.

Schneider DP, Steig EJ, van Ommen TD, Dixon DA, Mayewski PA, Jones JM, Bitz CM. Antarctic temperatures over the past two centuries from ice cores. Geophysical Research Letters 33, L16707, doi:10.1029/2006GL02705.

Steig EJ. Climate change: the south-north connection. Nature 444: 152-153 (2006).

Steig EJ, Mayewski PA, Dixon DA, Frey MM, Kaspari SD, Schneider DP, Arcone SA, Hamilton GS, Spikes VB, Albert M, Meese D, Gow AJ, Shuman CA, White JWC, Sneed S, Flaherty J, Wumkes M. High-resolution ice cores from US ITASE (West Antarctica); development and validation of chronologies and estimatation of precision and accuracy. Annals of Glaciology 41: 77-84 (2005).

Hastings MG, Steig EJ, Sigman DM. Seasonal variations in N and O isotopes of nitrate at Summit, Greenland: Implications for the study of nitrate in snow and ice cores. Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres, 109 D20306, doi:10.1029/2004JD004991 (2004).

Jacobel RW, Welch BC, Steig EJ, Schneider DP. Glaciological and climatic significance of Hercules Dome, Antarctica: an optimal site for deep ice core drilling. Journal of Geophysical Research Earth Surface 110: F01015, doi:10.1029/2004JF000188 (2005).

Roe GH & Steig EJ. Characterization of millennial-scale climate variability. Journal of Climate 17: 1929-1944 (2004).

Rupper SB, Steig EJ & Roe GH. On the relationship between snow accumulation at Mt. Logan, Yukon, and climate variability in the North Pacific. Journal of Climate 17(24): 4724-4739 (2004).

Schneider DP, Steig EJ & Comiso J. Recent climate variability in Antarctic from satellite-derived temperature data. Journal of Climate 7:1569-1583 (2004).

Last Modified:May 26th, 2006

Earth and Space Sciences

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