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Earth and Space Sciences Faculty

Portrait Photo

Eric J. Steig
Professor, Earth & Space Sci.
Founding co-Director, Δ*IsoLab
Adjunct Prof., Atmospheric Sciences

Office: Johnson Hall 351   
Phone: 206-685-3715
Fax: 206-543-3836 (shared)
Δ*IsoLab: 206-543-6327

  • New paper on what happens to climate as a result (rather than a cause) of the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet:
    Steig, Huybers, Singh, et al., 2015, in Geophysical Research Letters.

  • Our lastest WAIS Divide ice core paper, Precise interpolar phasing of abrupt climate change during the last ice age, in Nature. Data are available via doi:10.7265/N5GT5K41.

  • First season of drilling a new South Pole ice core ended in January 2015 at 736 m -- 36 m past our original goal. SPicecore.org
  • Areas of Interest:
    Stable isotopes, glaciology, climatology

    Department Affiliations
    Glaciology , Stable Isotope Lab (IsoLab)

    Other UW Academic Affiliations:
    Quaternary Research Center, Program on Climate Change, Atmospheric Sciences, Future of Ice Initiative.

    Background & Current Research:
    Eric Steig completed his PhD in Geological Sciences at UW in 1995, was Research Associate at the University of Colorado and Assistant Professor at the University of Pennsylvania before returning to UW in 2001. He directed the Quaternary Research Center from 2008-2013 and launched the current Future of Ice Initiative. He is the founding co-director of ISOLAB, a multi-investigator, 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. The major focus in the last ten years has been the analysis of ice cores from Antarctica, including the ITASE spatial array of shallow cores, the recently-completed WAIS Divide deep core, and the South Pole ice core. Results from these projects have included new discoveries about both past and current climate change and glacier change in Antarctica. He has also led ice core projects in Greenland and in alpine British Colubmia. He has worked on the development of novel methods for measuring nitrogen isotope concentrations in atmospheric "odd-N" species (HNO3, NO2, NO), and the Δ17O oxygen isotope anomaly in H2O. Research support is from the U.S. National Science Foundation, NOAA, and foundations including the Leverhulme Trust.

    Steig 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 has been a long-serving 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. He is active in public education, and has given lectures to international organizations such as the Nature Conservancy and the Arctic Circle. He contributes annually to the Pacific Science Center's Polar Science Weekend, led by the UW's Applied Physics Lab. 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 Papers

    Complete list of publications at Google Scholar.

    Journal names are hyperlinks to the papers.

    Steig EJ, Huybers K, Singh HA, Ding Q, Frierson DMW, Popp T, White JWC. Influence of West Antarctic Ice Sheet collapse on Antarctic surface climate. , in press (doi:10.1002/2015GL063861 ).

    WAIS Divide Project Members, Precise interpolar phasing of abrupt climate change during the last ice age. Nature 520: 661-665 (2015).

    Buizert C, Cuffey KM, Severinghaus JP, Baggenstos D, Fudge TJ, Steig EJ, Markle BR, Winstrup M, Rhodes RH, Brook EJ, Sowers TA, Clow GD, Cheng H, Edwards RL, Sigl M, McConnell JR, Taylor KC. The WAIS Divide deep ice core WD2014 chronology – Part 1: Methane synchronization (68–31 ka BP) and the gas age-ice age difference. Climate of the Past 11: 153-173 (2015).

    Casey KA, Fudge TJ, Neumann TA, Steig EJ, Cavitte MGP, Blankenship DD. The 1500 m South Pole ice core: recovering a 40 ka environmental record. Annals of Glaciology 55(68): 137-146 (2014).

    Steig EJ, Gkinis V, Schauer AJ, Schoenemann SW, Samek K, Hoffnagle J, Dennis KJ, Tan SM. Calibrated high-precision 17O-excess measurements using cavity ring-down spectroscopy with laser-current-tuned cavity resonance. Atmospheric Measurement Techniques, 7: 2421-2435 (2014).

    Marcott SA, Bauska TK, Buizert C, Steig EJ, Rosen JL, Cuffey KM, Fudget TJ, Severinghaus JP, Ahn J, Kalk ML, McConnell JR, Sowers T, Taylor KC, White JWC, Brook EJ. Centennial-scale changes in the glboal carbon cycle during the last deglaciation. Nature 514: 616-619 (2014). A

    Dutrieux P, de Rydt J, Jenkins A, Holland PR, Ha HK, Lee SH, Steig EJ, Ding Q, Abrahamsen EP, Schröder M. Strong sensitivity of Pine Island Ice shelf melting to climatic variability. Science, 343: 174-178 (2014).

    Steiger N, Hakim G, Steig EJ, Battisti DS, Roe G. Assimilation of time-averaged pseudoproxies for climate reconstruction. Journal of Climate 27: 426-441 (2014).

    WAIS Divide Project Members. Onset of deglacial warming in West Antarctica driven by local orbital forcing. Nature, 500: 440-444 (2013).

    Ding Q, Wallace JW, Battisti DS, Steig EJ, Gallant AJE, Kim HJ, Geng L. Tropical forcing of the recent rapid Arctic warming in northeastern Canada and Greenland. Nature, 509, 209-212 (2014).

    Steig EJ, Ding Q, White JCW, Küttel M, Rupper SB, Neumann TA, Neff P, Gallant A, Mayewski PA, Taylor DC, Hoffmann G, Dixon DA, Schoenemann S, Markle B, Schneider DP, Fudge TJ, Schauer AJ, Teel RP, Vaughn B, Burgener L, Williams J, Korotkikh E. Recent climate and ice-sheet change in West Antarctica compared to the past 2000 years. Nature Geoscience 6: 372-375 (2013).

    Schoenemann SW, Schauer AJ, Steig EJ. Measurement of SLAP2 and GISP δ17O and proposed VSMOW-SLAP normalization for δ17O and 17Oexcess.Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometery 27: 582-590 (2013).

    Neff PD, Steig EJ, Clark DH, McConnell JR, Pettit EC, Menounos B. Ice-core records of net snow accumulation and seasonal snow chemistry at a temperate-glacier site: Mount Waddington, southwest British Columbia, Canada. Journal of Glaciology (PDF) 58: 1165-1175 (2012).

    Ding Q, Steig EJ, Battisti DS, Wallace JM. Influence of the tropics on the Southern Annular Mode. Journal of Climate 25: 6330–63 (2012).

    Perren BB, Wolfe AP, Cooke CA, Funder SV, Kjaer KJ, Mazzuchi D, Steig EJ. 20th Century warming revives the world’s northernmost lake. Geology, 40, 1003-1006 (2012).

    Steig EJ, Ding Q, Battisti DS, Jenkins A. Tropical forcing of circumpolar deep water inflow and outlet glacier thinning in the Amundsen Sea Embayment, West Antarctica. Annals of Glaciology 53: 19-28 (2012).

    Hastings MG, Jarvis JC, Steig EJ. Anthropogenic impacts on nitrogen isotopes of ice-core nitrate. Science 324: 1288 (2009).

    Steig EJ, Schneider DP, Rutherford SD, Mann ME, Comiso JC, Shindell DT. Warming of the Antarctic ice sheet surface since the 1957 International Geophysical Year. Nature 457: 459-462 (2009).

    Last Modified:February, 2015

    Earth and Space Sciences

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