Stephanie Pfirman

Adjunct Senior Research Scientist
Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
Marine Geology and Geophysics
Environmental Science Barnard College
Hirschorn Professor and Chair
Environmental Science Barnard College
pfirman.jpg
109D Oceanography
61 ROute 9W - PO Box 1000
Palisades
NY
10964-8000
US
Phone: 
(845) 365-8475
Fax: 
(845) 365-8156
Fields of interest: 
Role of sea ice in the redistribution of sediments and pollutants in the Arctic

In 1894, Fridjof Nansen, a Norwegian scientist, was surprised to see on an expedition that Arctic sea ice wasn't always white and pristine, but was often discolored by dust and mud. He vowed to return one day to discover where the sediment was coming from. But Nansen never did return, and 100 years later I became intrigued by the same question when I saw the wide expanses of "dirty" ice in the Arctic. As a result, my main research interest is determining the role of sea ice - a transport mechanism unique to the Arctic - in the redistribution of sediments and pollutants in the Arctic. When I sample a floe for sediment or pollutant load, I want to know where it came from, what's happened to it since the ice first formed and where the ice is going to melt and release its incorporated materials.

I am developing and using a variety of methods to find answers to these questions. In a broader view, an unusual combination of environmental conditions in the Arctic exacerbates climate change, ozone depletion and deposition of pollutants. DDT and heavy metals from regions far to the south accumulate in the Arctic marine food chain. I am interested in finding out how warming in the Arctic could affect the pathways and fate of contaminants.

Education
List of degrees from highest to lowest:
Ph.D.
MIT
1985
Bachelor of Arts
Colgate
1978
Referenced in the Following News Items: