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Environmental Tracer Group

Bob Newton: Associate Research Scientist

Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory
61 Route 9W
Palisades, NY 10964

(845) 365-8686


Research Interest

Natural and human processes leave their imprint on the planet in chemical and isotopic signals, which we call “tracers”.  I work mainly with isotopic tracers – ratios of distinct isotopes of oxygen, helium and hydrogen – from the world’s ocean basin.  These ratios help us figure out things like: how long a parcel of water has been isolated from the atmosphere, how much river runoff or sea-ice meltwater the parcel carries, or how much gas from the earth’s core has mixed into it.  Working with circulation models, I use tracer fields to learn more about the large-scale ocean circulation and the ocean’s role in climate.  In particular: I’ve worked on how freshwater from river runoff and melting ice works its way through the Arctic Ocean and out to the North Atlantic, and I’ve mapped the global distribution of helium gas in the world’s major ocean basins to see how the intermediate-depth waters are brought to the ocean surface.   

I came to work in Earth Science out of an interest in the relationship between social processes and the physical environment.  By understanding the mechanics of ocean circulation and the role of the ocean in climate, we can think more clearly about how the climate is evolving under the pressure of human activities.  We can understand the kinds of adaptations that will be required of future generations.  And we can understand the limitations that the planet places on our behavior today. 



Newton, B. and Schlosser, P., 2005.  Freshwater distribution in the Arctic: results from simulation with a high-resolution model and model-data comparison.  In prep.

Newton, B., Tremblay, B., Cane, M., and Schlosser, P., 2005. A simple model of the Arctic Ocean response to annular atmospheric modes.  In revision, J. Geophys. Res.

Schlosser, P., B. Newton, B. Ekwurzel, S. Khatiwala, R. Morlock and R. Fairbanks, Decrease in River Runoff in the Upper Waters of the Eurasian Basin, Arctic Ocean, between 1991 and 1996: Evidence form d1818 Data.  Accepted for publication: Geophys. Res. Letters, 2001.

W. Maslowski, B. Newton, P. Schlosser, A. Semtner and D. Martinson , Modeling recent climate variability in the Arctic Ocean.  Geophys. Res. Letters, 27(22): 3743-3746.


  October 10, 2003