Sturm is responsible for conducting wide-ranging geophysical
studies on snow in high latitudes. His work has taken him from the
Antarctic to the Arctic, and he has been the leader of more than 30
expeditions in winter in pursuit of his science. He is based at the Alaska
Office in Fairbanks, but collaborates with a wide range of scientists both
at CRREL and elsewhere. His most recent work focuses on the role of snow
cover on climate, with particular attention to snow ecology, and climate
change resulting from snow-vegetation interactions.
Areas of Specialization
- Snow cover
- Its thermal effects
- Its effect on the environment, with particular emphasis on polar
and subpolar snow covers
- Spatial distribution of snow covers and ramifications of that
distribution on heat and mass transfer
- Snow and Vegetation
- Project Director of a National Science Foundation-sponsored project
investigating the interactions of snow, shrubs, and weather in the
- Principle Investigator on a NASA-sponsored project examing snow and
- Project Leader investigating snow, sea ice leads, and mercury.
Notable Contributions or Highlights from Past Projects
- Detection of convection in snow covers.
- Extensive measurements of the thermal properties of snow covers.
- Development of a rational world-wide classification system for
seasonal snow covers.
- Detailed studies of the spatial variability of snow covers on both
land and ice .
- First direct measurements of the thermal conductivity of snow on
Arctic sea ice.
- Detection of increasing shrub density in Arctic Alaska .
- Developed a snow-soil-shrub feedback hypothesis for land surface
- B.S., Geology, New Mexico Tech, 1980
- M.S., Geophysics, University of Alaska, 1983
- Ph.D., Geophysics, University of Alaska, 1989
Other Professional Information
- Memberships/Professional Organizations:
- Board Member, Science Steering Committee, INSTAAR
- Board Member, Science Steering Committee, IARC
- Board Member, Arctic Institute of North America
- Co-Chair, SNOW Research
Community of Practice
- Past Co-Chief Editor, Journal of Glaciology
- Adjunct Professor in the Geology Department, University of Alaska
- Chair, Land-Atmosphere Ice Interactions Science Steering
- Member, American Geophysical Union, Arctic Institute of North
Led two 1200km over-snow traverse from Nome to
Barrow, Alaska (SnowSTAR-2002 and 2004).
In the winter of 1983-1984, Matthew participated in
a glaciological expedition to the large ice streams of Antarctica.
Matthew developed a science curriculum for
grammar-school children based on experiments on snow .
Matthew holds two patents for devices designed to
measure snow properties efficently.
Dr. Matthew Sturm
Ft. Wainwright, Alaska 99703-0170
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