Mark Serreze photo portrait
Research Professor of Geography • Arctic climate; global implications; and climate warming in the Arctic • Director of NSIDC • Fellow of CIRES • Ph.D. University of Colorado at Boulder, 1989
Physical Geography
303-492-2963, RL2 203

Research Interests

Mark C. Serreze is the Director of the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), part of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES). While his research has encompassed all aspects of our planet's cryosphere - ie snow and ice cover - he has a long standing love of the Arctic. Interests include atmosphere-sea ice interactions, synoptic climatology, boundary layer problems, and climate change. He has conducted field work in the Canadian Arctic on sea ice and icecaps, and on the Alaskan tundra. Efforts over the past ten years have increasingly focused on trying to make sense of the rapid environmental changes being observed in the Arctic.

What's New

Arctic sea ice reflects sunlight, keeping the Arctic cool and moderating global climate. Arctic sea ice has declined dramatically over at least the past thirty years, most strongly in late summer. The extreme seasonal ice extent minima of September 2007 and 2008 serve as exclamation points on the downward trend, fueling concern that rapid transition to a seasonally ice-free Arctic Ocean may be underway. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) ( provides year-round analysis of Arctic sea ice conditions. Rapid processing of satellite data yields near real-time (one day lag) updates of Arctic sea ice extent. During the first week of each month, and more frequently during the summer melt season, NSIDC scientists provide scientific analysis of evolving sea ice conditions and comparisons with previous years.

"What's New" updated February 2009

More Info

I can trace my interest in snow, ice and very cold water to growing up in Maine, where in most winters there is plenty of all three. Many a childhood afternoon was spent daredevil sledding, skating, or foolishly riding ice floes down the Kennebunk River on the outgoing tide. I come from a science family. Grandpa was involved in the early development of radar. Both of my parents became research chemists. My brother is involved in immunology research and my uncle works with lasers and solar cells. Perhaps there is some genetic aberration at work. When not teaching, studying the Earth's cryosphere, or herding the 70 or so programmers, data specialists and scientists at the National Snow and Ice Data Center, I enjoy golf, gardening, playing the piano and fly fishing.

Recent Courses Include

Selected Publications

Serreze, M.C., A.P. Barrett, J.C. Stroeve, D.N. Kindig and M.M. Holland. (2009). The emergence of surface-based Arctic amplification. The Cryosphere, 3, 11-19.

Serreze.,M.C. and A.P. Barrett. (2008). The summer cyclone maximum over the central Arctic Ocean. J. Climate, 21, 1048-1065.

Serreze, M.C., A.P. Barrett, A.G. Slater, M. Steele, J. Zhang and K.E. Trenberth. (2007). The large-scale energy budget of the Arctic. J. Geophys. Res., 112, D11122. doi:10.1029/2006JD008230

Serreze, M.C., M.M. Holland and J. Stroeve. (2007). Perspectives on the Arctic's rapidly shrinking sea-ice cover. Science, 315, 1533-1536.

Serreze, M.C., A.P. Barrett, A.G. Slater, R.A. Woodgate, K. Aagaard, R.B. Lammers, M. Steele, R. Moritz, M. Meredith and C.M. Lee. (2006). The large-scale freshwater cycle of the Arctic. J. Geophys. Res., 111, C11010. doi:10.1029/2005JC003424

Publications updated February 2009