Fiamma Straneo’s research focuses on the climate of the polar regions including how changes in the polar regions impact, and are impacted by, those occurring at lower latitudes. Much of her recent work has focused on understanding the causes behind the recent ice loss from the Greenland Ice Sheet, whose magnitude has quadrupled in just two decades. These changes were not predicted by climate models raising serious concerns for our ability to predict future sea level rise – perhaps one of the most dramatic consequences of climate change on global societies.
To understand ongoing changes in Greenland, Straneo has pioneered the collection of oceanic, atmospheric and glaciological data at the margins of Greenland’s glaciers and in the subpolar North Atlantic, in general. She has led over 15 field expeditions to the polar regions which have employed a wide range of platforms including research vessels, local vessels, helicopters, snowmobiles and autonomous underwater and surface vehicles. Her research has shown that warm Gulf Stream waters reach the margins of Greenland’s glaciers and drive melting – highlighting a new and important wiring of our climate system. Straneo is also committed to advancing scientific understanding of the polar regions by fostering interaction amongst the different disciplines involved. She is chair of the Greenland Ice Sheet/Ocean Science Network (GRISO), was co-chair of Climate and Cryosphere Project of the World Climate Research Program from 2018-2022, and she recently led the Ocean Forcing Working Group for the Ice Sheet Modeling Intercomparison Project of the AR6 IPCC. Her work has been featured in a variety of media outlets including the New York Times, NPR, the Guardian and others. Straneo’s awards and fellowships include the Leopold Leadership Program from Stanford’s Woods Institute for the Environment (2013), the Sverdrup Award by the American Geophysical Union (2016), the Keeling Lecture (UCSD, 2018), the Walker-Ames Fellowship (UW, 2021), a Honorary PhD from the University of Bergen, NO (2022), and the Carlson Lecture from MIT (2023).
(Updated October 2023)