Alexandra (Sandy) Steffen

Image Alexandra Steffen
Physical Scientists - Atmospheric Mercury Specialist

Current research and/or projects

Environmental Processes relating to the transport, transformation and deposition of mercury in and around the atmosphere. Lead for the Canadian Mercury Science Assessment. This assessment is the first comprehensive national description of mercury in the Canadian environment.

  • Designing research to study the processes driving the transformation of mercury in and around the Canadian and Arctic atmosphere
  • Investigating the role that the atmosphere plays in the impact of mercury contamination in Canadian and arctic ecosystems
  • Investigating spatial and temporal trends of atmospheric mercury on a national and regional scale
  • Leading the first Canadian Mercury Science Assessment to produce the first national synthesis of mercury research in all compartments of the environment

Professional activities / interests

Principle investigator for the atmospheric mercury research for the Air Quality Processes Section.

National activities:

  • Principle investigator for atmospheric mercury research for the Northern Contaminants Program, Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada
  • Lead for the Canadian Mercury Science Assessment
  • Lead author on air chapters for the Canadian Mercury Science Assessment and the Canadian Arctic Conatminants Assessment Report on Mercury
  • Designated contributing expert for Canada for the international Arctic Monitoring and ssessment Programme
  • Lead researcher for Air Quality Processes Section oil sands mercury research activites

International Activities:

  • Member of the Scientific Steering Committee for the International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant
  • Scientific and operational advisor to the International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant conference series
  • Member of the United Nations Environmental Program Fate and Transport Partnership Program
  • Scientific advisor for the Global Mercury Observation System global network aimed to assess the effectiveness of the Minimata Convention

Co-chair of the 10th International Conference for Mercury as a Global Pollutant and member of the 9th International Conference on Mercury as a Global Pollutant Steering Committee

Education and awards

PhD Natural Sciences, Leuphana University Luneberg 2013

M.Sc. Environmental Analytical Chemistry, University of Waterloo 1996

B.Sc. Hons. Chemistry, minor Environmental Studies, University of Waterloo

Key publications

Steffen, A., Scherz, T., Olson, M. L., Gay, D. A., and Blanchard, P.: A comparison of data quality control protocols for atmospheric mercury speciation measurements Journal of Environmental Monitoring, 14, 752-765, 10.1039/c2em10735j, 2012.

Fisher, J. A., Jacob, D. J., Soerensen, A. L., Amos, H. M., Steffen, A., and Sunderland, E. M.: Riverine source of Arctic Ocean mercury inferred from atmospheric observations, Nature Geoscience, 5, 499-504, doi:10.1038/ngeo1478, 2012.

Cole, A. S., and Steffen, A.: Trends in long-term gaseous mercury observations in the Arctic and effects of temperature and other atmospheric conditions, Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics, 10, 4661-4672, doi:10.5194/acp-10-4661-2010, 2010.

Steffen, A., T. Douglas, M. Amyot, P. Ariya, K. Aspmo, T. Berg, J. Bottenheim, S. Brooks, F. Cobbett, A. Dastoor, A. Dommergue, R. Ebinghaus, C. Ferrari, K. Gardfeldt, M. E. Goodsite, D. Lean, A. Poulain, C. Scherz, H. Skov, J. Sommar, and C. Temme. 2008. A synthesis of atmospheric mercury depletion event chemistry in the atmosphere and snow. Atmospheric Chemistry and Physics. 8:1445-1482.