Dr. Stephen Wolfe

Research Scientist

Dr. Wolfe is a research scientist with expertise in the areas of permafrost and eolian geomorphology.

Current research and/or projects

Dr. Wolfe leads a Geological Survey of Canada project on Northern land-based infrastructure risks to climate change, and transportation risk in the Arctic to climatic sensitivity.

Research and/or project statements

- Landscape risks to northern transportation infrastructure

- Detecting present and historical change in permafrost and landscape conditions

- Permafrost-ecological relations within “warm” discontinuous permafrost

- Relations between ground ice and geomorphic processes

 - Late Holocene geomorphic history of the Great Slave Lake region

Professional activities / interests

- Adjunct professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Studies, Carleton University

- Participation in national and international societies, journal and funding review boards

- Canadian contributor to international programs on sands seas and drylands 

- Expert reviewer of Environmental Impacts Statements

Education and awards

B.Sc. (Hons.) Geography, Carleton University, 1986

M.Sc. Geology, Queen’s University, 1989

Ph.D. (Distinction) Geography, University of Guelph, 1993


Terrain Sciences Merit Award, 1998

Ross Mackay Award, Canadian Geomorphology Research Group, 2004

Earth Science Sector (ESS) Merit Award for Outstanding Contribution, 2004

Earth Science Sector (ESS) Merit Award for Exceptional Achievement, 2007

Certificate of Appreciation. Department of Geography, Carleton University, 2007,-11,-12

Charles Bessey Award, best natural science article in Great Plains Research, 2007

Government of Canada, 15 years, Long Service Award, 2011

Farouk-El Baz Award in Desert studies, Nomination, Geological Society of America, 2012

Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography, University of Guelph, 1999- 2002

Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography, University of Victoria, 2003-2009

Adjunct Professor, Department of Geography and Environmental Science, Carleton University, 2003-present

Key publications

S.A. Wolfe, P.D. Morse. In Press. Liithalsa Formation and Holocene Lake-Level Recession, Great Slave Lowland, Northwest Territories. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes.

A.F. Halfen, N. Lancaster, S.A. Wolfe. In Press Interpretations and common challenges of aeolian records from North American dune fields.  Quaternary International

P.D. Morse, S.A. Wolfe, S.V. Kokelj, A.JR. Gaanderse, A.J.R. 2016 The Occurrence and Thermal Disequilibrium State of Permafrost in Forest Ecotopes of the Great Slave Region, Northwest Territories, Canada. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, 27 (2), pp. 145-162.

  1. Zhang, S.A. Wolfe, P.D. Morse, I. Olthof, R.H. Fraser. 2015. Spatiotemporal impacts of wildfire and climate warming on permafrost across a subarctic region, Canada. Geophysical Research F: Earth Surface 120 (11), pp. 2338-2356.


  S.A.Wolfe, C.W. Stevens, A.Gaanderse, G. Oldenborger. 2014. Lithalsa distribution, morphology and landscape associations in the Great Slave Lowland, Northwest Territories, Canada. Geomorphology.

S.A.Wolfe, C.H. Hugenholtz, O.B. Lian. 2013. Palliser’s Triangle: reconstructing the “central desert” of the southwestern Canadian prairies during the late 1850s. The Holocene. V. 23, 669-707.

C.W. Stevens and S.A.Wolfe. 2012. High-resolution Mapping of Wet Terrain in Permafrost Environments Using LiDAR Intensity. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, v. 23, 334-341.

S.A. Wolfe. 2013. Aeolian Environments: Cold-Climate Aeolian Environments. In Aeolian Geomorphology, volume in the Treatise on Geomorphology, Elsevier Publishing

S.A.Wolfe, J. Bond and M. Lamothe. 2010. Dune stabilization in central and southern Yukon in relation to early Holocene environmental changes, northwestern North America. Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 30, 324-334.

  1. St George and S.A. Wolfe. 2009. El Nino stills winter winds across the southern Canadian Prairies. Geophysical Research Letters, v. 36, L23806.

S.A. Wolfe and C.H. Hugenholtz. 2009. Barchan dunes stabilized under recent climate warming on the northern Great Plains. Geology, v. 37, p. 1039-1042.

Research facility

601 Booth St.
Ottawa, ON K1A 0G1


Canadian Association of Geographers (member 2007-2012)

Canadian Geomorphology Research Group (1996-present; former President)

Canadian Geophysical Union (member 2008)

Canadian Quaternary Association (member 2001-2009)

Geological Association of Canada (member 2009-present)

Geological Society of America (member 1998-present; former Panel member)

International Society for Aeolian Research (founding member 2008)