Stephen Howell

Research Scientist - Sea Ice and Climate Interaction

Current research and/or projects

Develop new knowledge on the state, variability, and change in the cryosphere, including the role in the climate system.

  • Sea ice of the Canadian Arctic
  • Sea ice dynamics and thermodynamics
  • Arctic climatology and climate change
  • Remote sensing of ice and snow

Professional activities / interests

Collaborator, “Improved retrievals of snow depth on sea ice and snow water equivalent over land for numerical prediction applications, ” Canadian Space Agency – Government Related Initiatives Program

Collaborator, “The Canadian Sea Ice and Snow Evolution (CanSISE),” NSERC Climate Change and Atmospheric Research (CCAR) Program

PI, "Retrieval of sea ice parameters from time series PALSAR-2 imagery using geophysical inversion," JAXA

PI, "Ice, Cloud, and land Elevation Satellite-2 (ICESat-2) Early Adopter Program," NASA

Education and awards

Visiting Fellow, Climate Research Division, Environment Canada, 2009-2012

NSERC Post-Doctoral Fellow, University of Waterloo, 2007-2009

Ph.D. Geography, University of Calgary, 2007

B.Sc. (Hons) Geography, York University, 2000

Key publications

Howell, S. E. L., C. Derksen, L. Pizzolato, and M. Brady (2015), Multiyear ice replenishment in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: 1997–2013, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 120, doi:10.1002/2015JC010696.

Pizzolato, L., S.E.L. Howell, C. Derksen, J. Dawson, and L. Copland (2014), Changing sea ice conditions and marine transportation activity in Canadian Arctic waters between 1990 and 2012, Climatic Change, 123(2), 161-173. doi: 10.1007/s10584-013-1038-3.

Mortin, J., S.E.L. Howell, L. Wang, C. Derksen, G. Svensson, R. G. Graversen, and T. M. Schrøder (2014), Extending the QuikSCAT record of seasonal melt–freeze transitions over Arctic sea ice using ASCAT, Remote Sensing of Environment, 141, 214-230, doi:10.1016/j.rse.2013.11.004.

Howell, S. E. L., T. Wohlleben, M. Dabboor, C. Derksen, A. Komarov, and L. Pizzolato (2013). Recent changes in the exchange of sea ice between the Arctic Ocean and the Canadian Arctic Archipelago, J. Geophys. Res. Oceans, 118, doi:10.1002/jgrc.20265.

Howell, S. E. L., T. Wohlleben, A. Komarov, L. Pizzolato and C. Derksen (2013). Recent extreme light sea ice years in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: 2011 and 2012 eclipse 1998 and 2007, The Cryosphere, 7, 1753-1768, doi:10.5194/tc-7-1753-2013.

Tivy, A., S.E.L. Howell, B. Alt, S. McCourt, G. Crocker, T. Carrieres and J.J. Yackel (2011). Trends and variability in summer sea ice cover in the Canadian Arctic based on the Canadian Ice Service Digital Archive, 1960-2008 and 1968-2008. Journal of Geophysical Research-Oceans, Vol.116, C03007, doi:10.1029/2009JC005855

Howell, S.E.L., C.R. Duguay, and T. Markus (2009). Sea ice conditions and melt season duration variability in the Canadian Arctic Archipelago: 1979-2008, Geophysical Research Letters. 36, L10502, doi:10.1029/2009GL037681.

Research facility

4905 Dufferin Street
Toronto, ON M3H 5T4


Adjunct Professor, University of Ottawa, Department of Geography

Adjunct Professor, University of Waterloo, Department of Geography and Environmental Management