A Tale of Ice, Warm Water, and the Future: A Conversation with Dr. Fiamma Straneo

Thursday, October 19, 6:30 p.m. – In person and via live stream

Dr. Fiamma Straneo
Dr. Fiamma Straneo MIT Professor Dr. Fiamma Straneo on a field expedition to Greenland. CREDIT: Kerim Nisancioglu (U Bergen, NO)

WHAT: In the early 2000s, glaciers in Greenland started melting faster than expected, which led to a rise in sea level. Attention turned to the ocean: Could it be that the glaciers in this iceberg-infested, remote, and dangerous place were responding to ocean warming? To find the answer, a team assembled to explore where Greenland’s glaciers flow into the ocean.

The New England Aquarium Lecture Series and the Lorenz Center of the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences at MIT present the John H. Carlson Lecture featuring Dr. Fiamma Straneo. Dr. Straneo, a professor of oceans and climate and co-director of the Scripps Polar Center at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego (UCSD), will share the story of a novel investigation that utilized robots, icebreakers, helicopters, seals, and detective skills to confirm a warming ocean’s impacts on an ice sheet. It’s a fascinating account of the people—oceanographers, glaciologists, climate scientists, engineers, technicians, vessel operators, and local experts—who worked together to make this discovery possible.

WHEN: Thursday, October 19 at 6:30 p.m. All are invited to arrive early to explore exhibits by MIT students and climate scientists in the Simons Theatre lobby. Doors open at 5:30 p.m.

WHERE: The free lecture is open to the public and can be attended in person at the Aquarium’s Simons Theatre or via live stream. Registration link here.

WHO: Dr. Fiamma Straneo is a professor of oceans and climate and co-director of the Scripps Polar Center at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UCSD. Prior to joining UCSD, she worked as a scientist at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Her research focuses on the high latitude North Atlantic and Arctic Oceans and their interaction with the atmosphere, sea ice, and the Greenland Ice Sheet.

Dr. Straneo has led over 20 field expeditions to the Arctic and Greenland. She recently chaired the Ocean Forcing Working Group for the Ice Sheet Modeling Intercomparison Project for the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change and is contributing author for the same report. Dr. Straneo’s awards and fellowships include the Leopold Leadership Program from Stanford University’s Woods Institute for the Environment, the Sverdrup Award from the American Geophysical Union, the Keeling Lecture at UCSD, the Walker-Ames Fellowship at the University of Washington, and an Honorary Ph.D. from the University of Bergen, Norway. Dr. Straneo earned a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography from the University of Washington, following a Laurea cum laude in Physics from the University of Milan, Italy.

HOW: Register here for the free lecture. Advance registration is required. The New England Aquarium Lecture Series is presented free to the public through the generosity of the Lowell Institute.

SPECIAL NOTE: Free of charge and open to the public, this lecture is made possible by a generous gift from MIT alumnus John H. Carlson to the Lorenz Center in the Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, MIT, and is presented in partnership with the New England Aquarium and the Lowell Institute.

MEDIA CONTACT: Pam Bechtold Snyder,; 617-686-5068