Gregory A. Zielinski, Ph.D.


Lecturer in Earth Systems and Climate Science, Lead Faculty


Ph.D. in Geology
University of Massachusetts Amherst (MA, USA)

B.S. in Earth Science
Pennsylvania State University (PA, USA)


SFS 3601 Earth Systems and Climate Science
(The School for Field Studies)

SFS 4910 Directed Research
(The School for Field Studies)

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Faculty Profile

Greg is an internationally renowned scientist in the study of the climatic impact of volcanic eruptions through the use of ice cores as well as the overall evaluation of the environmental significance of past volcanic eruptions. His teaching and research experience is in the broad discipline of Earth System Science with specific interests in the fields of Paleoclimatology, Meteorology, Geology and Climatology. He has always been active in research that includes field work with programs that have taken him to remote polar sites including Antarctica, Greenland, and the Canadian Arctic and to high alpine sites such as the Himalayas (Nepal) and the Rocky Mountains. Grants he received in support of this research have totaled over $4M.

This research led to the publication of over 60 professional articles in scientific journals, including papers in Nature and Science, and a similar number of professional presentations. The overall multidisciplinary nature of his background is further highlighted by publications in both the Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society (January 2002, cover story) and the Geological Society of America Bulletin along with research programs evaluating the impact of changing climate on glacier, stream and lake systems. In addition, he led or co-led several international commissions on various aspects of climate. He was a featured scientist on several television documentaries related to the impact volcanic eruptions have on climate including shows on PBS (NOVA), History Channel, National Geographic Channel, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet among others. Many international, national and local television and radio stations and newspapers have interviewed him about his research and on general weather and climatic questions. His interest in helping the general public be aware of our changing climate and its impact was exemplified further through his work as the Maine State Climatologist and as an extension climatologist with Sea Grant. He also published two scientific books for the general public on the weather and climate of New England.

Born in Reading, PA, he has always enjoyed outdoor activities such as bicycling, snowshoeing, hiking and backpacking, and is excited to install that interest in the outdoors to the students at SFS. In fact, he has always incorporated students in his research programs and has taught earth and environmental field courses. In particular, he is eager to help establish the teaching and research program on the evaluation of the nature of our climate and earth systems at the SFS Center for Climate Studies in the dramatic environments of Patagonia, Chile.

Academics & Research

Areas of Expertise

  • Volcanism-climate system
  • Glaciology and glacial geology
  • Extreme meteorological events
  • Historical climatology
  • Synoptic meteorology and climatology
  • Fluvial and lacustrine systems
  • Impact of climate change on earth and environmental systems
  • Atmospheric chemistry

Professional Activities

    • IGBP and International Quaternary Association (INQUA)/Commission on Tephrochronology
    • International Quaternary Association (INQUA), Commission on Tephrochronology (COT)
    • PAGES/IGBP, Ice-Core Circum-Arctic Paleoclimate Program (ICAPP)
    • PAGES/IGBP, Circum-Arctic PaleoEnvironments (CAPE)
    • National Science Foundation, Arctic Systems Science Committee
    • U.S. National Ice Core Working Group (ICWG)
    • UNH, National Endowment for the Humanities-Regional Study Center planning group
    • PAGES International Association of Volcanology and Chemistry of the Earth's Interior (IAVCEI), Commission on "Volcanism and the Earth's Atmosphere"
    • National Science Foundation, Paleoenvironmental Arctic Sciences (PARCS) Steering Committee
    • Drought Task Force, Maine Emergency Management Agency (MEMA)
    • Western Governor’s Association, National Integrated Drought Information System
    • NOAA in the Carolinas


Zielinski, G.A., Crazy Eights: Extreme weather events in years ending in eight. Old Farmer’s Almanac, 204-212, 2008.
Zielinski, G.A., Post-glacial climates in the northern hemisphere, in Oliver, J.E. and H. Bridgman, eds., The Global Climate System: Patterns, Processes and Teleconnections, Cambridge University Press, p. 175-194, 2006.
Kurbatov, A.V., G.A. Zielinski, N.W. Dunbar, P.A. Mayewski, E.A. Meyerson, S.B. Sneed and K.C. Taylor, A 12,000 year record of explosive volcanism in the Siple Dome ice core, Antarctica. Journal of Geophysical Research 111, 12,307-12,324, 2006.
Taylor, K.C., R.B. Alley, D.A. Meese, M.K. Spencer, E.J. Brook, N.W. Dunbar, R. Finkel, A.J. Gow, A.V. Kurbatov, G.W. Lamorey, P.A. Mayewski, E. Meyerson, K. Nishiizumi, and G.A. Zielinski, Dating the Siple Dome, Antarctica ice core by manual and computer interpretation of annual layering. Journal of Glaciology 50, 453-461, 2004.
Dunbar, N.W., G.A. Zielinski, D. Voisin, Tephra layers in the Siple Dome and Taylor Dome ice cores, Antarctica: Sources and correlations. Journal of Geophysical Research 108, 2374-2384, 2003.
Fisher, D.A., R.M. Koerner, G.A. Zielinski, C.P. Wake, C.M. Zdanowicz, J.C. Bourgeois and P.A. Mayewski, The effects of flowline length on chemistry and 18O profiles from Penny Ice Cap, Baffin Island, Canada. Annals of Glaciology 35, 150-156, 2002.
Hawley, R.L., E.D. Waddington, D.L. Morse, N.W., Dunbar and G.A. Zielinski, Dating firn cores by vertical strain measurements, Journal of Glaciology 48, 401-406, 2002.
Zielinski, G.A., Climatic impact of volcanic eruptions, TheScientificWorldJOURNAL 2, 869-884, 2002. (URL:
Zielinski, G.A., A classification scheme for winter storms in the eastern and central United States with an emphasis on nor’easters, Bulletin of the American Meteorological Society 83, 37-51, 2002.
CAPE Project Members (Contributing Author), Holocene Paleoclimate Data from the Arctic: Testing Models of Global Climate Change, Quaternary Science Reviews 20, 1275-1287, 2001.


Zielinski, G.A., Conditions May Vary: A Guide to Maine’s Weather, Down East Books, Rockport, ME, 176 p., 2009
Zielinski, G.A., and B.D. Keim, New England Weather, New England Climate, University Press of New England, Hanover, NH, 276 p., 2003


Zielinski, G.A., and L.C. Schiavinato, Problems with climatic and related data in coastal management planning and practices. The Coastal Society, 21st International Conference, Redondo Beach, CA, 29 June- 3 July, 2008.
Kurbatov A., N. Dunbar, D. Dixon, K.J. Kreutz, P. Mayewski, E. Meyerson, S. Sneed and G. Zielinski, Can sulfate signatures in ice cores verify the source volcano? Paper presented at West Antarctica Ice Sheet Initiative, 12th Annual Meeting, Sterling, VA, 28 September-1 October 2005.
Zielinski, G.A., Historical climatology of New England and implications for evaluating trends in extreme events. Paper presented at Geological Society of America, Northeast-Southeast Regional Meeting, Washington, D.C. 25-27 March 2004 (Invited).
Zielinski, G.A., X. Fang, A.M. Zielinski, The New England Historical Climatology Data Base: Key Components and Uses. Paper presented at American Association of Geographers, 100th Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, PA, 14-19 March 2004 (Invited).
Kurbatov, A.V., G.A. Zielinski, N.W. Dunbar, P.A. Mayewski, V. Morgan, T. van Ommen, M. Curran, Tephra in Law Dome ice core. Paper presented at American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting, San Francisco, 8-12 December 2003.
Zielinski, G.A., Snow climatology of New England. Paper presented at Southern New England Weather Conference, 4th Annual Meeting, Princeton, MA, 1 November 2003.
Davis, P.T., J.C. Gosse, M.A. Reasoner, and G.A. Zielinski, Abrupt late Pleistocene climatic reversals in Colorado and Wyoming: Evidence from lake sediments and moraines in cirques. Paper presented at Geological Society of America, Annual Meeting, Seattle, WA, 2-5 November 2003 (Invited).
Dunbar, N.W., A.V. Kurbatov, G.A. Zielinski and B. Price, Volcanic ash record in the Siple Dome ice core. Paper presented at West Antarctica Ice Sheet Initiative, 10th Annual Meeting, Sterling, VA, 18-20 September 2003.
Kurbatov, A.V., G.A. Zielinski, N.W. Dunbar, P.A. Mayewski, E.A. Meyerson and S. B. Sneed, Volcanic Signals in the SDMA ice core Antarctica, Paper presented at Midwestern Glaciologist Meeting, 3-4 May 2003.
Zielinski, G.A., D.K. Cobb, H.J. Lulofs, Climatology of the NORLUN Instability Trough: Initial Development and Use in Improving New England Snowstorm Forecasts. Paper presented at Northeastern Storm Conference, 28th Annual Meeting, Saratoga Springs, NY, 7-9 March 2003.