2024 Investiture Information

Mary R. Albert

Professor of Engineering

Executive Director, US Ice Drilling Program

Research Interests

Snow and firn physics; ice cores and climate; climate adaptation; polar engineering


  • BS, Mathematics, Pennsylvania State University 1975
  • BE, Dartmouth 1983
  • MS, Engineering Sciences, Dartmouth 1983
  • PhD, Applied Mechanics & Engineering Sciences, UC San Diego 1991


  • Lifetime National Associate of the National Research Council of the National Academies, 2011
  • Department of the Army, Meritorious Civilian Service Award, 2009
  • IEEE Best Journal Paper of the Year 2009 Award: Li, Gaiser, Albert, Long, Twarog, "Windsat passive microwave polarimetric signatures of the Greenland Ice sheet," IEEE International Geoscience and Remote Sensing , v.46(9), p. 2622–2631, 2008
  • US Chief Scientist, Norwegian-US Scientific Traverse of East Antarctica, 2007–2010
  • Albert Valley, Antarctica: Named by Advisory Committee on Antarctic Names (US-ACAN, 2005) after Mary R. Albert, Cold Regions Research and Engineering Laboratory, Hanover, NH, who conducted field and laboratory research to characterize ice core, firn, and snow properties from Siple Dome, from the US-ITASE traverses of West Antarctica, and from East Antarctic Megadunes, 1996–2003
  • Congressional Antarctic Service Medal, 2000
  • US Army Commanders Award for Civilian Service/Partners in Education, 1999
  • US Army Corps of Engineers Women in Science Achievement Award, 1996
  • Department of the Army Research and Development Award, 1989

Professional Activities

  • Review Coordinator (Invited), National Research Council of the National Academies:
    1. Monitoring Climate Change Impacts: Metrics at the Intersection of the Human and Earth Systems, NRC 2010
    2. Scientific Value of Arctic Sea Ice Imagery Derived Products, NRC 2009
    3. Design of the Martha Muse Award, NRC 2008
    4. Exploration of Antarctic Subglacial Aquatic Environments: Environmental and Scientific Stewardship, NRC 2007
  • Faculty Advisor, Dartmouth Graduate Women in Science and Engineering
  • Member, American Association for Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union, International Glaciological Society, Sigma Xi
  • Chair, US National Committee for the International Polar Year, 2003–2006 (Committee of the NAS Polar Research Board) (Invited)
  • Member, Polar Research Board, National Academy of Sciences 2002–2006
  • Member (Invited) National Science Foundation Office of Polar Programs Advisory Committee (1998–2001); Committee Chair (Invited) 2000

Research Projects

  • Glaciology and climate

    Glaciology and climate

    As perhaps the most dynamic of all naturally-deposited porous media, the changing structure of snow reflects changes in weather and the environment. A wealth of satellite imagery exists over the vast expanses of the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets, yet there is an incomplete understanding of what variations in the images means. From snow and ice cores collected from traverses across the Antarctic Ice Sheet and from several locations on the Greenland Ice Sheet, we are developing the physical basis by which satellite imagery can be used to make high-resolution maps of snow accumulation over vast and remote areas of the ice sheets.

  • Ice core interpretation

    Ice core interpretation

    Ice cores drilled in cold areas of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets provide high-resolution climate records that are essential for understanding abrupt climate change. The only remaining samples of the atmopshere from past centuries and millennia are contained in bubbles found deep in glacial ice. We are measuring the physical structure, transport properties, and microstructure from ice cores from Greenland and Antarctica to better understand mechanisms of the trapping of gases in ice cores for improved understanding of abrupt climate changes in the past.

  • Adaptation to climate change

    Adaptation to climate change

    Many communities are not prepared to understand the changes they may need to make under our currently changing climate in order to adapt and mitigate for a more resilient future. We are working with communities and with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to use published forecasts of climate change along with economics, planning policy, and engineering considerations in order to facilitate planning for a more resilient future for communities within the U.S. and elsewhere.

Selected Publications

  • Pantaleo, A., M.R. Albert, H.T. Snyder, S. Doig, T. Oshima, N.E. Hagelqvist, 2022. Modeling a Sustainable Energy Transition in Northern Greenland: Qaanaaq Case Study. Sustainable Energy Technologies and Assessments, V.54, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.seta.2022.102774
  • Albert, M.R., K.R. Slawny, G.V. Boeckmann, C.J. Gibson, J.A. Johnson, K. Makinson, J. Rix, 2020. Recent Innovations in Drilling in Ice. Chapter 6 of Advances in Terrestrial Drilling: Ground, Ice and Underwater, Bar-Cohen and Zacny, eds., p. 157–220, ISBN 9780367653460.
  • Cutler, E.M., M.R. Albert, K.D. White, 2020. Tradeoffs Between Beach Nourishment and Managed Retreat: Insights from Dynamic Programming for Climate Adaptation Decisions. Environmental Modelling and Software, v.125, 104603 https://doi.org/10.1016/j.envsoft.2019.104603.
  • Cutler, E.M., M.R. Albert, K.D. White, 2019. A Low-Cost Shoreline Dynamic Simulation Model for Proposed Beach Nourishment and Dune Construction: Introducing a New Feasibility Tool. Journal of Coastal Research. doi: 10.2112/JCOASTRES-D-18-00100.1
  • Adolph, A.C., M.R. Albert, D.K. Hall, 2018. Near-surface temperature inversion during summer at Summit, Greenland, and its relation to MODIS-derived surface temperatures. The Cryosphere, 12, 907–920. Doi.org/10.5194/tc-12-907-2018.
  • Stwertka, C.H., A.J. Titus, M.R. Albert, K.D. White, 2018. Automated Strategic Prioritization Matchmaking Tool to Facilitate Federal-Community Climate Adaptation Implementation. Journal of Water Resources Planning and Management, v. 144(12): 04018081. Doi.org/10.1061/(ASCE)WR.1943-5452.0000994
  • Adolph, A.C., M.R. Albert, J. Lazarcik, J. Dibb, J. Amante, A. Price, 2017. Dominance of grain size impacts on seasonal snow albedo at deforested sites in New Hampshire. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres 122, 121-139. Doi:10.1002/2016/JD025362.
  • Whelsky, A.N., M. Albert, 2016. Firn permeability impacts on pressure loss associated with rapid air movement drilling. Journal of Cold Regions Science and Technology 1(23), 149–154. http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.coldregions.2015.11.018
  • WAIS Divide Project Members, 2015. Precise interpolar phasing of abrupt climate change during the last ice age. Nature, 520, 661–665, doi:10.1038/nature14401. (WAIS Divide Project Members are: C. Buizert, J. Ahn, M. Albert, R. B. Alley, and 14 others).
  • Keegan, K.M., M.R. Albert, J.R. McConnell, and I. Baker, 2014. Climate Change and Forest Fires Synergistically Drive Widespread Melt Events of the Greenland Ice Sheet. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, v.111(20), doi/10.1073/pnas.1405397111.
  • Adolph, A.C., and M.R. Albert, 2014. Gas Diffusivity and Permeability through the Firn Column at Summit, Greenland: Measurements and Comparison to Microstructural Properties. The Cryosphere, v. 8, p. 319–328.
  • Gregory, S.A., M.R. Albert, and I. Baker, 2014. Impact of Physical Properties and Accumulation Rate on Pore Close-off in Layered Firn. The Cryosphere, v.8, p. 91–105.


Sustainability in Greenland

Graduate Student Research: Snow Albedo and Climate Change in NH

Seminar: Polar Science in a Time of Rapid Change


Bridge Builder
Jan 20, 2023

In the News

The Antarctic Sun
Empowering Educators at the School of Ice
Jul 20, 2015
BBC World Service - The Forum
Feb 18, 2013
International Innovation
"Ancient Air" & "Core Science"
Aug 23, 2012
The Washington Post
An inside look at Greenland's melting surface ice
Aug 06, 2012
GEOS - Reading Ice Cores
Apr 07, 2011
NH Union Leader
Ice researchers chip away
Mar 07, 2011