Dr. David Barber


Canada Research Chair Tier I
Arctic System Science.
Associate Dean (Research)
Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources
Director, Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS)
Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources
576 Wallace
(204) 474-6981



Courses Offered:

Climate Change
GEOG 4670 Winter Term
GEOG 7440 Winter Term


Research Interests 

Dr. Barber obtained his Bachelors (1981) and Masters (1987) from the University of Manitoba, and his Ph.D. (1992) in Arctic Climatology from the University of Waterloo, Ontario.  He was appointed to a faculty position at the University of Manitoba in 1993 and received a Canada Research Chair in Arctic System Science in 2002.  He is currently Director of the Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS), and Associate Dean (Research), Faculty of Environment, the University of Manitoba. Dr. Barber has extensive experience in the examination of the Arctic marine environment as a ‘system’, and the effect climate change has on this system. His first Arctic field experience was in 1981 and he has conducted field experiments annually since then. His early work, with Fisheries and Oceans Canada, examined Arctic Marine Mammal habitat detection and change.  His later work focused on the geophysics of snow and sea ice and in particular the response of the snow/ice system to oceanic and atmospheric forcing.. His research group has a special interest in the coupling between physical and biological marine systems in the Arctic and in the use of Earth Observation technologies in the study of ocean-sea ice-atmosphere (OSA) processes.

Dr. Barber has published over 100 articles in the peer reviewed literature pertaining to sea ice, climate change and physical-biological coupling in the Arctic marine system. He leads the largest International Polar Year (IPY) project in the world, known as the Circumpolar Flaw Lead (CFL) system study (www.ipy-cfl.ca). He is recognized internationally through scientific leadership in large network programs (e.g., NOW, CASES, ArcticNet, the Amundsen, and CFL), as an invited member of several Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) national committees (e.g., NSERC GSC 09; NSERC IPY, NSERC northern supplements, etc), international committees (GEWEX, IAPP, CNC-SCOR, IARC, etc) and invitations to national and international science meetings (e.g., American Geophysical Union (AGU), Canadian Meteorological and Oceanographic Society (CMOS), American Meteorological Society (AMS), American Society for Limnology and Oceanography (Spain), IMPACTS (Russia), European Space Agency (ESA, Italy), Arctic Frontiers (Norway), etc). Dr. Barber supervised to completion: 5 honours theses; 10 MSc theses; 9 PhD dissertations and 6 postdoctoral fellows. He currently supervises 7 MSc students; 11 PhD students, 4 post doctoral fellows and 9 full time research staff. Dr. Barber raised over $38M in research funding over the past 5 years.


Major Research Projects

In addition to his university teaching and administrative commitments, Dr Barber has established the Community Based Monitoring Program (CBM) which links several Inuit communities to measurement and monitoring of sea ice and climate change related variables in the Western High Arctic and Hudson Bay.  He was also instrumental in establishing the ‘Schools on Board’ program, which outreaches Arctic Marine science to high school students and teachers aboard the Canadian Research Icebreaker Amundsen.  In recognition of his commitment to environmental research and education he received the RH award in Physical Sciences from the University of Manitoba and has been nominated for the NSERC Steacie Award. Dr. Barber is regularly asked to present to media (TV, radio and print), to policy bodies (Senate committee hearings, policy workshops, Canadian Arctic Sovereignty, ADM committees, etc.) and industry (oil companies, hydroelectric utilities, marine shipping) regarding climate change and the Arctic.


Recent Publications

Galley, R, B.J. Hwang. D. Barber, E. Key and J.K. Ehn. 2007. On the spatial and Temporal variability of Sea Ice in the CASES Study Region: 1980 – 2004. Journal of Geophysical Research. In Press (March’08).

Ehn, J.K. T. N. Papakyriakou, D. G. Barber. Inference of optical properties from radiation profiles within melting sea ice.  Journal of Geophysical Research. In Press (Jan’08).

Langlois, A., T. Fisico, D. G. Barber and T.N. Papakyriakou. The response of snow thermophysical processes to the passage of a polar low-pressure system and it’s impact on in situ passive microwave radiometry: A case study. Journal of Geophysical Research. 113, C03S04, doi:10.1029/2007JC004197.

Trembley, J.E, K.Simpson, J. Martin, L. Miller, Y. Gratton, D. Barber and N. Price. Vertical stability and the annual dynamics of nutrients and chlorophyll fluorescence in the coastal, southeast Beaufort Sea.  Journal of Geophysical Research. VOL. 113, C07S90, doi:10.1029/2007JC004547

Hwang, B. J., and D. G. Barber, 2008. On the impact of ice emissivity on ice temperature retrieval using passive microwave radiance data. Geoscience and Remote Sensing Letters, 5(3):doi:10.1109/LGRS.2008.917266

Langlois, A. and D. G. Barber. Passive Microwave Remote Sensing of Seasonal Snow Covered Sea Ice. Progress in Physical Geography. 31(6), 539-573, doi: 10.1177/0309133307087082

Jin, X., J. Hanesiak and D. Barber. Time series of daily-averaged cloud fractions over landfast first year sea ice from multiple data sources.  Journal of Applied Meteorology and Climatology. DOI: 10.1175/2007JAMC1472.1. vol (46)1818-1827.