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Climate Change Institute

Andrei Kurbatov

Associate Research Professor, Climate Change Institute and School of Earth and Climate Sciences

Andrei Kurbatov

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Climate Change Institute
University of Maine 
Orono, ME  04460


Volcanic forcing and paleoclimate

Professional Preparation:

  • State University of New York, Buffalo, New York USA. Ph.D.: Geology. November, 2000. Advisor: Marcus I. Bursik.
  • State University of New York, Buffalo, New York USA. M.A.: Geology. February, 1997. Advisor: Marcus I. Bursik.
  • Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia.June, 1989. Diploma: Geology. Advisors: Nikolai V. Beznosov & Irina A. Mikhailova.


Research interests

My primary research focuses on understanding the link of the most pressing current hazards that modern civilization is facing today. To fully understand the causes of melting glaciers and rising oceans with landward-moving shorelines is impossible without studies of natural climate forcing components of the climate system. In addition to changes in the amount of solar radiation received by the Earth, volcanism is another important climate forcing component. In order to fully understand interactions of the volcano - climate system it is important to study past, preinstrumental records of volcanism and to evaluate impacts of selected volcanic eruptions on climate. Unfortunately, only limited instrumental and sporadic observational data of global volcanism are available. One of the most robust methods to reconstruct details of the impacts of volcanism on the past atmosphere (climate) is to study volcanic products (e.g., tephra and aerosols preserved in ice cores). Such volcanic products are found embedded into the snow on polar ice caps, and allow us to reconstruct the source, magnitude and timing of volcanic eruptions. Sampled layer by layer, ice cores capture paleoclimate records, including impacts of volcanic events. Reconstruction of past climate is based on establishing proxies by correlating glaciochemistry, stable water isotopes, captured gasses and dust particle content measurements from ice core samples with available instrumental climate data. Participation in the Siple Dome A deep Antarctic ice core project helped to develop a 10,000 year long continuous record of volcanism, and currently I am working on reconstruction of volcanism from the WAIS, ITASE and RICE ice cores. My expertise in multidisciplinary research provides a unique perspective to establish future research projects that incorporate the impacts of volcanism on climate. I expect that recent developments in research instrumentation will allow an increase in sampling resolution of the developed paleoclimate records and improvements to the detection of volcanic products in ice cores. In the past, mainly tephra particles produced by local volcanoes (those from Antarctica and surrounding regions) with particles larger than 10 μm were linked to source eruptions through geochemical fingerprinting. Only on limited occasions were fine tephra particles from tropical volcanic eruptions identified in polar ice cores. Small sizes ( < 2 μm) of tephra from the largest tropical eruptions are dictated by stratospheric long term transport. I conducted several research projects aiming to segregate tropical volcanic eruptions in ice core records from less climatically significant local sources. In cooperation with Dr. Nelia Dunbar (New Mexico Tech., USA) and Dr. Stefan Kraus (SERNAGEOMIN, Chile) we were able to begin adding unique geochemical and stratigraphic characteristics of eruptions from Antarctica to the recently established data base. Our goal is to collect a comprehensive data base for identification of potential eruption sources and specific events using geochemical fingerprinting. Soluble and insoluble ice chemistry data may provide additional details about the timing of eruptions, mechanisms of transport and deposition. Emerging laboratory methods (e.g. laser ablation ICP-MS on ice), integrated with the continuous melter system “Laser based particle counters” should allow development of new high-resolution records that can capture single events. By developing new cyberinfrastructure for advance data integration, processing, integration and visualization, all new data sets will be used to help improve our understanding of the mechanisms of how volcanism impacts climate by adding volcanic forcing time series to climate models. The potential benefits of the research is development of long term records of volcanism that will also help to mitigate potential volcanic hazards in selected regions of the world.


I am often seeking undergraduates and  graduate students.  For graduate students, please apply through CCI  graduate school program (  For undergraduate research opportunies, please email me a CV and something about your interests.

Graduate Student Advisees

Nicole Spaulding (Ph.D., September 1, 2009—April 25, 2013)

Donna Kalteyer (M.S., August 1, 2013—December, 2015)

Sarah Wheatley (M.S., June 15, 2015—expected, 2017)

Laura Hartman (M.S., September, 2016—expected, 2018)


  • N. A. Iverson, D. Kalteyer, N. W. Dunbar, A. Kurbatov, and M. Yates. 2017. Advancements and best practices for analysis and correlation of tephra and cryptotephra in ice. Quaternary Geochronology: 40, 45-55.

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Mikesell, T. D., Van Wijk, K., Otheim, L., Marshall, H.-P., and Kurbatov, A. Laser ultrasonic characterization of stratigraphy in ice cores. Geosciences 7, 3 (2017), 47.

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Winstrup, M., Vallelonga, P., Kjær, H. A., Fudge, T. J., Lee, J. E., Riis, M. H., Edwards, R., Bertler, N. A., Blunier, T., Brook, E. J., Buizert, C., Ciobanu, G., Conway, H., Dahl- Jensen, D., Ellis, A., Emanuelsson, B. D., Keller, E. D., Kurbatov, A. V., Mayewski, P. A., Neff, P. D., Pyne, R., Simonsen, M. F., Svensson, A. M., Tuohy, A., Waddington, E., and Wheatley, S. A 2700-year annual timescale and accumulation history for an ice core from Roosevelt Island, West Antarctica. Clim. Past Discuss. 2017 (Aug. 2017), 1–46.

    For more information: Read abstract

  • More, A. F., Spaulding, N. E., Bohleber, P., Handley, M. J., Hoffmann, H., Korotkikh, E. V., Kurbatov, A. V., Loveluck, C. P., Sneed, Sharon B.and McCormick, M., and Mayewski, P. A. Next generation ice core technology reveals true minimum natural levels of lead (Pb) in the atmosphere: insights from the Black Death. GeoHealth (2017): 1(4), 211-219.

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Koffman, B. G., Dowd, E. G., Osterberg, E., Hartman, L. H., Wheatley, Sarah, D., Kurbatov, A. V., Wong, G. J., Markle, B. R., Dunbar, N. W., Kreutz, K. J., and Yates, M. G. Rapid transport of ash and sulfate from the 2011 Puyehue-C ́ordon Caulle (Chile) eruption to West Antarctica. J. Geophys. Res. Atmos. 122 (2017).

    For more information: Read abstract

  • Dunbar, N. W., N. A. Iverson, A. R. Van Eaton, M. Sigl, B. V. Alloway, A. V. Kurbatov, L. G. Mastin, J. R. McConnell, and C. J. Wilson (2017). New Zealand supereruption provides time marker for the Last Glacial Maximum in Antarctica. Scientific Reports 7(1), 1–8.
  • P. Mayewski, A. Carleton, S. Birkel, D. Dixon, A. Kurbatov, E. Korotkikh, J. McConnell, M. Curran, J. Cole-Dai, S. Jiang, C. Plummer, T. Vance, K. Maasch, S. Sneed, and M. Handley. Ice core and climate reanalysis analogs to predict antarctic and southern hemisphere climate changes. Quaternary Science Reviews, 155:50–66, 2016.
  • J. A. Higgins, A. V. Kurbatov, N. E. Spaulding, E. J. Brook, D. S. Introne, L. M. Chimiak, Y. Yan, P. A. Mayewski, and M. L. Bender. Atmospheric composition 1 million years ago from blue ice in the Allan Hills, Antarctica. PNAS, 112(22):6887–6891, 2015.
  • S. B. Sneed, P. A. Mayewski, W. Sayre, M. Handley, A. V. Kurbatov, K. C. Taylor, P. Bohleber, D. Wagenbach, T. Erhardt, and N. E. Spaulding. New LA-ICP-MS cryocell and calibration technique for sub-millimeter analysis of ice cores. Journal of Glaciology, 61(226):233–242, 2015.
  • B. G. Koffman, K. J. Kreutz, D. J. Breton, E. J. Kane, D. A. Winski, S. D. Birkel, A. V. Kurbatov, and M. J. Handley. Centennial-scale variability of the Southern Hemisphere westerly wind belt in the eastern Pacific over the past two millennia. Clim. Past, 10:11256–1144, 2014.
  • E. V. Korotkikh, P. A. Mayewski, D. Dixon, A. V. Kurbatov, and M. Handley. Recent increase in Ba concentrations as recorded in a South Pole ice core. Atmospheric Environment, 89:683–687, 2014.
  • P. A. Mayewski, S. B. Sneed, S. D. Birkel, A. Kurbatov, and K. A. Maasch. Holocene warming marked by abrupt onset of longer summers and reduced storm frequency around Greenland. Journal of Quaternary Science, 29(1):99–104, January 2014.
  • B. G. Koffman, K. J. Kreutz, A. V. Kurbatov, and N. W. Dunbar. Impact of known local and tropical volcanic eruptions of the past millennium on the WAIS Divide microparticle record. Geophysical Research Letters, 40(17):4712–4716, 2013.
  • S. Kraus, A. Kurbatov, and M. Yates. Geochemical signatures of tephras from antarctic peninsula volcanoes. Andean Geology, 40(1):1–40, January 2013.
  • N. E. Spaulding, J. A. Higgins, A. V. Kurbatov, M. L. Bender, S. A. Arcone, S. Campbell, N. W. Dunbar, L. M. Chimiak, D. S. Introne, and P. A. Mayewski. Climate archives from 90 to 250 ka in horizontal and vertical ice cores from the Allan Hills Blue Ice Area, Antarctica. Quaternary Research, 80(3):562–574, 2013.
  • Spaulding, N.E., Spikes, V.B., Hamilton, G.S., Mayewski, P.A., Dunbar, N.W., Harvey, R.P., Schutt, J., and Kurbatov, A. 2012. Ice motion and mass balance at the Allan Hills blue-ice area, Antarctica, with implications for paleoclimate reconstructions. Journal of Glaciology 58(208), pp 399-406.

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • D. Breton, B. Koffman, A. Kurbatov, and G. Kreutz, K.J.and Hamilton. Quantifying signal dispersion in a hybrid ice core melting system. Environmental Science and Technology, 46(21):11922–11928, 2012.
  • Dunbar N. W. and A. V. Kurbatov. Tephrochronology of the siple dome ice core, west antarctica: correlations and sources. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30(13-14):1602 – 1614, 2011

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • E. V. Korotkikh, P. A. Mayewski, M. J. Handley, S. B. Sneed, D. S. Introne, A. V. Kurbatov, N. W. Dunbar, and W. C. McIntosh. The last interglacial as represented in the glaciochemical record from Mount Moulton Blue Ice Area, West Antarctica. Quaternary Science Reviews, 30(15-16):1940–1947, 2011.
  • Kurbatov A.V., P.A. Mayewski, J.P. Steffensen, A. West, D.J. Kennett, J.P. Kennett, T.E. Bunch, M. Handley, D.S. Introne, S.S. Que Hee, C. Mercer, M. Sellers, F. Shen, S.B. Sneed, J.C. Weaver, J.H. Wittke, T.W. Stafford, J. J. Donovan, S. Xie, J. J. Razink Jr., A. Stich, C.R. Kinzie, W.S. Wolbach, (2010) Discovery of a nanodiamond-rich layer in the Greenland ice sheet. Journal of Glaciology, v. 56, n 199, 749-759

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • Kraus S. and Kurbatov A., (2010), Chemical fingerprint of bulk tephra from Late Pleistocene / Holocene volcanoes in the northern Antarctic Peninsula area. In: Antarctica: Global, Environmental and Economic Issues, edited by Thomas J. Mulder, Nova Science Publishers, New York, ISBN: 978-1-60876-014-5

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • Bursik M.I., S.E. Kobs, A. Burns, O.A. Braitseva, L.I. Bazanova, I.V. Melekestsev, A. Kurbatov, D.C. Pieri (2009), Volcanic plumes and wind: Jetstream interaction examples and implications for air traffic. J. Volc. Geoth. Res. vol. 186 pp. 60-67.

    For more information: Read abstract or Download file (PDF)

  • Grigholm B., P.A. Mayewski, A.V. Kurbatov, G. Casassa, A. Contreras Staeding, M. Handley, S.B. Sneed, D.S. Introne (2009), Chemical composition of fresh snow from Glaciar Marinelli, Tierra del Fuego, Chile, J. of Glaciology, 55(193), 769-776.

    For more information: Read abstract or Download file (PDF)

  • Simoes J.C., Alencar A.S., Aquino F.E., Arevalo M., Handley M.J., Introne D., Jana R., Kurbatov A., Mayewski P.A., Travassos J.M., Passos H.R., Reis L.F.M. (2008), Detroit Plateau: A new ice core site in the Antarctic Peninsula, SCAR meeting, St.Petersburg, Russia, July.
  • Dunbar, N.W., W.C. McIntosh, A.V. Kurbatov (2008) Integrated tephrochronology of the West Antarc- tic region- Implications for a potential tephra record in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide Ice Core, Goldschmidt 2008 conference, July 13 - 18, Vancouver, Canada.
  • Koffman B., Kreutz K., Handley M., Wells M., Kurbatov A. & Mayewski P.(2008) A Snowpit Record of Atmospheric Fe Deposition in West Antarctica at the WAIS Divide Site, Goldschmidt 2008 conference, July 13 - 18, Vancouver, Canada.
  • Mikesell, T. D., K. van Wijk, A.V. Kurbatov, and P.A. Mayewski, Ice Core Tomography with Laser Ultrasonics. Extended abstract for 2007 Symposium on Environmental Sensing, Oct. 25-26, 2007, Boise State University, Boise, Idaho.
  • Dunbar, N.W., W.C. McIntosh, A.V. Kurbatov, and T.I. Wilch (2007), Integrated tephrochronology of the West Antarctic region- implications for a potential tephra record in the West Antarctic Ice Sheet (WAIS) Divide Ice Core, 10th International Symposium on Antarctic Earth Science (ISAES 2007), University of California, Santa Barbara, California (USA), 26 Aug-1 Sep 2007.
  • Kurbatov, A.V., G.A. Zielinski, N.W. Dunbar, P.A. Mayewski, E.A. Meyerson, S.B. Sneed, and K. Taylor (2006), A 12,000 year record of explosive Volcanism in the Siple Dome Ice Core, West Antarc- tica, J. Geophys. Res., 111, D12307, doi:10.1029/2005JD006072.

    For more information: Read abstract or Download file (PDF)

  • Bertler and others, (2005), Snow chemistry across Antarctica, Annals of Glaciology, 41, 167-179.

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • 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.

    For more information: Read abstract or Download file (PDF)

  • Pruett, L.E., K.J. Kreutz, M. Wadleigh, P.A. Mayewski, and A. Kurbatov (2004), Sulfur isotopic measurements from a West Antarctic ice core: implications for sulfate source and transport, Ann. Glaciol., 39, 161-168

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • Woods A.W., Bursik M.I., Kurbatov A.V., 1998, The interaction of ash flows with ridges. Bull. of Volcanol. 60: 38-51.

    For more information: Download file (PDF)

  • Bursik M.I., Kurbatov A.V. Sheridan M.F., Woods A.W., 1998, Transport and deposition in the May 18, 1980, Mount St.Helens blast flow: Geology 26(2): 155-158
  • Kurbatov A., 1996, Investigation of the May 18, 1980, Blast Surge Deposit at Mount St. Helens Volcano, USA. Master's thesis, Department of Geology, State University of New York at Buffalo, 152 p.
  • Minoura K., Gusiakov V. G., Kurbatov A., Takeuti S., Svendsen J. I., Bondevik S., Oda T., 1996, Tsunami sedimentation associated with the 1923 Kamchatka earthquake.Sedimentary Geology 106: 145-154.
  • Melekestsev I.V., Dvigalo V.N., Kirianov V.Yu., Kurbatov A.V., Nesmachnyi I.A., 1994, Ebeko Vol- cano, Kuril Islands: Eruptive history and Potential Volcanic Hazard. Part I: Volc. Seis. 15(3): 339- 354, (Cover-to-cover translation of the Russian journal Vulkanol. Seismol., 1993, 3: 69- 81).
  • Melekestsev I.V., Dvigalo V.N., Kirianov V.Yu., Kurbatov A.V., Nesmachnyi I.A. 1994, Ebeko Vol- cano, Kuril Islands: Eruptive history and Potential Volcanic Hazard. Part II: Volc. Seis. 15(4): 411-430, (Cover-to-cover translation of the Russian journal Vulkanol. Seismol., 1993, 4: 24- 42).
  • Melekestsev I.V., Kurbatov A.V., Pevzner M.M., Sulerzhitsky L.D., 1994, ''Doistoricheskie'' tcunami i silnie zemletrjasenija na poluostrove Kamchatskom (Kamchatka) po dannim tephrochronologich- eskih issledovaniy: Vulkanol. Seismol. 4-5: 106-115 (In Russian).


  • 2002 to 2005 — $397,005.00 — (Co-PI) Paleoclimate from Mount Everest Ice Cores, from National Science Foundation AGS-139491.
  • 2003 to 2006 — $423,407.00 — (Co-PI) A New Mt. Logan Ice Core Record - Change in Climate and Chemistry of the Atmosphere for the North Pacific, from National Science Foundation ARC-240878.
  • 2007 to 2011 — $591,434.00 — (Co-PI) Collaborative Research: Microparticle/tephra analysis of the WAIS Divide ice core, from National Science Foundation ANT-0636740.
  • 2007 to 2010 — $203,858.00 — (Co-PI) Collaborative Proposal: 2000+ Year Detailed, Calibrated Climate Reconstruction from a South Pole Ice Core Set in an Antarctic - Global Scale Context from al Science Foundation ANT-636506.
  • 2008 to 2011 — $415,336.00 — (Co-PI) Collaborative Research: Asian Ice Core Array (AICA)--Reconstruction of Past Physical and Chemical Climate over Asia, from National Science Foundation AGS-754644.
  • 2009 to 2012 — $725,700.00 — (Co-PI) Collaborative Research: Antarctic Climate Reconstruction Utilizing the US ITASE Ice Core Array, from National Science Foundation ANT-837883.
  • 2009 to 2013 — $407,668.00 — Collaborative Research: Exploring A 2 Million + Year Ice Climate Archive-Allan Hills Blue Ice Area (2MBIA), from National Science Foundation ANT-838843
  • 2010 to 2013 — $451,743.00 — (Co-PI) CDI-Type I: CiiWork: an interactive workbench for integration, exploration, and analysis of chronological information, from National Science Foundation EAR-1027960.
  • 2011 to 2014 — $815,937.00 — (Co-PI) Roosevelt Island Climate Evolution Project (RICE): US Deep Ice Core Glaciochemistry Contribution, from National Science Foundation ANT-1042883.
  • 2012 to 2016 — $365,095.00 — Collaborative Research: Developing an Antarctic Tephra Database for Inter- disciplinary Paleoclimate Research (AntT), from National Science Foundation ANT-1142007
  • 2012 to 2015 — $797,560.00 — Searching for Abrupt Climate Change Precursors Using Ultra High Resolution Ice Core Analysis, from National Science Foundation ARC-1203640
  • 2014 to 2017 — $35,594.00 — PLR-1443461 Collaborative Research: Allan HILLs Englacial Site (AHILLES) Selection from NSF
  • 2014 to 2017 — $33,585.00 — PLR-1417476 Collaborative Research: Collaborative Research: Investigating geochemical signatures in Greenland ice of a possible extraterrestrial impact during the Younger Dryas climate event from NSF
  • 2014 to 2017 — $590,830.00 — AGS-1401899 Collaborative Research: P2C2--Pleistocene/Holocene Climate Reconstruction from a Pamir High Resolution Deep Ice-Core from NSF
  • 2015 to 2018 — $168,367.00 — PLR-1443306 Collaborative Research: Window into the World with 40,000-year Glacial Cycles from Climate Records in Million Year-old Ice from the Allan Hills Blue Ice Area from NSF
  • 2016 to 2019 — $205,000.00 — PLR-1543361 Collaborative Research: Tephrochronology of a South Pole ice core from NSF
  • 2017 to 2020 — $298,269.00 — Co-PI, EAR--1727460. Acquisition of LA-ICP-QQQ-MS equipment for in situ trace element and isotopic research and training at the University of Maine from NSF


Ph.D., 2000, State University of New York, Buffalo, NY

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