January 16, 2021

David Barber Homepage

Distinguished Professor
Canada Research Chair (Tier 1)

Scientific Director, Centre for Earth Observation Science
Associate Dean (Research), Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth & Resources

Ph.D. University of Waterloo (1988-1992)
M.N.R.M. University of Manitoba (1985-1988)
B.P.E. University of Manitoba (1978-1982)

Research Interests

My research interests focus on Arctic System Science, with my program coordinated around three interconnected themes:

  1. The causes of climate change in both dynamic and thermodynamic processes of sea ice due to climate forcing;
  2. The consequences of these changes on biological and geochemical systems; and
  3. Techniques required to improve our ability to assess both the causes and consequences of these changes.

Presently I am focused on freshwater-marine coupling in Hudson Bay and the role that freshwater plays on both sea ice thermodynamic and dynamic processes. I use a variety of techniques to collect data, including the installation of oceanographic moorings, physical sampling of various sea ice types and utilize remote sensing platforms (passive and active sensors) during my field-based campaigns. Results from the data collection are often inputted into models to uncover the connections between the ocean-sea ice-atmosphere processes in the Arctic. In addition, I am working on determining the interactions of oil in sea ice-covered environments by using remote sensing techniques to evaluate the impacts of oil on the geophysical and thermodynamic process of various sea ice types. The results of this analysis will be used to understand the potential use of genomics to biodegrade oil spills in Arctic environments. 

I am the Scientific Director of the Churchill Marine Observatory, the globally unique highly innovative multidisciplinary research facility located in Churchill, Manitoba which focuses on the detection, mitigation and impacts of oil spills in sea ice. I am a founding member of the Arctic Science Partnership, a unique international Arctic marine science network that couples the University of Manitoba, Greenland Climate Research Centre, Aarhus University, and Alfred Wegner Institute. I have been instrumental in the development and implementation of several highly successful projects, including

  • The NSERC-funded networks NOW and CASES;
  • The International Polar Year (IPY) Circumpolar Flaw Lead (CFL) study;
  • The CFI-funded Canadian Research Icebreaker Amundsen (Laval and Manitoba being the two Universities receiving funds);
  • The CFI funded Sea Ice Environmental Research Facility (SERF); and
  • The ArcticNet Network of Centres of Excellence (NCE).

I have been elected as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, Academy of Science and as an Officer of the Order of Canada.

CCGS Amundsen

Sea Ice Research


Physical-Biological Coupling


Remote Sensing



576 Wallace Building
University of Manitoba
Winnipeg, MB
R3T 2N2
(204) 474-6981

Email: david.barber (a) umanitoba.ca

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