Robert Newton

Robert (Bob) Newton is an oceanographer specializing in atmosphere/ice/ocean interactions in the Arctic and its peripheral seas. He also works with noble gases, stable isotopes, nutrients and other ‘tracer’ signals to derive provenance and pathways of water masses in ocean. Bob founded and directed the Secondary School Field Research Program (SSFRP), Lamont-Doherty’s internship program for pre-University students. The SSFRP recruits mainly from communities underrepresented/underserved in earth and environmental science; it is the most diverse of Lamont-Doherty’s educational programs. The program centers field- and lab-based research related to the Hudson estuary, New York Harbor, and green spaces in the NYC metropolitan area. Bob teaches in the Sustainability Science masters program. 

Fields of Interest

Physical and chemical oceanography, Arctic climate change, large-scale isotope tracer distributions in the ocean, nutrient cycling in the Arctic Ocean and the Hudson Valley, engaging teens in scientific research


Ph.D., Earth and Environmental Sciences; Columbia University; August 2001.

M.Phil., Earth and Environmental Science, Columbia University, 1996.

M.S., Earth and Environmental Science, Columbia University, 1995.

Doctoral Program in Mathematics, All But Dissertation, City University of New York; 1978 – 1982. 

B.S., Social Theory, Structure and Change, Empire State College, SUNY, 1977.

Research Publications:

Whitmore, L.M., Shiller, A.M., Horner, T.J., Xiang, Y., Auro, M.E., Bauch, D., Dehairs, F., Lam, P.J., Li, J., Maldonado, M.T., Mears, C., Newton, R., Pasqualini, A., Planquette, H., Rember, R., Thomas, H. (2022). Strong margin influence on the Arctic Ocean barium cycle revealed by Pan-Arctic synthesis.  J. Phys. Oce. (in press).

Brunette, C., Tremblay, L.B., and Newton, R. (2022), A new sea ice state dependent parameterization for the free drift of sea ice. The Cryosphere, 16(2), 15 Feb., 2022,

DeRepentigny, P., A. Jahn, L.B. Tremblay, R. Newton, and S. Pfirman (2020). Increased Transnational Sea Ice Transport Between Neighboring Arctic States in the 21st Century. Earth’s Future.

Whitmore, L.M., Pasqualini, A., Newton, R., and Shiller, A.M. (2020). Gallium: A New Tracer of Pacific Water in the Artic Ocean. J. Geophys. Res. 125(7), DOI:10.1029/2019JC015842.

Xie, T., R. Newton, P. Schlosser, C. Du, and M. Dai (2019).  Long-term mean mass, heat and nutrient flux through the Indonesian Seas, based on the tritium inventory in the Pacific and Indian oceans. J. Geophysical Res.

O’Neil, J.M., R. Newton, E. Bone, L. Birney, A. Green, B. Merrick, T. Goodwin, Segal, G. Moore, and A. Fraioli (2019).  Using urban harbors for experiential, environmental literacy: Case studies of New York and Chesapeake Bay. Regional Studies in Marine Science. 10.1016/j.rsma.2016.06.004

Jenkins, W.J., S.C. Doney, M.Fendrock, R. Fine, T. Gamo, P. Jean-Baptiste, R. Key, B. Klein, J.E. Lupton, M. Rhein, W. Roether, Y. Sano, R. Schlitzer, P. Schlosser, J. Swift, and R. Newton (2018). A comprehensive global oceanic dataset of helium isotope and tritium measurements. Earth System Science Data.

Xu, C., Newton, R., Vincent, S., and Turrin, M.K., Early Engagement in Research: a tool for broadening participation in science. In: STEM Equity in Teaching and Learning: Meeting the Global Challenges of Standards, Engagement and Transformation in the 21st Century, Joy Barnes-Johnson and Janelle Johnson, Eds. October, 2018.

Newton, R., Pfirman, S., Tremblay, B., and DeRepentigny, P., Increasing Transnational Sea Ice Exchange in a Changing Arctic Ocean.  Earth’s Future, 2017, DOI: 10.1002/2016EF000500. 

Holzer, M., D. Bianchi, R. Newton, P. Schlosser, and G. Winckler (2017). Objective estimates of mantle 3He in the ocean. Earth and Planetary Sci. Lett. 458 305-314.

Newton, R., S. Pfirman, P. Schlosser, B. Tremblay, M. Murray, and R. Pomerance (2016), White Arctic vs. Blue Arctic: A case study of diverging stakeholder responses to environmental change, Earth’s Future,4, doi:10.1002/2016EF000356.

DeRepentigny, P., L-B. Tremblay, R. Newton and S. Pfirman, (2016).  Patterns of Sea-Ice Retreat in the Transition to a Seasonally Ice-Free Arctic.  J. Clim. DOI: 10.1175/JCLI-D-15-0733.1. 

Newton, R., Schlosser, P., Mortlock, R., Swift, J., and MacDonald, R. (2013). Canadian Basin Freshwater Sources and Changes: results from the 2005 Arctic Ocean Section. J. Geophys. Res. (Oceans). 

Mauldin, A., Schlosser, P., Newton, R., Smethie, W.M., Bayer, R., Rhein, M., and Jones, E.P. (2010). The velocity and mixing time scale of the Arctic Ocean Boundary Current estimated with transient tracers.  J. Geophys. Res. (Oceans), 115, CO8002. 

Bianchi, D., Sarmiento, J.L., Gnanadesikan, A., Key, R.M., Schlosser, P., and Newton, R. (2010). Low helium flux from the mantle inferred from simulations of oceanic helium isotope data.  Earth and Planetary Science Letters, EPSL-D-10-00299R1. 

Winckler, G., R. Newton, and P. Schlosser (2010).  Mantle Helium reveals Southern Ocean Hydrothermal Venting.  Geophysical Research Letters, 37, Article L05601.

Jahn, A., Tremblay, B., Newton, R., Holland, M.M., Mysak, L.A., and Dmitrenko, I.A. (2010). A tracer study of the Arctic Ocean’s Liquid freshwater export variability.  J. of Geophys. Res. (Oceans) DOI: 10.1029/2009JC005873. 

Jahn, A., B. Tremblay, L. Mysak and R. Newton (2010). Effect of the large-scale atmospheric circulation on the Arctic Ocean freshwater and heat exchange.  Climate Dynamics 34 (2-3), p. 201-222.

Jahn, A., Tremblay, L.B., Newton, R., and Mysak, L.A. (2010). Seasonal cycle of the Fram Strait freshwater export: A model perspective.  State of the Arctic, Arctic Research Consortium of the U.S., Miami, U.S.A.

Newton, R. Schlosser, P., Martinson, D.G., and Maslowski, W. (2008). Freshwater distribution in the Arctic: results from simulation with a high-resolution model and model-data comparison.  J. Geophys. Res. (Oceans) 113 C05024, doi: 10.1029/2007JC0004111.

Newton, R., Tremblay, B., Cane, M., and Schlosser, P. (2006). A simple model of the Arctic Ocean response to annular atmospheric modes.  J. Geophys. Res. 111(C9019).

Schlosser, P., Newton, R., Ekwurzel, B., Khatiwala, S., Mortlock, R., and Fairbanks, R.G., (2002). Decrease of river runoff in the upper waters of the Eurasian Basin, Arctic Ocean between 1991 and 1996: evidence from d18O data. Geophys. Res. Lett., VOL. 29, NO. 9, 10.1029/2001GL013135.

Newton, R. (2001). River runoff into the Arctic Ocean: Results from a high resolution ocean general circulation model and model-data comparisons, PhD Thesis, Columbia University.

Maslowski, W., Newton, B., Schlosser, P., Semtner, A. and Martinson, D. (2000). Modeling recent climate variability in the Arctic Ocean, 2000.Geophys. Res. Letters, 27(22): 3743-3746.

Schlosser, P., Ekwurzel, B., Khatiwala, S., Newton, B. Maslowski, W., and Pfirman, S. (2000). Tracer studies of the Arctic freshwater budget. In: The Freshwater Budget of the Arctic Ocean. E.L. Lewis et al., editors, Kluwer Academic Publishers, 453-478.

Technical Reports:

Schlosser, P., Newton, R., Koffman, T. and Friedrich, R.: approximately 225 technical reports of helium, tritium, or all noble gas isotope measurements published between 2009 and 2019 (specific citations available upon request). 

Reid DJ, Bone EK, Thurman MA, Levinton JS, Newton R & Strayer DL, Preliminary Protocols for Assessing Habitat Values of Hardened ESTUARINE Shorelines Using Colonization Devices.  Report to the Hudson River Foundation for the EPA Harbors and Estuaries Program, March, 2015.   

Other Publications:

Newton, R., J. Schneider and B. Bury, Health affects of reduced atmospheric ozone absorption.  Natural Health, Santa Fe, NM, July, 1990.

Newton, R. and E. Kahaner, Rad-Waste spill threatens Juarez children. National Guardian, New York City, June, 1984.  (Project Censored award, 1984.) 

Newton, R. and E. Kahaner, Cobalt-60 turns up in your local diner.  National Guardian, New York City, March, 1984.