Photo of Stephen Wolfe

Stephen Wolfe

Adjunct Research Professor

Degrees:B.Sc. (Carleton), M.Sc. (Queen's), Ph.D. (Guelph)


Dr .Wolfe is a research scientist in the areas of permafrost and eolian geomorphology. Dr. Wolfe leads a Geological Survey of Canada project on Northern land-based infrastructure risks to climate change, and heads TRACS (Transportation Risk in the Arctic to Climatic Sensitivity). He has published more than 50 articles on the topics of climate change impacts to geomorphic processes in Canada on the topics of drought, wind erosion (and wind energy), permafrost, and coastal processes. He has edited several journal issues on the topic of paleo-environmental change on the Great Plains of US and Canada and on eolian geomorphology. He has also edited a series of GSC publications on the response of active geomorphic processes to climate change. Dr. Wolfe’s present research interests pertain to ground ice and permafrost in the discontinuous-to-continuous permafrost zone within the sub-arctic and on detecting present and future risks to infrastructure due to disturbance or climate change.

Research Interests

Permafrost processes and landforms within discontinuous to continuous permafrost, and their relation to climate change and northern development. Formation and evolution of continental eolian landforms in Canada: the relation to past climate, geomorphic processes and effect of future environmental change

Current Projects

Permafrost-ecological relations within “warm” discontinuous permafrost

Relations between ground ice and geomorphic processes

Detecting present and historical change in permafrost and ecological conditions

Climate change risks to northern transportation infrastructure

Late Holocene geomorphic history of the Great Slave Lake basin

Recent and Late-Holocene dune activity in western Canada

Recent Projects

Optical dating of sand dunes in the Canadian prairie provinces

Nearsurface permafrost and processes in the Western Canadian Arctic

Eolian processes in the southern Canadian Rocky Mountains

Active-layer thicknesses in response to climatic variables

Recent Publications

S.A.Wolfe, C.H. Hugenholtz, O.B. Lian. 2012. Palliser’s Triangle: reconstructing the “central desert” of the southwestern Canadian prairies during the late 1850s. The Holocene. V. 23, 669-707.

C.W. Stevens and S.A.Wolfe. 2012   High-resolution Mapping of Wet Terrain in Permafrost Environments Using LiDAR Intensity. Permafrost and Periglacial Processes, v. 23, 334-341.

S.A. Wolfe. 2012. High-latitude dune fields. In Encyclopedia of Quaternary Sciences, 2nd Edition. Elsevier Publishing

S.A. Wolfe. 2010. Aeolian Environments: Cold-Climate Aeolian Environments. In Aeolian Geomorphology, volume in the Treatise on Geomorphology, Elsevier Publishing

S.A.Wolfe, J. Bond and M. Lamothe. 2010. Dune stabilization in central and southern Yukon in relation to early Holocene environmental changes, northwestern  North America. Quaternary Science Reviews, v. 30, 324-334.

C.H. Hugenholtz, D. Bender, and S.A. Wolfe. 2010. Declining sand dune activity in the southern Canadian prairies: historical context, controls and ecosystem implications. Aeolian Research, v. 2, 71-82.

C.H. Hugenholtz and S.A. Wolfe. 2010. Rates and environmental controls of aeolian dust accumulation, AthabascaRiverValley, Canadian Rocky Mountains. Geomorphology, v. 121, 272-282.

S. St George and S.A. Wolfe.  2009. El Nino stills winter winds across the southern Canadian Prairies. Geophysical Research Letters, v. 36, L23806.

S.A. Wolfe and C.H. Hugenholtz. 2009. Barchan dunes stabilized under recent climate warming on the northern Great Plains. Geology, v. 37, p. 1039-1042.

S.L. Smith, S.A. Wolfe, D. Riseborough and M. Nixon. 2009. Active-layer characteristics and correlations to recent summer air temperature climatic indices, Mackenzie Valley, Canada. Permafrost and Periglacial , v. 20, p. 201-220.

S.A. Wolfe, L. Robertson, A.Gillis. 2009. Late Quaternary Eolian Deposits of northern North America: Age and Extent. Geological Survey of Canada, Open File 6006, CD-ROM.

C. H. Hugenholtz, S.A. Wolfe, I.J. Walker and B.J. Moorman. 2009. Spatial and temporal patterns of sediment transport across an inland parabolic dune, Bigstick   Sand Hills, Saskatchewan. Geomorphology, v.105, no. 1-2, p. 158-170.

S.A. Wolfe, I.J. Walker and D.J. Huntley. 2008. Holocene coastal reconstruction, Naikoon Peninsula, northern Graham Island, Queen Charlotte Islands, British Columbia. Current Research, 2008-12, 16 p.

J. Thorpe, S.A. Wolfe, B. Houston. 2008. Potential impacts of climate change on grazing capacity of native grasslands in the Canadian prairies. Canadian Journal of Soil Science, v. 88, no. 4, 595–609.

C. H. Hugenholtz, S.A. Wolfe, and B.J. Moorman. 2008. Morphodynamics and stratigraphy of active parabolic dunes, Bigstick Sand Hills, southwestern Saskatchewan. Canadian Journal of Earth Science, v. 45 no. 3, p. 321-335.