Stephen Frolking

Phone: (603) 862-0244
Office: Earth Systems Research Center, Morse Hall, Durham, NH 03824
A headshot of Steve Frolking, a research professor in the Earth Systems Research Center.

I am a Research Professor of Earth System Science in the Institute for the Study of Earth, Oceans, and Space, jointly appointed in the Dept. of Earth Sciences, and Faculty Chair of the interdisciplinary Natural Resources and Earth System Science PhD Program. I earned a B.S./M.S. in Physics from UNH, a Ph.D. in Earth Sciences/Biogeochemistry from UNH, and was a post-doc in NOAA’s Program in Climate and Global Change. My research focus is on the interaction between natural and/or managed terrestrial ecosystems and the climate system, in the context of climate and global change. I have active research in several areas within the broader field of Earth System Science: (1) peatland carbon balance and long-term carbon accumulation, including consequences of land use and permafrost thaw; (2) water resources and sustainability in the 21st century; (3) global land use, including carbon and nitrogen cycling in agroecosystems at regional to global scales; and (4) remote sensing analyses of global urban change. Research tools include ecosystem and hydrological modeling, remote sensing, and data analysis, and generally involve interdisciplinary collaborations.


  • Ph.D., Earth Sciences, University of New Hampshire
  • M.S., Physics, University of New Hampshire
  • B.S., Physics, University of New Hampshire

Courses Taught

  • ESCI 796: Top/Biogeochemistry
  • NRES 997: Interdisciplinary Research
  • NRES 999: Doctoral Research

Selected Publications

Laine, A. M., Mehtätalo, L., Tolvanen, A., Frolking, S., & Tuittila, E. -S. (2019). Impacts of drainage, restoration and warming on boreal wetland greenhouse gas fluxes. Science of The Total Environment, 647, 169-181. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.07.390

Richardson, A. D., Hufkens, K., Milliman, T., & Frolking, S. (2018). Intercomparison of phenological transition dates derived from the PhenoCam Dataset V1.0 and MODIS satellite remote sensing. Scientific Reports, 8(1). doi:10.1038/s41598-018-23804-6

Walter Anthony, K., Schneider von Deimling, T., Nitze, I., Frolking, S., Emond, A., Daanen, R., . . . Grosse, G. (2018). 21st-century modeled permafrost carbon emissions accelerated by abrupt thaw beneath lakes. Nature Communications, 9(1). doi:10.1038/s41467-018-05738-9

Dommain, R., Frolking, S., Jeltsch-Thömmes, A., Joos, F., Couwenberg, J., & Glaser, P. H. (2018). A radiative forcing analysis of tropical peatlands before and after their conversion to agricultural plantations. Global Change Biology, 24(11), 5518-5533. doi:10.1111/gcb.14400

Deng, J., Guo, L., Salas, W., Ingraham, P., Charrier-Klobas, J. G., Frolking, S., & Li, C. (2018). Changes in Irrigation Practices Likely Mitigate Nitrous Oxide Emissions From California Cropland. Global Biogeochemical Cycles, 32(10), 1514-1527. doi:10.1029/2018gb005961

Hurtt, G. C., Chini, L. P., Frolking, S., Betts, R. A., Feddema, J., Fischer, G., . . . Wang, Y. P. (2011). Harmonization of land-use scenarios for the period 1500–2100: 600 years of global gridded annual land-use transitions, wood harvest, and resulting secondary lands. Climatic Change, 109(1-2), 117-161. doi:10.1007/s10584-011-0153-2

Xiao, X., Boles, S., Frolking, S., Li, C., Babu, J. Y., Salas, W., & Moore, B. (2006). Mapping paddy rice agriculture in South and Southeast Asia using multi-temporal MODIS images. Remote Sensing of Environment, 100(1), 95-113. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2005.10.004

Xiao, X., Boles, S., Liu, J., Zhuang, D., Frolking, S., Li, C., . . . Moore, B. (2005). Mapping paddy rice agriculture in southern China using multi-temporal MODIS images. Remote Sensing of Environment, 95(4), 480-492. doi:10.1016/j.rse.2004.12.009

Smith, P., Smith, J. U., Powlson, D. S., McGill, W. B., Arah, J. R. M., Chertov, O. G., . . . Whitmore, A. P. (1997). A comparison of the performance of nine soil organic matter models using datasets from seven long-term experiments. Geoderma, 81(1-2), 153-225. doi:10.1016/s0016-7061(97)00087-6

Li, C., Frolking, S., & Frolking, T. A. (1992). A model of nitrous oxide evolution from soil driven by rainfall events: 1. Model structure and sensitivity. Journal of Geophysical Research: Atmospheres, 97(D9), 9759-9776. doi:10.1029/92jd00509

Most Cited Publications