Sarah Aarons

Dr. Sarah Aarons is an earth scientist and assistant professor in San Diego who can speak about the effects of global climate change, the patterns of weather throughout history and decolonizing science. Decolonization efforts are designed to counteract the overrepresentation and dominance of white European values and ideas in numerous disciplines. As an Iñupiaq (Alaska Native) woman born and raised in Alaska, Aarons’s growing awareness of her matrilineal homeland’s struggles with climate change greatly influenced her choice of career. 

She works in the Geosciences Research Division of the Scripps Institute of Oceanography in San Diego where Aarons uses chemistry to determine the origins of soil and sediment generation. She received her bachelor’s degree in Geological and Environmental Science from Stanford University and her master’s degree and PhD in Earth and Environmental Science at the University of Michigan.

Aarons’s personal ties to the subject make her especially qualified to discuss climate change in polar regions and the potential effects of new weather patterns. Aarons is also working to understand how land use today may impact the sediment travels of tomorrow and where nutrients may be redistributed in the future.

Greater attention is being paid to not only the quality of the soil beneath us, but also to the makeup of sediments that travel in the air. Sediments can travel for miles across oceans, revealing information about global weather patterns based on the origins of the soil. 

Aarons received the National Center for American Indian Enterprise Development 40 under 40 award and was named a Kavli Fellow by the National Academy of Sciences. She currently serves on the Interagency Arctic Research Policy Committee (IARPC) Diversity and Inclusion Leadership team and is one of less than 60 Native American and Alaska Native individuals with PhDs in Earth science. She has presented her research nationally and internationally. 

Location: San Diego, CA

Expertise Field: 

Climate, decolonizing science, polar regions, dust, ice, tracing weathering and geologic history, using isotope systems in tracing, geochemistry, tracing origins and transport pathways of ancient dust, tracking modern dust sources and nutrient composition

Contact information:

Email: smaarons@ucsd.edu 

Phone: 650-521-5008

Twitter: @SarahAarons

Last updated January 23, 2021