faculty listing

A Photo of  John Kelley

Contact Information

Institute of Marine Science
136 Irving II
P.O. Box 757220
University of Alaska Fairbanks
Fairbanks, AK 99775-7220
Phone: (907) 474-5585
Fax: (907) 474-7204

John Kelley Professor Emeritus

Chemical Oceanography


  • Chairman, North Slope Borough Science Advisory
  • Vice President, U.S. Corp. Arctic Institute of North America


  • sea ice
  • air-sea-gas transfer
  • marine acoustics
  • atmospheric chemistry, radioactivity, and contaminants

Research Overview

My 40+ years of professional experience within a university environment has been devoted to research in the polar regions and in research administration. My research interests including teaching is in the fields of geophysics and geochemistry with emphasis on micrometeorology and trace gas processes. I am currently involved in teaching and research in the area of applied oceanography, marine and riverine acoustics, environmental radioactivity and contaminants. I am also engaged in carbon dioxide exchange process research in the Arctic Ocean. I served as the Director of the National Science Foundation (NSF) Polar Ice Coring Office (PICO) from 1989-1996 which included a collaborative research program related to ice engineering. I continue to publish articles related to research on ice core drilling technology related to PICO activities. I have also conducted for the past 20 years a science program oriented toward encouraging Alaska Native undergraduate students to pursue professional careers in science, math and engineering.

Current Research Projects

  • Evaluation of advanced polymer devices for detection and identification of low concentrations of organic vapors
  • Factors leading to possibility of transport of radionuclides fromthe former Amchitka Island Underground Nuclear Tests
  • Location of offshore gravel deposit in the Chukchi Sea
  • Trace metals in nearshore sediments of the Beaufort Sea
  • Mercury in fish in the Bering Sea, Yukon and Kuskokwim rivers
  • Carbon dioxide and methane exchange across arctic sea ice
  • NEWNET/ORION project in enviromental radioactivity


Selected Publications

Baskaran, B, G.H. Hong, S. Dayton, J. L. Bodkin, and J. J. Kelley. 2003. Temporal variations of natural and anthropogenic radionuclides in sea otter skull tissue in the North Pacific Ocean. J. of Environmental Radioactivity.64. 1-18.

Zagorodnov, V.S., L. G. Thompson, E. Mosley-Thompson, F. Huffman, and J.J. Kelley, 2002. Intermediate depth ice core drilling support systems: power generators and shelters. In: Ice Drilling Technology 2000, Tokyo, Japan. Mem. Natl. Polar. Res., Spec. Issue 56. 313-320.

Zagorodnov, V.S., L. G. Thompson, E. Mosley-Thompson, and J. J. Kelley. 2002.Ice core drilling complications. In: Ice Drilling Technology 2000. Mem. Natl.Polar Res., Spec. issue 56, 196-205.

Jewett, S.C., X. Zhang, A. S. Naidu, J. J. Kelley, D. Dasher, and L. K. Duffy. 2002. Comparison of mercury amd methylmercury in northern pike and arctic grayling from western Alaska rivers. Chemosphere. 50(3): 383.392.

Dasher, D. W. Hanson, S. Read, S. Faller, D. Farmer, W. Efurd, J. Kelley, and R. Patrick. 2002. An assessment of the reported leakage of anthropogenic radionuclides from the underground nucear test sites at Amchitka Island, Alaska, USA to the surface environment. J. of Environmental Radioactivity. 60: 165-187.

Zhang, Z., A.S Naidu, J. J. Kelley, S.C. Jewett, D. D. Dasher, and L. K. Duffy. 2001. Baseline concentrations of total mercury and methylmercury in salmon returning via the Bering Sea (1999-2000). Mar. Poll. Bull. 42: 993-997

Mattes, M., J. Kelley, and G. Wendler. 1999. On the sastrugi formation in Adelie Land, Eastern Antarctica. In: Proc. of the Fifth Conference on Polar Meterology and Oceanography, 10-15 January, 1999, Dallas, TX. Amer. Meteo. Soc., 460-465.

Zagorodnov, V., L.G. Thompson, J.J. Kelley, B. Koci, and V. Mikhalenko. 1998. Antifreeze thermal ice core drilling: an effective approach to the acquisition of ice cores. Cold Regions Science and Technology. 28(1998), 189-202.

Gosink, T.A., J.J. Kelley, B.R. Koci, T.W. Burton and M.A. Tumeo. 1991. Butyl acetate, an alternative drilling fluid for deep ice-coring projects. J. Glaciol. 27 (125):170176.

Baskaran, M., J.J. Kelley, A.S. Naidu and D.F. Holleman. 1991. Environmental radiocesium in subarctic and arctic Alaska following Chernobyl. Arctic 44 (4):346350.

Kelley, J.J. 1987. Carbon dioxide in the arctic environment. J. Earth Sci. 35(2):341354

Kelley, J.J. and T.A. Gosink. 1984. Carbon dioxide in the Arctic atmosphere; air-sea and air-land interaction. In: J. McBeath (ed.), The Potential Effects of Carbon Dioxide Induced Climate Change in Alaska. School Agricul. Land Res. Mgt., Univ. Alaska Fairbanks. 208 pp

Kelley, J.J. 1980. (In Russian). Background levels and biogeochemical cycle of CO2 in the Arctic: Multimedia Monitoring Requirements, pp. 266271. Proc. International Symp. on the Multimedia Monitoring of Environmental Pollution, Riga, USSR. Published by Leningrad Hydromet Office. 376 p.

Dr. John Kelley at fisheries acoustic equipment test site with graduate students Carrie Tallus and Carl Pfisterer

Dr. John Kelley sampling arctic lake with Alaska Native undergraduate students