Fischer Receives 2017 Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology Dansgaard Award

Hubertus Fischer will receive the 2017 Dansgaard Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award is given in recognition of the awardee’s research impact, innovative interdisciplinary work, educational accomplishments (mentoring), societal impact, and other relevant contributions and to acknowledge that the awardee shows exceptional promise for continued leadership in paleoceanography or paleoclimatology.


I am pleased to introduce Hubertus Fischer as the Dansgaard Award winner, in recognition of his groundbreaking contributions and community leadership in ice core science.

Ice core pioneer Willi Dansgaard started in physics and expanded into chemistry, climate, and environmental sciences. Hubertus followed a similar path. He started in physics (University of Heidelberg, with side trips to Karlsruhe and Oregon). His postdoc at UC San Diego and a research position at the Alfred Wegener Institute expanded his range in climate and environment. Now a professor at the University of Bern, he focuses on the chemistry and physics of ice cores as archives of climate change and global biogeochemical systems.

Hubertus’s team has quantified changes in atmospheric greenhouse gases including their isotopes over timescales and with resolution previously impossible. Hubertus has also developed precise ice core records of chemical aerosol tracers that constrain changes in source and atmospheric circulation. His technical innovations include the use of new mass spectrometric techniques, continuous-flow ice melting, and ice sublimation analysis systems. He has shown that every Dansgaard-Oeschger event in Greenland had an Antarctic counterpart and has illuminated source budgets and exchange processes of greenhouse gases.

Hubertus is a generous community leader. A longtime steering committee member of EuroPICS and IPICS (European/International Partnerships in Ice Core Sciences), he was recently elected cochair. He also cochaired the International Geosphere–Biosphere Programme (IGBP)/Future Earth project Past Global Changes (PAGES). He provided leadership for the European EPICA ice-coring project and the new “Oldest Ice Project,” which seeks to recover million-year-old ice from Antarctica.

Still accelerating at midcareer, Hubertus is among the world’s leaders in paleoclimatology, a community builder, and a warm and generous supporter of students and fellow researchers around the world. Willi Dansgaard would be thrilled to see his pioneering legacy carried on and expanded so elegantly by Hubertus.


—Alan C. Mix, Oregon State University, Corvallis