King Receives 2012 Geodesy Section Award

Matt A. King received the 2012 Geodesy Section Award at the 2012 AGU Fall Meeting, held 3–7 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is given in recognition of major advances in geodesy.


KingWe have known Matt for more than a decade, since shortly after he completed his Ph.D. research at the University of Tasmania, Australia, in 2001 and relocated to Newcastle University, U.K. His work has concerned geodetic applications in solid Earth and cryospheric studies, with his pioneering use of precise Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) in glaciology especially notable. His research has involved novel and fruitful studies to mitigate a range of GNSS error phenomena, particularly subdaily errors related to tides and multipath and their biasing effects on longer-term coordinate time series. From these technical insights, Matt and collaborating glaciologists have made groundbreaking discoveries of the nonlinear behavior of glaciers and ice streams. His current research efforts focus on constraining Antarctic Holocene deglaciation and Earth rheology through measurements of glacial isostatic adjustment (GIA), with an end goal of improving our understanding of the present-day ice mass balance.

Matt is a tireless collaborator and has been unstinting in his efforts on behalf of the community and with training the next generation of “cryogeodesists” by leading workshops at UNAVCO and in Europe and by supporting students. He has also been a strong mentor to other early-stage researchers at Newcastle and elsewhere. His community leadership includes serving AGU by chairing the Fall AGU Geodesy Program Committee (2009–2010) and leading Newcastle’s hosting of the International GNSS Service Workshop 2010. He proposed and chaired COST Action ES0701 (2008–2012), a research network of around 80 European geodesists and modelers of GIA, and, similarly, the Detection of Offsets in GPS community Experiment (DOGEx). He is now leading the International Association of Geodesy (IAG) subcommission on cryospheric deformation.

His earlier research has been recognized with a Philip Leverhulme Prize and several personal research fellowships, and we are delighted to see him receive this award—we can think of no better recipient for 2012.

—PETER CLARKE, School of Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Newcastle University, Newcastle, UK; and SRIDHAR ANANDAKRISHNAN, Department of Geosciences, Pennsylvania State University, University Park


It is a great honor to receive the AGU section award. After a fairly unpromising start to my undergraduate studies at the University of Tasmania I gained an interest in geodesy under the instruction of Richard Coleman, with whom I later completed a Ph.D. and to whom I give significant credit for this award.

My work with Richard involved applying geodetic techniques to the study of the dynamics of an Antarctic ice shelf. Some of our new GPS data exhibited unexpected periodic variations in the horizontal coordinate components. As a group we identified that some of these signals were entirely spurious due to incorrect GPS processing strategies conventionally applied in glaciological studies and then developed improved analysis strategies.

Around the time I finished my Ph.D., I was blessed to be connected to leading glaciologists investigating similar phenomena—notably Bob Bindschadler and Sridhar Anandakrishnan—by a former University of Tasmania (UTAS) colleague, Helen Fricker. Those connections were extremely fruitful and led to further rewarding collaborations with other glaciologists in the United States, the United Kingdom, and the rest of Europe.

My time within the geodesy group at Newcastle University has been especially rewarding. They took a chance on appointing a young postdoc from the other side of the world, and I’d like to thank them for that and then giving me the opportunity to pursue my own research interests as well as learn from, and collaborate with, them. More recently, and not far from Newcastle at Durham University, I’ve worked with another set of fantastic collaborators, namely, Mike Bentley and Pippa Whitehouse, on the problem of Antarctic GIA as it pertains to the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE).

It’s been an honor to work with such good scientists while having such fun times. But most of all, I’d like to thank my wife, Julia, and our children for supporting me.

—MATT A. KING, School of Geography and Environmental Studies, University of Tasmania, Hobart, Tasmania, Australia