Subedi Receives 2017 Donald L. Turcotte Award

Prachanda Subedi will receive the 2017 Donald L. Turcotte Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. This award is given annually to a recent Ph.D. recipient for “outstanding dissertation research that contributes directly to nonlinear geophysics.”



Prachanda Subedi received his B.S. degree in physics from East Central University in Ada, Okla. After completing his bachelor’s degree, he enrolled at the University of Delaware, where he received a Ph.D. in space physics in 2017. His Ph.D. work was done under the supervision of William Matthaeus. His research interests include turbulence, space plasma, magnetohydrodynamics, and transport theory.

Schaefer Receives 2017 Natural Hazards Focus Group Award for Graduate Research

Lauren N. Schaefer will be awarded the 2017 Natural Hazards Focus Group Award for Graduate Research. She will be formally presented with the award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. This award recognizes “one or more promising young scientists engaged in studies of natural hazards and risks” and is given “in recognition of outstanding contributions achieved during their Ph.D. (or highest equivalent terminal degree) research.”

Lauren N. Schaefer received a B.S. in environmental geoscience from DePauw University in 2009, an M.S. in geology from Michigan Technological University in 2012, and a Ph.D. in engineering geology from Michigan Technological University in 2016. Her graduate research, advised by Dr. Thomas Oommen, investigated collapse hazards at volcanoes using remote sensing, experimental rock mechanics, and numerical modeling. During her graduate studies, she received a NASA Earth and Space Science Fellowship, an NSF EAPSI Fellowship, a Michigan Space Grant Consortium Fellowship, and several AEG Foundation grants. She is currently a postdoctoral research fellow with Dr. Ben Kennedy at the University of Canterbury, investigating rock physics in geothermal systems, the conditions and triggers of mass flows, and earthquake-induced landslides. She was nominated for the award by Dr. Oommen.

Karnauskas Receives 2017 Ocean Sciences Early Career Award

Kristopher B. Karnauskas will receive the 2017 Ocean Sciences Early Career Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award recognizes “significant contributions to and promise in the ocean sciences.”


AGU has recognized Prof. Kristopher B. Karnauskas with the 2017 Ocean Sciences Early Career Award “for important contributions to better understanding the tropical oceans and atmosphere.” Kris is a member of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, and the School of Public Health at the University of Colorado. Kris also serves as editor of the Journal of Geophysical Research: Oceans and is on the Scientific Steering Committee of the U.S. CLIVAR Program.

Kris’s interdisciplinary research bridges oceanography and atmospheric science as well as marine ecosystems and human health. His most significant work is on the equatorial Pacific Ocean, which has influenced physical oceanography, climate modeling, and conservation policy. Building on ideas going back to his Ph.D. thesis, Kris and his colleagues recently shed new light on the unique and complex relationship between equatorial dynamics, island ecosystems, and the broader coupled climate system. This work shows that climatic changes over the past 35 years have expanded the upwelling near the Galápagos, helping endangered penguins double their population, and that the geologic development of a key part of the Galápagos archipelago about 1.6 million years ago profoundly altered the equatorial circulation, yielding nutrients prompting the famous biodiversity of the islands.

Looking upward, Kris found that 73% of small island nations, supporting a population of 18 million people, are likely to experience significant drying as the climate warms. Kris and a former postdoc devised a new tool for predicting seasonal hurricane activity with remarkable hindcast performance and a successful first real-time forecast in 2016.

Kris loves teaching undergraduates and leading his research group. He mentors postdoctoral and graduate students, as well as undergraduate and even local high school students. His lab frequently hosts underrepresented students through National Center for Atmospheric Research and University of Colorado summer programs.


—Brian Toon, University of Colorado Boulder


Thank you, Brian, for the generous citation. I am humbled to receive the Ocean Sciences Early Career Award. I have far too many mentors and colleagues to thank. Tony Busalacchi, Raghu Murtugudde, Sumant Nigam, Richard Seager, Alexey Kaplan, Mark Cane, Yochanan Kushnir, Jon Martin, Steve Ackerman, Tim Schmit, Jeff Donnelly, Anne Cohen, Peter Brewer, and Cora Randall have all helped me immeasurably during my early career. In addition, the studies mentioned above would not have been possible without contributions by Chris Brown, Stephanie Jenouvrier, Eric Mittelstaedt, Kevin Anchukaitis, and Laifang Li.

We Earth scientists are working in a different political and social climate today than any I have known professionally. Resting somewhere between the incoming generation of climate scientists and the established, not to mention standing in front of crowds of undergraduates who dream boldly, I see concern on people’s faces every day. So let me offer some levity.

Attending a recent Fall Meeting, exhausted and bleary-eyed from endless poster discussions, I was headed toward the exit. Over my shoulder, I caught a familiar face. Easily one of the most famous oceanographers alive—past AGU president, chief architect of the TAO array, fellow and chair of just about everything at some point—Mike McPhaden was not checking his email or rubbing elbows with other people in sport coats. Sitting at a table amid the chaos, he was just taking a moment to himself to enjoy the beguilement of a colorful plot of real, live data from out in the ocean. I thought to myself, now that’s what I want when I’m, ahem, not early career anymore. I dream to still get just as excited and puzzled by the ocean and its role in climate as today. Let us always remember why we decided to become Earth scientists. It’s really fun.


—Kristopher B. Karnauskas, University of Colorado Boulder

Webb Receives 2017 Ocean Sciences Award

Douglas Webb will receive the 2017 Ocean Sciences 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 “outstanding leadership or service to the ocean sciences.”


Doug arrived at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI) in 1962. Soon after, with encouragement from Henry Stommel, he began to explore the possibility of using the global deep sound or SOFAR channel to deploy and track neutrally buoyant floats over 1,000-kilometer distances. This wasn’t just an exciting idea; it was a revolutionary concept. Twenty SOFAR floats were deployed to great success to study the mesoscale eddy field in the Mid-Ocean Dynamics Experiment (MODE) in 1973. Many SOFAR float studies followed, including one to tag and track a Mediterranean salt lens for 3 years. During those years, many cutting-edge technologies emerged from Doug’s lab including the vector-averaging current meter (VACM) and the Neil Brown CTD.

The next major leap was the Autonomous Lagrangian Circulation Explorer (ALACE), which he initiated with Russ Davis at Scripps Institution. Conceived originally as a nonacoustic Lagrangian float, it evolved into the profiling Argo float, with nearly 4,000 of these deployed around the world profiling temperature and salinity every 10 days. The Argo float has been truly transformative; we now want to reach deeper and profile chemistry and biology as well!

Doug also is the godfather of the glider, another transformative platform that uses variations in buoyancy for its horizontal propulsion. Equipped with CTDs and other sensors, it glides through the ocean sampling the vertical and horizontal structure of the top kilometer of the ocean. The interest in these tools compelled Doug to start his own company; it was so successful he was bought out! There is no mistaking Doug’s contributions to modern observational oceanography. Through his own work and through his leadership, Doug Webb has played a truly central role in the development of the vast array of tools we have today for probing the global ocean water column.


—Tom Rossby, University of Rhode Island, Narragansett


I am grateful to the AGU Ocean Sciences section for this award, and to Tom Rossby, a valued colleague and friend since the mid-1960s, for his kind words in his citation.

Bringing to life new tools for global ocean observation involves many people from laboratories and research centers around the world. In receiving this award, I wish to acknowledge the contribution of them all. They include the designers and builders of the tools and the scientists who accepted the risk of using novel instruments. For junior scientists, whose futures depend on reliable and useful results, this is a special risk.

Of all these colleagues, I would particularly like to note the importance of Henry Stommel’s enthusiasm and support for the development of many ideas over the course of 3 decades.

Thank you for this wonderful award for a lifetime of fun and challenging work.


—Douglas Webb, Teledyne Webb Research, North Falmouth, Mass.

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

Malin Receives 2017 Whipple Award

Michael C. Malin will receive the 2017 Whipple Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award recognizes “an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in the field of planetary science.”



Dr. Michael Malin is the 2017 recipient of the Whipple Award, the highest honor given by the Planetary Sciences section of AGU. His paradigm-breaking leadership in planet exploration and instrument development laid the foundation for modern views of the rich geologic history of Mars.

Malin trained as a geomorphologist at the California Institute of Technology during the Mariner 9 mission. His interests span the inner solar system and icy satellites of Jupiter and Saturn, including pioneering studies of the volcanic origin of the intracrater plains on Mercury and mass wasting on Venus. Malin’s primary focus has been on Mars, and he argued that Viking Orbiter images at quarter-kilometer scale significantly limited image-based geological studies of Mars. He campaigned strongly and persistently for better instrumentation.

In 1986, Malin’s proposed Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) for the Mars Observer mission was selected by NASA. After that mission failed, the MOC flew on the Mars Global Surveyor (MGS) spacecraft and provided about 2 orders of magnitude better resolution than the Viking Orbiter cameras. This innovative imaging system, collecting image data one line at a time as spacecraft motion swept out the field of view, transformed our understanding of the Martian surface.

Between Mars Observer selection and MGS’s successful arrival at Mars in 1997, Malin received a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, and left academia. The fellowship provided him resources to establish Malin Space Science Systems (MSSS), a company that since Viking, has contributed imaging systems to most major missions to Mars and changed the paradigm for low-cost, high-performance space mission cameras.

Malin’s foresight and conviction paved the way for many discoveries. He is most appreciated for his unprecedented study of the sedimentary record on Mars. Previously, Mars had been considered a principally volcanic planet, with water-ice caps and cratered highlands. With MOC images, Malin mapped diverse sedimentary environments on Mars and identified previously unrecognized geologic processes, including relief inversion, lacustrine environments, and subaqueous processes. His careful observations have been a catalyst for modern views of the dynamic surface environment on Mars.

The planetary science community honors Dr. Malin for his research accomplishments, engineering talent, and spirit of exploration.

—Sarah T. Stewart, University of California, Davis


I am deeply honored, and very surprised, to be named the Whipple awardee and lecturer. As a person who sees the proverbial glass half empty, and who is often harshly critical of the work of colleagues and myself, it took extraordinary commitment for someone to nominate me and for others to write letters of support of sufficient quality to result in this award. I thank them all for putting in the time and effort.

In my first draft of this response, I assembled a timeline of the people who were instrumental to my career. That effort exceeded the response word limit by greater than 2 times. Herein follows a ranking by degree of impact on me of these people. I apologize to those who didn’t make this arbitrary cut.

I am most indebted to Bruce Murray (my advisor), Bob Sharp, and Gene Shoemaker of Caltech, who set examples beyond my ability to emulate and provided encouragement and intellectual challenges that shaped my approach to science. The collaborations with Murray (as his student), and Sharp thereafter (as a colleague), stimulated some of my most productive and imaginative efforts.

My greatest fortune was meeting and being befriended by G. Edward Danielson, an innovative engineer at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory with superb people skills, an ability I did not possess and couldn’t easily attain. Our collaboration ultimately led to the successful Mars Orbiter Camera (MOC) effort, for which Ed, then at Caltech, assembled and managed a team of bright, young, gifted, and iconoclastic engineers including Tom Soulanille, Mike Ravine, and Scott Brylow, and I recruited to ASU Diana Michna and Mike Caplinger, who became the core of Malin Space Science Systems. Without these associates, my signature scientific achievements would never have been made.

My most productive and rewarding collaboration has been with Ken Edgett, who shared essentially all of the major discoveries and advances made using MOC.

My career also benefited from dealing with imaginative and courageous administrators who saw within my many flawed proposals the kernels of potential, despite wildly disparate reviews. Burt Edelson, Steve Dwornik, Bill Quaide at NASA HQ, Mort Turner at the National Science Foundation, Glenn Cunningham and Tom Thorpe at JPL, and Arden Albee at Caltech were the “customers” that enabled my work.

—Michael C. Malin, Malin Space Science Systems, Inc., San Diego, Calif.

Jacobson Receives 2017 Ronald Greeley Early Career Award in Planetary Science

Seth A. Jacobson will receive the 2017 Ronald Greeley Early Career Award in Planetary Science at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award recognizes “significant early career contributions to planetary science.”



The Ronald Greeley Early Career Award is named for pioneering planetary scientist Ronald Greeley. Ron was involved in nearly every major planetary mission from the 1970s until his death and was extraordinarily active in service to the planetary science community. Ron’s greatest legacies, however, are those he mentored through the decades, and it is young scientists whose work and promise we seek to recognize. This year’s Greeley award winner is Seth Jacobson, an assistant professor at Northwestern University.

Seth received his Ph.D. in astrophysical and planetary sciences from the University of Colorado Boulder in 2012 for work in asteroid dynamics including the evolution and formation of binary asteroids. His work on rotational fission of small bodies explains many of the observed dynamical properties and classes of near-Earth asteroids.

In his postdoctoral work at Nice Observatory, Seth has focused on major problems in terrestrial planet formation. By combining N-body simulations and geochemical and geophysical observations, Seth has made important contributions to our general understanding of the formation of the inner solar system and the Earth–Moon system. By combining observations of siderophile elements in Earth’s mantle with planet accretion models, Seth proposed a “cosmic clock” that relates the timescale for planet growth to the amount of residual primitive material and used it to constrain the age of the Moon-forming giant impact. Seth’s work on understanding rocky planet accretion and differentiation as concurrent processes sheds light on the differences between Venus and Earth, including Venus’s lack of a magnetic field.

In the words of a senior colleague, Seth is a “volcano of ideas.” Seth’s dynamism, curiosity, and creativity have established him as a young leader in planet formation research. The planetary science community congratulates Seth Jacobson for his outstanding early-career achievements.

—Sarah T. Stewart, University of California, Davis


It’s an honor to be selected by the Planetary Sciences section of AGU for the Ronald Greeley Early Career Award. I appreciate the recognition from the awarding committee and those who nominated me. One of the most influential undergraduate courses in my career was built around Ron’s book Planetary Surfaces and a field trip to look at terrestrial analogues in northern Arizona.

Throughout my education and my nascent career, the planetary science community has always been welcoming and encouraging to me. From far above Cayuga’s waters to the Flatirons, the Côte d’Azur, and now the shores of Lake Michigan, I have found inspiring colleagues willing to share their success with me, as well as lasting friendships. Particularly, I am thankful to planetary science for introducing me to Patrick, Catherine, Briony, Jay, Toshi, Christine, Robbie, Paul, Erik, Matija, Aurélien, Bert, Josef, Michiel, Federica, and Steve. I am also especially grateful to my advisors over the years: Jean-Luc, Dan, Dave, and Morby, as well as our colleagues at Cornell, Colorado, Bayreuth, and Nice Observatory.

I would like to dedicate this award to my wife, who always impresses me by her ability to find success in adversity and face changes bravely. I am also grateful to my family for their support of my career.

As I advance in my career, I plan to honor Ron’s legacy with a commitment to mentorship and service to the planetary science community. I will work to make the field of planetary science as welcoming and encouraging to everyone as it has been to me.

—Seth A. Jacobson, Northwestern University, Evanston, Ill.

Hudnut Receives 2017 Ivan I. Mueller Award for Distinguished Service and Leadership

Kenneth Hudnut will receive the 2017 Ivan I. Mueller Award for Distinguished Service and Leadership at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award acknowledges “major achievements in service to and/or leadership within the field of geodesy.”


“Ken Hudnut has been a leading model of scientific leadership and public service for almost 3 decades. His pioneering use of high-precision GPS techniques has contributed to the understanding of seismic fault structures and behavior. He played an important leadership role in the design of the modernized GPS L1C signal, which will improve the worldwide services provided by GPS to billions of users. Finally, his work with the U.S. Geological Survey continues to contribute to the management and reduction of risks arising from earthquakes and other national hazards, to the benefit of the public.”

– Dr. Scott Pace, Executive Secretary of the National Space Council

Ken dedicated much of his research career to serving the geodetic community, often working at the highest levels behind the scenes, to ensure that researchers and society would benefit from geodesy. Through Ken’s vision and leadership, we learned that it was possible to install a continuous GPS network (SCIGN) dedicated to understanding tectonic processes and how airborne lidar could characterize tectonic deformation B4 and after an earthquake. Ken has become the bridge between the Earth science and emergency response communities, communicating hard science to decision makers and educating the public with ShakeOut earthquake drills. In 2016, 28 regions and more than 55 million people participated worldwide.

Ken’s most significant contribution to science and society will be realized with the launch of the Block III GPS satellites. Ken co-led the design of the GPS L1C signal. The L1C signal will be stronger and more ionosphere resistant with improved accuracy in challenging environments and will enable low-power phase positioning on small devices. When the L1C begins broadcasting, the global community, including 6.1 billion smartphone users, will appreciate the improved GPS experience, but few will realize that our AGU Geodesy section colleague Ken Hudnut is the one to thank.

—Dr. Gerald Bawden, NASA, USA


I thank the AGU Geodesy section, especially President Susan Owen and President-elect Meghan Miller, and particularly Gerald Bawden and others who supported this nomination, for the honor of being selected for this year’s Ivan I. Mueller Award. I never expected such recognition and am humbled, especially by Scott Pace’s kind words. I owe thanks to many more colleagues and friends than I can mention.

First, I thank my grandmother, Olive W. Smith, Ph.D. (biochemist), who encouraged my scientific curiosity. Later, Dick Stoiber taught me about volcanoes and Jim Savage showed me how to use geodesy to study them, and earthquake-related deformation. John Beavan, Kerry Sieh, Will Prescott, Nano Seeber, Tom Rockwell, and Mike Bevis guided and worked with me to explore new ways to mix geodesy, geology, GPS, and imagery to study the San Andreas Fault system. Earthquakes also inspired me; the significant earthquakes of 1987, 1992, 1994, 1999, and 2010 each helped identify how we needed to keep improving our observations before future big events. Over the years, with Hiroo Kanamori, Don Helmberger, Tom Heaton, and Joann Stock and their talented students and postdocs, we imagined how improved observations could answer questions concerning fault rupture and how it relates to ground motions, displacements, permanent deformation, and transient effects. Recently, pushing lidar’s limits with Ben Brooks and Craig Glennie has been exciting.

At the U.S. Geological Survey, leaders allowed me free rein to pursue collaborative projects. It is gratifying that Scott and Gerald mentioned notable examples of teamwork with SCIGN, B4 lidar, the GPS L1C signal, scenarios, and risk reduction. This award promotes teamwork that, in turn, fuels the innovative thinking needed to answer big scientific questions that remain.

Finally, I thank Dana Coyle and our children, Alexa, Olivia, and Brock, for their love and support.

—Kenneth Hudnut, U.S. Geological Survey, Pasadena, Calif.

Randerson Receives 2017 Piers J. Sellers Global Environmental Change Mid-Career Award

James Randerson is the inaugural honoree of the Piers J. Sellers Global Environmental Change Mid-Career Award of the American Geophysical Union’s Global Environmental Change focus group. He will receive the award at the 2017 AGU Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award recognizes a scientist or team of midcareer scientists “for outstanding contributions in research, educational, or societal impacts in the area of global environmental change, especially through interdisciplinary approaches.”


Jim Randerson is the perfect candidate for the Piers J. Sellers Global Environmental Change Mid-Career Award. Over the nearly 20 years between completing his Ph.D. at Stanford to his current position as Chancellor’s Professor of Earth System Science at UC Irvine, Jim’s professional ascent and scientific contributions have been nothing short of phenomenal, not unlike those of Piers in the period between completing his Ph.D. and entering the NASA astronaut program.

Jim’s research focuses on the interactions between the terrestrial biosphere and Earth’s climate system, investigating the effects of climate on ecosystems and also the feedbacks of terrestrial ecosystems on global and regional climate as mediated by processes such as disturbance, albedo, and carbon dioxide exchange. The breadth of his research ranges from fine-scale controls on wildfire in southern California, Alaska, and Brazil, to continental-scale patterns of wildfire emissions as radiative forcings on climate and energy budgets, to global models and syntheses of the Earth’s terrestrial carbon exchange.

He is prolific, influential, and broadly engaged in a range of interdisciplinary Earth system science research endeavors around the world. He has accomplished this through the excellence of his own research as well as an extensive set of collaborations with the very best scientists working to understand and quantify the changing biosphere. This is very much like Piers’s legacy in bringing together a broad team of top-notch scientists to rapidly advance interdisciplinary research of the Earth system in the 1980s and 1990s. Also like Piers, Jim has been a mentor to many students and early-career scientists who have gone on to excel in their own careers.

Having had the good fortune and pleasure to work with Piers, I am certain he would be pleased to have an award in his name being conferred upon Jim.

Burney, Campbell, Gentine, and Lin Receive 2017 Global Environmental Change Early Career Award

Jennifer Burney, Elliott Campbell, Pierre Gentine, and Jintai Lin will receive the 2017 Global Environmental Change Early Career Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award recognizes an early-career scientist “for outstanding contributions in research, educational, or societal impacts in the area of global environmental change, especially through interdisciplinary approach.”

See Links for Individual Citations

Jennifer Burney 

Elliot Campbell

Pierre Gentine                                                                         

Jintai Lin