Komar Receives 2016 Basu United States Early Career Award for Research Excellence in Sun-Earth Systems Science

Colin Komar will receive the 2016 Basu United States Early Career Award for Research Excellence in Sun-Earth Systems Science at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. This award is given annually to one early-career scientist (no more than 3 years post-degree) from the United States in recognition of significant work that shows the focus and promise of making outstanding contributions to research in Sun-Earth systems science that further the understanding of both plasma physical processes and their applications for the benefit of society.

Colin received his B.S. in physics from Illinois Wesleyan University in 2008 and an M.S. in physics from West Virginia University in 2010. He completed his Ph.D. in physics under the supervision of Paul Cassak at West Virginia University in Morgantown, W.Va. His research interests include magnetic reconnection at Earth’s dayside magnetopause, dynamics of Earth’s radiation belts, the ring current, ionospheric outflow, and the feedback mechanisms that exist among these magnetospheric systems.

Yeo Receives 2016 Fred L. Scarf Award

Kok Leng Yeo will receive the Fred L. Scarf Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. This award is given annually to one honoree in recognition of an outstanding dissertation that contributes directly to solar-planetary science.


The variation in the radiative output of the Sun, described in terms of solar irradiance, is critical to climatology, especially as climate models rely on model reconstructions of historical solar irradiance variability. The work of Kok Leng Yeo has led to major advances in our understanding of the physics underlying solar irradiance variability and the model reconstruction of historical solar irradiance variability. He advanced our understanding of the role played by small-scale magnetic features on the solar surface, uncovered why the two main approaches taken in existing models diverge in the ultraviolet, produced what is the most accurate reconstruction of solar irradiance variability over the past few decades, and set the groundwork for more advanced models that will, unlike existing models, not require free parameters.

—Natalie Krivova and Sami Solanki, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen, Germany


I would like to thank the award committee and the Space Physics and Aeronomy section of AGU for this honor.

My gratitude goes out to Yvonne Unruh, Natalie Krivova, and Sami Solanki. After finishing my master’s with Yvonne (Imperial College London) back in 2004, I worked in the industry for six years. Without her encouragement, I would not have thought that a career in science was still possible after such a long hiatus. She recommended me to Natalie and Sami at the Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research. They took me on as a Ph.D. student knowing full well that I have no background in solar physics. As my supervisors, they have supported me in every manner possible, well beyond what I can ask. In spite of my weaknesses and mistakes, they have never wavered in their trust in my ideas and my research. I count it one of the greatest blessings in my life to be able to do something for a living that brings me fulfilment in the company of like-minded individuals. None of this would have been possible without Yvonne, Natalie, or Sami. Thank you for everything.

—Kok Leng Yeo, Max Planck Institute for Solar System Research, Göttingen, Germany

Olwendo Receives 2016 Basu Early Career Award in Sun-Earth Systems Science

Joseph Olwendo will receive the Sunanda and Santimay Basu Early Career Award in Sun-Earth Systems Science. He will present a talk and will be formally presented with the award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif.

Joseph Olwendo received his B.Sc. and M.Sc. in theoretical physics in 2005 and 2008, respectively, from the University of Nairobi. He got his Ph.D. in space physics under the supervision of Paul Baki from Pwani University, Kilifi (Kenya) in 2014. His research interest has been on equatorial ionospheric dynamics and ionospheric plasma density irregularities using GNSS signals over the East African sector. He also works on ionospheric model validation and navigation applications and, since 2015, has been visiting the International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP) on a short-term basis in his capacity as a junior associate scientist. At ICTP he works with NeQuick 2 model research group under Sandro M. Radicella.

Zhan Receives 2016 Keiiti Aki Young Scientist Award

Zhongwen Zhan will receive the 2016 Keiiti Aki Young Scientist Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes the scientific accomplishments of a young scientist who makes outstanding contributions to the advancement of seismology.


Dr. Zhongwen Zhan received his bachelor’s and master’s degrees in the Special Class for the Gifted Young from the University of Science and Technology of China in Hefei, and his Ph.D. from the California Institute of Technology in 2013. As a graduate student, he received several outstanding student presentation awards from the AGU. After a 2-year postdoctoral appointment at the University of California, San Diego, he joined the Caltech Faculty in 2015.

Zhongwen has published an exceptional number of papers on a wide range of topics in both source and structural seismology. He has developed detailed images of rupture complexity for deep focus earthquakes and in doing so uncovered clear evidence for supershear rupture propagation based on the difference in pulse-width for downgoing versus surface-reflected phases. He has constrained the sharpness of seismic wavespeed anomalies in subduction zones and demonstrated that tomographic images greatly underpredict the strength of those anomalies. He is one of the first to demonstrate the existence of reflected body-wave arrivals in observations of the ambient seismic field using array beam-forming of ambient-field measurements to discern reflections off both the Moho and the core. While his research portfolio is already broad, he is working to broaden it further through studies of intermediate-depth earthquakes and the seismological signature of cryospheric processes.

Zhongwen Zhan is a creative and exceptionally productive scientist who is making significant contributions to a wide range of seismological problems. He is a worthy choice for the Aki award, which recognizes the significance of his early-career accomplishments, and anticipates further outstanding contributions in the future.

—Gregory C. Beroza, Stanford University, Stanford, Calif.


I am very honored to receive the Aki award of this year. I am deeply indebted to many mentors, collaborators, and friends. I thank Sidao Ni and Don Helmberger for bringing me to the field of seismology and teaching me the art of reading seismograms. I have benefited greatly from inspiring collaborations with Hiroo Kanamori, Mark Simons, Rob Clayton, Peter Shearer, and Victor Tsai over the years. I am also grateful for the very supportive environment at Caltech allowing me to pursue new research directions.

As a seismologist, I enjoy reading the wiggles. Nowadays, numerous seismograms can be accessed easily, thanks to the unselfish seismology community and progresses in technology. Meanwhile, the explosion of data also poses new challenges and opportunities to the old art of seismogram reading. I would like to thank all the pioneers, inside or outside the field of seismology, for developing new ways of analyzing large amounts of seismic waveforms. I hope more young seismologists can continue to read seismograms, invent new methods, and bring the art of seismogram reading to a new level.

—Zhongwen Zhan, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena

Spencer Receives 2016 Whipple Award

John Spencer will receive the 2016 Whipple Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes an individual who has made an outstanding contribution in the field of planetary science.


Dr. John Spencer is the 2016 recipient of the Whipple Award, the highest honor given by the American Geophysical Union Planetary Sciences section. Dr. Spencer’s contributions to the exploration and understanding of satellites in the solar system have had a profound influence on the field of planetary science.

Dr. Spencer is a gifted astronomer, who specializes in multispectral observations from ground-based telescopes to spacecraft. He has probed atmospheric compositions, measured tidal heat output, and chased the seasonal dance of surface frosts across the outer solar system. Dr. Spencer’s research into the thermal and physical properties of planetary surfaces has shed light on the most remote terrains.

Dr. Spencer’s research on Io has been vital to our understanding of Jupiter’s intensely volcanic moon. Most notably, his discovery of S2 gas in the large plume, Pele, has been key in constraining Io’s interior chemistry. By exploring Io from multiple flyby spacecraft and from Hubble to monitor major volcanic eruptions and to map global thermal emission, his research has been crucial in constraining Io’s energy budget.

Using Cassini data, Dr. Spencer was first to recognize that excess thermal energy is radiating from the “tiger stripes” region near Enceladus’s south pole from which its plumes erupt. His estimation of the total flux has led to insights into the internal structure, energetics driving the plume, character of the internal ocean, and Enceladus’s tidal evolution.

Dr. Spencer’s leadership on Galileo, Cassini, and now New Horizons has trained a new generation of scientists in rigorous analysis techniques and innovative observing strategies. Dr. Spencer’s enthusiastic support of the planetary community includes chairing the Satellites panel for the last Decadal Survey and laying the groundwork for the Europa mission.

The planetary science community honors Dr. Spencer for his research accomplishments, community spirit, and intense curiosity. We look forward to your discoveries on Europa and the Kuiper Belt!

—Sarah T. Stewart, University of California, Davis


I’m delighted (and amazed) to receive this honor, all the more so given the list of past recipients, which includes so many of my heroes. Like previous winner Steve Squyres, I wanted to be Larry Soderblom when I grew up—maybe this is a common condition among planetary scientists. Many others have made my career possible through their mentoring and inspiration. Pete Schultz in particular stands out for taking the chance of inviting a Lancashire lad to join the summer intern program at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in 1978, and showing me how much fun the process of discovery could be. Alan Stern also deserves special mention—my attempts to keep up with him have led me on an exhilarating and truly spectacular ride to Pluto and beyond. I will also always be grateful to Lowell Observatory and Southwest Research Institute for providing such congenial environments for my explorations.

The exploration of the solar system is one of humanity’s greatest adventures, revealing the beauty and wonder and interconnectedness of so many worlds, and showing what is special and precious about our own planet. It has been a great privilege to have been part of this enterprise during a time that will arguably be seen as its golden age.

—John Spencer, Southwest Research Institute, Boulder, Colo.

Kite Receives 2016 Ronald Greeley Early Career Award in Planetary Science

Edwin Kite will receive the 2016 Ronald Greeley Early Career Award in Planetary Science at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes significant early-career contributions to planetary science.


The 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 Edwin Kite, an assistant professor at the University of Chicago. Edwin received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 2011.

Edwin’s research topics focus on the roots of planetary habitability, from the deepest crevasses on Enceladus to the farthest Earth-like exoplanets. Edwin’s research style is in a category of its own. He uniquely blends geological and geophysical tools to uniquely tackle the question at hand.

Edwin has applied models of atmospheric breakup of meteoroids to estimate the ancient atmospheric pressure on Mars. By using the record of small impact craters on ancient river valleys, he found an upper limit of about 0.9 bars. With such a low atmospheric pressure, a CO2 greenhouse would not be able to support stable liquid water on the surface. This novel study is a critical contribution to the debate over a cold, wet or warm, wet early Mars.

Edwin’s studies of the geysers on Saturn’s tiny moon Enceladus have explained how tides can maintain water-filled fissures in connection with the subsurface ocean. The eruptions provide direct access to material from the subsurface ocean. His work finds that the eruptions can be sustained for millions of years.

Edwin’s curiosity and creativity are boundless. He infects his collaborators and colleagues with the joy of chasing fresh ideas and finding the unexpected.

The planetary science community congratulates Edwin for his many early-career achievements.

—Sarah T. Stewart, University of California, Davis


I am honored and encouraged by this award. I’d like to thank my thesis advisor, Michael Manga, and all of the other people who have helped me through mentorship and by being excellent role models: in particular, Eugene Chiang, Heather Knutson, Bill Dietrich, and Frederik Simons. I’d like to thank my officemates, fellow grad students, and collaborators—especially Eric Gaidos, Mike Lamb, and Allan Rubin—for providing constant intellectual stimulation. One of the things that makes planetary geoscience fun is that we need to go after problems with both a historical, forensic approach—what happened here and why? —and also a physicist’s approach—how can this system teach us about general principles? This can be hard! Fortunately, the literature is well stocked with examples of how to do both, and I’m grateful to all those senior scientists whose papers (like the work of Ron Greeley) serve as an example, a spur, and a helping hand to early-career people. You know who you are! Now that I’m happily ensconced at the University of Chicago, I’m focused on the processes that sustain habitable planets. We don’t know the answer to the question—how many living planets are there currently? But I’m encouraged to think that in future the answer will be “as many as there can be.” Finally, I would like to thank my friends and family.

—Edwin Kite, University of Chicago, Chicago, Ill.

McManus Receives 2016 Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology Dansgaard Award

Jerry McManus will receive the Dansgaard Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif., as selected by a Dansgaard Award selection committee. 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.


In the almost two decades since he received his Ph.D., Jerry McManus has led a global effort to understand the influence of past climate change on the world’s oceans. Of exceptional quality and quantity, Jerry’s research is essentially the marine complement of Willi Dansgaard’s groundbreaking work on ice cores, making Jerry truly an apt candidate for this particular award. Jerry has had an enormous influence on the field of paleoclimatology and paleoceanography, and his insights into the mechanisms of natural climate variability on orbital to millennial timescales are of great relevance to the understanding of current anthropogenic climate change.

Early in his career, Jerry used high-resolution geochemical and sedimentological data from the North Atlantic to show how the oceanography and circulation of this region were linked to atmospheric changes observed in ice cores. A powerful series of papers documented the behavior of North Atlantic sea surface temperatures as well as the pattern of iceberg and freshwater delivery to the region. Then, using an innovative application of the Protactinium/Thorium method, he published the first continuous record of deepwater export from the North Atlantic showing that major cooling events such as the Younger Dryas and Heinrich Event 1 were accompanied by a reduction in deepwater export out of the North Atlantic, confirming the links between climate variability at high latitudes and thermohaline circulation. Most recently, he and his students have published groundbreaking papers on Arctic and Atlantic Ocean circulation, migration of the inter-tropical convergence zone/tropical rain belts, and the role of iron fertilization in climate change.

Jerry McManus also has an impressive record of scientific collaboration and international leadership as well as mentorship of junior scientists, including advising over 20 graduate students and postdoctoral scientists. At Columbia University, Jerry has been recognized for his dedication to teaching, including Columbia University Best Faculty Teaching Awards at both the graduate and undergraduate level. In summary, Jerry has made seminal contributions to the study of the abrupt climatic changes that occurred during glacial periods, and he is a leading figure and international authority on the subjects of Heinrich/D-O events, Atlantic thermohaline circulation in the past, and interglacial climates. He is a widely sought after speaker and has an outstanding record of mentorship, teaching, and student training. I cannot think of a more perfect person to be awarded the Willi Dansgaard Award of the AGU.

—Maureen Raymo, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, N.Y.


Thank you to Mo Raymo for her support and gracious comments, and to the AGU Paleoceanography and Paleoclimatology focus group award committee for this selection. I am honored to be considered, although I cannot think of a less perfect person to be awarded the AGU Dansgaard Award. It is certainly thrilling to join the search for climatic insights from clues in the past, yet it is humbling to be well aware of the excellent caliber of my many colleagues and even to be mentioned alongside that namesake pioneer of paleoenvironmental reconstructions.

Paleoceanography and paleoclimatology can be frustrating fields, limited by the quality and quantity of available archives, the persistent inverse problem and the nonunique nature of proxy reconstructions. Yet, they are at the same time truly exciting fields, offering and demonstrating the potential to yield crucial insights into the workings of the climate system and its various components. Past climate explorations are sufficiently established for many important questions to emerge, yet are recent enough in development to allow substantial, fundamental discoveries by even the newest of researchers. For my part, I have had the spectacular good fortune to be guided by inspiring mentors at LDEO and WHOI, to work alongside many brilliant colleagues around the world, and to play a supporting role in the efforts of extraordinary students and postdoctoral investigators. All of these interactions keep me going, amid the exciting realization that we are making real progress and important contributions, step by step, toward a better understanding of the natural world and the place of human beings within it. I look forward to the many great things that will continue to come from the fields of paleoceanography and paleoclimatology.

—Jerry McManus, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, N.Y.

Bopp Receives 2016 Ocean Sciences Voyager Award

Laurent Bopp will receive the 2016 Ocean Sciences Voyager Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is given to mid-career scientists for significant contributions and expanding leadership in ocean sciences.


It is a joy to introduce to you Dr. Laurent Bopp, the recipient of the 2016 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Ocean Sciences Voyager Award. Laurent is an ocean scientist whose curiosity, drive, and wide-ranging interests have led to a diverse range of well-cited publications, e.g., with Laurent being named one of Thompson-Reuters Most Highly Cited researchers in 2015. A prominent modeler of the Earth system, Laurent has published extensively on the carbon cycle, marine productivity, iron, nitrous oxide, deoxygenation, ocean acidification, and associated feedbacks on climate. He has provided first answers to key questions, e.g., how will multiple global stressors affect ocean productivity, fisheries, and ocean carbon and oxygen.

But research is just part of his story. Motivated to teach from a young age, as an undergraduate he attended the school renowned for producing the best French university professors, the Ecole Normale Superior. On the side, he acquired the French certificate to become a university professor, doing so before entering graduate school, a rare feat. Later, with his doctorate in hand, Laurent jumped immediately into teaching in parallel to his research. He currently teaches marine biogeochemistry and climate science to graduate students at three French universities, while at three others, he gives preparatory courses for future professors. And Laurent’s students love him. Laurent’s dozens of graduate students and postdocs have been attracted to his research mostly through his excellence in teaching. And his teaching goes well beyond the university. Besides writing many pieces for the wider public in books and popular science magazines, Laurent has authored two books on the ocean, both for children.

Only in mid-career, Laurent Bopp is a highly influential ocean biogeochemist, research leader, and educator. Let us join in congratulating him as the recipient of the Voyager award.

—James Orr, Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat de l’Environnement, France


Thank you, James, for this laudatory citation—a large part of my start in this research area, I owe it to the confidence that you and Patrick Monfray, my Ph.D. supervisor, showed me when I arrived at Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat de l’Environnement (LSCE) years ago for a master’s research project!

I thank AGU and the Ocean Sciences section for this award. I am deeply honored, but this award also recognizes colleagues, students, and postdocs with whom I have worked over many years.

A scientific career is a human adventure, made of encounters that shape each of our paths. I had the great chance early on to meet Olivier Aumont and Corinne Le Quéré. Both have inspired me throughout my career, and it is a great pleasure to continue working with them. I also thank my close colleagues at LSCE and at Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace, Christian Ethé, Marion Gehlen, James Orr, Marina Lévy, to name a few, with whom I have collaborated in such a constructive way for so many years.

The fruitful interactions with doctoral and postdoctoral students represent an indispensable source of motivation for my research. It is these day-to-day discussions that allow me to move forward and remain passionate about science. It’s wonderful to see many of them, Birgit Schneider, Alessandro Tagliabue, Italo Massotti, Laure Resplandy, becoming professors at leading universities around the world.

An essential part of my job is to convey our science to junior scientists, but also to the general public and especiallly young people. The Surface Ocean-Lower Atmosphere Study (SOLAS) and Integrated Marine Biosphere Research (IMBER) summer schools have been key moments for this transmission of knowledge. The numerous school visits to talk with children about the ocean and climate are also magical moments.

Most importantly, this would have been impossible without the constant support of my wife Annette and my four children.

—Laurent Bopp, Institut Pierre-Simon Laplace, France

Kamer Receives 2016 Donald L. Turcotte Award

Yavor Kamer will receive the 2016 Donald L. Turcotte Award, given annually to recent Ph.D. recipients for outstanding dissertation research that contributes directly to the field of nonlinear geophysics.

Yavor received his B.S. in control engineering in 2007 from Istanbul Technical University and an M.Sc. in control and automation engineering from the same university in 2010, the same year he started an earthquake engineering Ph.D. at Bogazici University. In 2012, he enrolled in ETH Zürich where he received a Ph.D. in earthquake forecasting in 2015. His Ph.D. work was done under the supervision of Didier Sornette, Guy Ouillon, and Edi Kissling. His research interests include statistical seismology, pattern recognition, multifractal analysis, and data-driven model parameterization.

Girona Receives 2016 Natural Hazards Focus Group Award for Graduate Research

Társilo Girona will be awarded the Natural Hazards Focus Group Award for Graduate Research. He will be formally presented with the award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. This award recognizes a promising young scientist 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.

Társilo Girona received undergraduate training from the University of Valencia and the Complutense University of Madrid, the latter being from where he received a bachelor’s degree in physics (2009) and a master’s degree in geophysics and meteorology (2010). During his undergraduate studies, he was awarded by the Spanish National Research Council to perform an internship at the Institute of Earth Sciences Jaume Almera, Barcelona, where he started his career in physical volcanology. In 2010, Társilo received a Singapore International Graduate Award to carry out his Ph.D. at the Earth Observatory of Singapore, an institute of Nanyang Technological University. His doctoral research, advised by Dr. Fidel Costa, focused on understanding the dynamics of frequently erupting volcanoes through new theoretical, computational, and experimental models. After his graduation in 2015, Társilo was a postdoctoral research fellow at the Earth Observatory of Singapore before moving to Georgia Institute of Technology to work with Dr. Chris Huber. Since September 2016, he further develops his postdoctoral research at Brown University. Társilo’s interests include volcanic eruption dynamics and earthquake mechanics, and he aims to contribute in improving the prediction of natural disasters.