Hall Receives the 2016 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award

Alexander D. Hall will receive the 2016 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “research contributions by exceptional mid-career scientists in the fields of atmospheric and climate sciences.”

Citation for Alexander D. Hall

For outstanding contributions to climate feedback studies on global and regional scales, and to public understanding of climate change”

Alex pioneered an approach in using observations to constrain feedback processes in climate models, with profound impacts on the science of climate projection. He laid the foundation for scientific understanding of regional climate of Southern California, addressing such diverse topics as regional modes of variability, land/sea breeze, the Santa Ana winds, and orographic precipitation. Alex has become an outstanding science communicator and public ambassador for climate science, frequently giving lectures at public forums, writing in popular magazines, and testifying at various environment, water, and energy commissions and boards at local and state levels. He was the lead author of a chapter of the 2013 IPCC WG1 5th Assessment Report on climate change science.

An excerpt from one of his support letters reads, “Alex Hall’s pioneering research on emergent constraints initiated an entire field of scientific inquiry. Few climate scientists can claim that their research has had such clear and immediate impact.”

Another one reads, “His article in Playboy magazine is superb—in my opinion simply the best example of a measured, long-term view of the problem facing society. I gave this article to my undergraduate and graduate students for insight, encouragement and inspiration…”

On behalf of the AGU Atmospheric Sciences section, I am pleased to present a 2016 ASCENT Award to Professor Alex Hall.

—William K. M. Lau, President, Atmospheric Sciences section, AGU


Thank you Dr. Lau, for these words and the recognition that goes with them. Thank you to Prof. Kuo-Nan Liou as well, for nominating me for this award. I am deeply honored to receive it. It is amazing to reflect on how many people are involved in developing a person. Too many have helped me to list them all here. But I have to thank my parents and family, for their constant support of me and their consistent encouragement of educational attainment. I have also had some particularly inspiring mentors. My undergraduate advisor Catalin Mitescu introduced me to the wonders of physics, and showed me how satisfying a life of the mind could be. My graduate advisor Suki Manabe introduced me to the exciting world of climate research. He challenged me to meet the highest of scientific standards, and showed me how truly fun climate research can be. I’ve had formative learning experiences working with treasured collaborators, including Amy Clement, Dave Thompson, Steve Klein, and Julien Boé, as well as UCLA colleagues Kuo-Nan Liou, Jim McWilliams, David Neelin, and Katharine Reich. Finally, I’ve surely learned as much from my own graduate students as they’ve learned from me. Thank you Xin Qu, Mimi Hughes, Sarah Kapnick, Neil Berg, Daniel Walton, Alex Jousse, and Marla Schwartz. I’m looking forward to working with many more people and learning from them too, as I continue down this wonderful career path.

—Alexander D. Hall, University of California, Los Angeles

Andreae Presents the 2015 Charney Lecture

Meinrat Andreae will present the 2015 Jule Gregory Charney Lecture, presented annually and conferred upon by the Atmospheric Sciences Section.


Meinrat (headshot)

President’s Citation

“ for his outstanding contributions to the integral understanding of physical and chemical processes in the Earth system” 

Dr William K. M. Lau, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Emanuel Presents the 2015 Bjerknes Lecture

Kerry Emanuel will present the 2015 Jacob Bjerknes Lecture, presented annually and conferred upon by the Atmospheric Sciences Section.


Kerry (headshot)

President’s Citation

“ for his outstanding contributions to the fundamental understanding of tropical cyclones, convection, weather and climate sciences”

-Dr William K. M. Lau, University of Maryland, College Park, MD

Ghanbarian-Alavijeh Receives the 2015 Donald L. Turcotte Award

Behzad Ghanbarian-Alavijeh will receive the 2015 Donald L. Turcotte Award, given annually to recent Ph.D. recipients for outstanding dissertation research that contributes directly to the field of nonlinear geophysics.


Behzad Ghanbarian-Alavijeh received his B.S. in water engineering from Isfahan University of Technology in 2005 and a M.Sc. in irrigation and drainage from the University of Tehran in 2007. He received his Ph.D. in environmental sciences from Wright State University under the supervision of Allen Hunt in 2014.  He is currently working as a postdoctoral research fellow in the Petroleum and Geosystems Engineering Department, University of Texas at Austin.  His research interests include analytical and numerical modeling of fluid flow and solute transport in disordered porous media.




Curbelo Receives the 2015 Donald L. Turcotte Award

Jezabel Curbelo will receive the 2015 Donald L. Turcotte Award, given annually to recent Ph.D. recipients for outstanding dissertation research that contributes directly to the field of nonlinear geophysics.



Jezabel received her B.S. in mathematics from Universidad de la Laguna in 2009 and a M.Sc. in mathematics and applications from Universidad Autónoma de Madrid (UAM) in 2010. She received a Ph.D. in mathematics from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid in 2014. Her Ph.D. work was done under the supervision of Ana M. Mancho at the Instituto de Ciencias Matemáticas, a joint research initiative of Consejo Superior de Investigaciones Científicas and three universities in Madrid (UAM, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Universidad Carlos III de Madrid). Her research interests include convection, instabilities and bifurcations, dynamical systems, and numerical methods for problems in geophysical fluid dynamics.

Lakhina Receives 2015 Space Weather and Nonlinear Waves and Processes Prize

Gurbax Lakhina will receive the Space Weather and Nonlinear Waves and Processes Prize at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes significant contributions in the field of space weather or nonlinear waves and processes.


The American Geophysical Union (AGU) Nonlinear Geophysics focus group and Space Physics and Aeronomy section have awarded the Space Weather and Nonlinear Waves and Processes Prize to Gurbax S. Lakhina, the former director of the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Navi Mumbai, India.

Gurbax Lakhina has carried out cutting-edge research on coherent chorus wave interaction with radiation belt electrons, nonlinear boundary layer waves in space plasmas, microstructure of the interplanetary medium, and space weather.

Lakhina’s major contribution to radiation belt physics include development of a theory for a nonlinear coherent cyclotron interaction between electromagnetic whistler mode chorus and energetic electrons, showing that chorus has circularly magnetic polarization at all angles of propagation relative to the ambient magnetic field and that the waves change from a highly coherent nature at the source location into quasi-coherent waves with propagation.  His work on pitch angle transport with coherent waves will impact the fields of space plasma physics, laboratory fusion, and astrophysics.

Gurbax Lakhina has made a seminal contribution to the generation mechanism for electrostatic solitary waves (ESWs) in terms of ion- and electron-acoustic solitons and double layers. Gurbax has made fundamental contributions in identifying the interplanetary causes of intense and superintense magnetic storms, including the classic  work on the 1859 Carrington superstorm and on clarifying  the physics of the mirror mode structures occurring in planetary magnetosheaths and the magnetic decreases  that occur in interplanetary space.

Gurbax Lakhina is an eminent space plasma physicist. He has promoted space science both within India and internationally with other developing countries. He has acted as a mentor to many young researchers in India and other third-world countries, inspiring them both by his instruction and by his example.  He is truly worthy of the 2015 AGU Space Weather and Nonlinear Waves and Processes Prize.

—Abraham C.-L. Chian, National Institute of Space Research, São José dos Campos, Brazil; and University of Adelaide, Adelaide, Australia



I am delighted and greatly honored to receive 2015 AGU Space Weather and Nonlinear Waves and Processes Prize.  I would like to thank AGU, the Nonlinear Geophysics focus group and Space Physics and Aeronomy section award committee, and my nominators/supporters for this exceptional honor.  I particularly thank Professor Abraham Chian for nominating me.  Abe is a brilliant nonlinear plasma wave and chaos researcher who has given the field many new insightful concepts.

I thankfully acknowledge the contribution of Bruce Tsurutani (Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL)/California Institute of Technology), Jolene Pickett (University of Iowa), and Olga Verkhoglyadova (JPL) toward my research on chorus and ESWs. Without their important experimental inputs, it would not have been possible to develop the theory for resonant coherent chorus interaction with energetic electrons, a new concept for energetic particle scattering with far-reaching applications, further than just space plasma physics.

I would like to thank my group members at the Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Navi Mumbai, R. V. Reddy, Satyavir Singh, Sukti Ghosh, and Amar Kakad, along with  Frank Verheest (Ghent University, Belgium),  Ramesh Bharuthram (University of Western Cape, South Africa), and Shimul Maharaj (South African National Space Agency) for their excellent long-term collaboration toward developing theoretical models for the observed electrostatic solitary waves in the Earth’s magnetosphere by Cluster and also their application to dusty plasmas.

I am indebted to Bimla Buti (India), my Ph.D. supervisor, Karl Schindler (Germany), and all my collaborators and thank them for contributing toward my scientific and personal growth.

I thank my parents for encouraging me to obtain a higher education.  I particularly thank my wife, Raj Lakhina,  for her undying support of me  throughout our married life and  my children,  Vanisha and  Abhishek,  for their  love and  moral support.

Finally, I would like to encourage young scientists to enter the fields of nonlinear plasma waves and nonlinear geophysics.  “Go nonlinear young man (and woman)!”

—Gurbax Lakhina, Indian Institute of Geomagnetism, Navi Mumbai, India

Huber Receives 2015 Hisashi Kuno Award

Christian Huber will receive the Hisashi Kuno Award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “accomplishments of junior scientists who make outstanding contributions to the fields of volcanology, geochemistry, and petrology.”


It gives me great pleasure to introduce the 2015 Hisashi Kuno Award recipient, Christian Huber. It is truly fitting that Chris should receive an award celebrating the activities of a young scientist in the Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology (VGP) section as his research touches on a range of themes covered by this section. The research Chris has conducted spans diverse topics from volcano seismology to deciphering magmatic time scales from diffusion profiles. He already has written several influential papers on rejuvenation and pore-scale processes in magmatic systems, and he continues to broaden his research portfolio examining reactive porous flows and bubble coalescence and interacting with diverse data sets from crystal diffusion profiles to ground deformation.

Throughout his career Chris has blended Earth science and physics and has pursued rigor even when it has taken him on paths traveled by few. After receiving his geology undergraduate degree from the University of Geneva, he continued to do a master’s in volcano seismology, including a stint at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park working with Bernard Chouet. He then received a second B.S. in physics from Geneva, before applying to work on his Ph.D. in Berkeley, with Michael Manga. Chris is a valuable faculty member at Georgia Tech, where he is an engaging presence. Chris is quick to incorporate new ideas and to distill the crux of many physical arguments.  He is also a very collegial individual, and this has contributed to his ability to work with many students and faculty at Berkeley, Georgia Tech, and elsewhere.

Chris has a great mix of curiosity, creativity, and quantitative skill that makes him a real pleasure to interact with.  Fellow VGP members, it is my privilege to present Christian Huber, this year’s recipient of the Kuno Award.

—Josef Dufek, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta



Thank you, Joe. I want to thank the committee, the VGP section of the American Geophysical Union, and my nominators for this honor.

During my studies in Earth sciences in Geneva, Mike Dungan offered a field experience in the San Juan Islands to assist Pete Lipman (former postdoc of H. Kuno) and a second-year Ph.D. student, Olivier Bachmann. This experience ignited my passion for volcanology and initiated a friendship with Olivier that has lasted now for 18 years. Later, Bernard Chouet and Phil Dawson set the standard for patience while mentoring graciously the inept master student that I was. My struggles prompted the decision to step back from Earth sciences for 4 years and study physics.

After physics, I moved to Berkeley for a Ph.D. with Michael Manga. Michael has always been a kind and patient adviser as he tried to show me the Jedi way to science. Don DePaolo also played an important role advising me about science and academia. Jim Watkins was my partner in crime; we remain close friends and collaborators to this day. As Joe Dufek joined Berkeley for his postdoc, it started a friendship and collaboration that has led me to Georgia Tech. There, I am blessed with great colleagues such as Andy Newman, Carol Paty, Ken Ferrier, Yuanzhi Tang, Martial Taillefert, and Chris Reinhardt.

Since I started at Georgia Tech, I learned about my role of researcher and adviser from Olivier Bachmann, Dave Bercovici, Mark Jellinek, and Helge Gonnermann. I am extremely proud of my talented Ph.D. students, Yanqing Su, Salah Faroughi, and Hamid Karani. My good fortune has allowed me to lure in gifted postdocs, and I owe a lot to all of them. Andrea Parmigiani has been a special friend and collaborator for close to 10 years now, and I started exciting collaborations with Wim Degruyter, Caroline Bouvet de Maisonneuve, Babak Shafei, and, more recently, Tarsilo Girona.

Finally, I would like to dedicate this award to my family, my wife, Olga, and daughter, Benedicte, and to my mother and late father. Thank you!

—Christian Huber, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

Sisson Receives 2015 N. L. Bowen Award

Thomas Sisson will receive the 2015 N. L. Bowen Award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “outstanding contributions to volcanology, geochemistry, or petrology.”


Tom Sisson’s breadth of inquiry and approaches span volcanology, geochemistry, and petrology in a way that is truly rare.  Tom is at once a creative and meticulous experimental petrologist, having done landmark work on the effect of water on the compositional evolution of magmas. He also is an innovative geochemical analyst, widely known for ground-breaking measurements on the preeruptive volatile contents of arc basalts. And he’s a prominent volcanologist, having made key discoveries in the study of Hawaiian and Cascades volcanoes while informing the public on their hazards.  Tom is also a field geologist of exceptional talent, befitting the challenges of geologic mapping in the Sierra Nevada and at volcanoes such as Mount Rainier, arguably the volcano that poses the highest risk to communities in the conterminous United States.  This background has guided his keen insights into magmatic processes from laboratory experiments and measurements anchored in ground truth from the field.  Moreover, Tom’s Rainier papers serve as real-world examples of quantitative geoscience with societal relevance through application to volcano hazard evaluations.  Tom’s work on the formation of granites, specifically how many steps are involved to create crustal distillates from primary mantle-derived basalt, will shape research and thinking into the next decade. Tom’s knowledge, gravitas, and generosity are also legendary. He is a caring mentor to young scientists, commonly at their side at meetings, listening patiently and then generously working through their problems, with considerable seriousness and substance though not without a sense of humor, helping to inform and inspire their science. When Tom speaks, it is with unusual clarity and confidence, and everyone listens.  It is difficult to think of a modern scientist more deserving of Bowen’s legacy than Tom Sisson, in his foundational, high-impact, and diverse contributions to our understanding of magmas, from their origin to eruption.

—Terry Plank, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory, Palisades, N.Y.



Dear Terry, thanks for your considerate words and thanks to the anonymous colleagues who championed my nomination and to the Volcanology, Geochemistry, and Petrology awards committee.  When I was a Stanford undergrad, Bob Compton assigned us Bowen’s The Evolution of the Igneous Rocks.  I was convinced, and shortly after graduating, I bought a copy in New Zealand, where I was climbing in the Southern Alps.  That copy accompanied me during my “living out of a VW bus and climbing” period, and I was slow to unlearn the few areas where Bowen was wrong.  I’ve benefited from numerous inspiring mentors and colleagues, but Jim Moore and Tim Grove stand out.  Jim gave me the precious opportunity to collaborate with him mapping a swath of U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) geologic quadrangles across the Sierra Nevada batholith, as well as studying the Mount St. Helens directed blast. Jim never worried too much if he was working on petrology, volcanology, glacial geology, or …, and I found this a good model to follow.  Fieldwork only goes so far, so I went to work with Tim at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology because he addresses major scientific issues using the highest-quality experiments guided and tested insofar as possible by field observations.  Having mapped numerous mafic intrusions in the Sierra, it seemed obvious and inescapable to me that basaltic arc magmas are wet (yes, this was once not known).  We showed experimentally how this explains many aspects of arc magmas, shortly confirmed by my early ion probe measurements on basaltic melt inclusions.  The USGS called me back, where I’ve continued mostly studying arc petrogenesis and hazards.  The in-depth, place-based studies fostered by the USGS reveal how magmatic systems are at the same time complex and simple.  Understanding controls on magmatic volumes, locations, and timing are some of the challenging and fascinating issues that I look forward to seeing addressed.

—Thomas Sisson, California Water Science Center, U.S. Geological Survey, Menlo Park

Liu Receives 2015 Jason Morgan Early Career Award

Lijun Liu will receive the 2015 Jason Morgan Early Career Award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for significant early-career contributions in tectonophysics.


It’s with great pleasure I received the news that Lijun Liu is the recipient of the 2015 Jason Morgan Early Career Award, which recognizes the impact that his work has already made toward understanding the dynamical processes within the deep Earth.  In his career thus far, he has produced an impressive array of scientific contributions based upon his holistic approach of integrating diverse suites of geological and geophysical observations with quite advanced numerical methods that model the dynamics of the deep Earth.  The successes of using that approach are not easily achieved. Where typical models of the day might be simplified in some way, perhaps generic, Cartesian, or instantaneous, or might avoid the many challenges of Earth’s complicated rheology, Lijun has pushed forward to generate geographically referenced, three-dimensional spherical dynamic models that evolve through tens of millions of years and yield appropriate deformations from the scales of mineral grains to tectonic plates. Yet the real pioneering aspect of this effort is that the models can evolve either forward from a time in history or backward from the present day.

Lijun is working at the leading edge of his discipline and, more importantly, using geodynamic models as a framework for data assimilation. This type of synthesis can help transform tectonophysics into a more integrative science with more predictive capability. It takes both talent and assiduousness, which reflect the qualities that make Lijun deserving of this award. But he’s also the kind of scientist you want to see recognized because of his other virtues such as integrity, objectiveness, and his generosity to those he works with. He inspires those around him with his tremendous work ethic and dedication, which I can assure you is driven by his natural curiosity and determination to figure out how Earth works.

—Dave Stegman, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, La Jolla, Calif.



Thanks, Dave, for the kind citation. It is a great honor to receive this prestigious award. Among the many young talents within the broad field of tectonophysics, I feel very fortunate to be recognized by the American Geophysical Union (AGU) during the early stage of my career. With modern Earth science emphasizing multidisciplinary research and community effort more than ever before, it becomes challenging for individuals to build independent career records. As a result, recognitions from the AGU Honors Program are important for encouraging young researchers to carry on.

Upon receiving this award, I owe many thanks to my former mentors and colleagues. I am indebted to my Ph.D. adviser, Michael Gurnis, and former group members, Eh Tan and Eunseo Choi, from whom I learned a great amount on geodynamic modeling with supercomputers. I am deeply grateful to my postdoc adviser, Dave Stegman, who helped me with not only building realistic subduction models but also the many things that allow me to smoothly transition into a faculty member. I also want to thank colleagues and friends Dietmar Müller, Don Helmberger, Peter Olson, Jason Saleeby, and Shijie Zhong for their strong support and encouragement throughout the years.

My thanks also go to the University of Illinois, where I spent the past 3 years. I sincerely appreciate warmhearted colleagues Stephen Marshak, Xiaodong Song, Bruce Fouke, Tom Johnson, and many other people in the Department of Geology for their unreserved support during the establishment of my geodynamics group. I have enjoyed and benefited from the numerous lovely scientific discussions with students and faculty during our weekly donuts and dynamics seminar.

Finally, I want to thank my families for their persistent support, without which I couldn’t have walked this long.

—Lijun Liu, Department of Geology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana

Weller Receives 2015 Study of the Earth's Deep Interior Focus Group Graduate Research Award

Matthew Weller will receive the 2015 Study of the Earth’s Deep Interior Focus Group Graduate Research Award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif.


Matthew Weller received a dual B.Sc. in geology and astrophysics from the University of Toledo in 2007 and a M.Sc. in remote sensing from the University of Nevada, Reno, in 2010. He is currently finishing a Ph.D. in planetary science and geodynamics under the principle supervision of Adrian Lenardic at Rice University in Houston, Texas. His research focuses on the evolution and dynamics of planetary bodies, deformation through the crust and mantle, and the coupling of global-scale endogenic and exogenic cycles.