2016 Speakers, DFH Lectures

Significance of A Changing Arctic

picture of carin ashjian

Carin Ashjian is a biological oceanographer whose research has focused on oceanography, zooplankton ecology, and biological-physical interactions in many of the world's oceans. Recently she has addressed the impact of climate change on polar ecosystems and the greater Arctic system, including the human dimension. She is a Senior Scientist in the Department of Biology at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI). She graduated with a Ph.D. in Oceanography from the University of Rhode Island in 1991. She did postdoctoral work at Brookhaven National Laboratory, the University of Miami, and Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution before joining the scientific staff at WHOI in 1996. She has participated in approximately 50 oceanographic research cruises, including 13 on icebreakers in both the Arctic and Antarctic. She has served on numerous national committees focusing on polar research and logistics, including the North Pacific Research Board Science Panel, the Bering Sea Program Science Advisory Board, the Study of Environmental Arctic Change Observing Change Panel, and the National Academy Committee on Emerging Research Questions in the Arctic, and she is a past Chair of the UNOLS Arctic Icebreaker Coordinating Committee.

picture of jennifer francis

Jennifer Francis earned a B.S. in Meteorology from San Jose State University in 1988 and a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of Washington in 1994. As a professor at Rutgers University since 1994, she has taught courses in satellite remote sensing and climate-change issues, and also co-founded and co-directed the Rutgers Climate and Environmental Change Initiative. Presently, she is a Research Professor in the Rutgers Department of Marine and Coastal Sciences, and she studies Arctic climate change and Arctic-global climate linkages. Francis and her husband circumnavigated the world in a sailboat from 1980-1985, including Cape Horn and the Arctic, during which her interest in weather and the Arctic began.

picture of julie brigham-grette

Julie Brigham-Grette Professor and Department Head, Department of Geosciences, University of Massachusetts-Amherst. Julie has been on the faculty at UMass since 1987. Her research interests are on the stratigraphy, sedimentology, and chronology of geologic systems that record the climate evolution and sea level history of the Arctic since the mid-Pliocene. Her research program is largely aimed at documenting the global context of paleoenvironmental change across "Beringia", i.e., the Bering Land Bridge, stretching across the western Arctic from Alaska and the Yukon into NE Russia and adjacent marginal seas. She is US Chief Scientist of the El'gygytgyn Lake Scientific Drilling project, a multinational program leading to the first unprecedented recovery of a 3.6 Myr record of paleoclimate in 2009. In collaboration with S. Petsch, Brigham-Grette is also studying sea ice proxies and paleoceanography across the Arctic-Pacific gateway. Since 2005, she has collaborated with colleagues at Bates, Mt Holyoke, and Hampshire colleges along side Northern Illinois University with a research program for undergraduate students on Svalbard tidewater glaciers. She is currently Chair of the Polar Research Board of the U.S. National Academy of Science. At home, Julie maintains an interest in the late Pleistocene paleoclimatic history and drainage record of Glacial Lake Hitchcock and the Holocene evolution of the Connecticut River.

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Thorsten Markus is the head of NASA Goddard's Cryospheric Sciences Lab and the Project Scientist for the ICESat-2 mission. His research focuses on the development of new approaches to derive cryospheric parameters from space-borne or air-borne observations. Thorsten received his Ph.D. degree in Physics from the University of Bremen, Germany. He came to NASA Goddard SFC in 1996, first as an NRC post-doc, working on Antarctic coastal polynyas, and then via UMBC JCET where he still is an adjunct professor in the physics department. In 2002, he was hired as a civil servant and joined the Microwave Sensors Branch. He is a member of the Aqua AMSR-E Science Team, where he is responsible for the sea ice concentration and snow on sea ice products, the ICESat Science Team, and the the JAXA GCOM-W AMSR2 Science Team. He has participated in and co-led ship-borne and air-borne validation campaigns in both hemispheres. His research activities led him three times to the Antarctic and three times to the Arctic. He furthermore is working on the use of satellite-derived geophysical parameters in data analysis efforts and in data assimilation schemes to explore the role of cryospheric processes in the polar and global climate system.

Contact Prof. Joan Ramage (610-758-6410) for additional details or answers to questions.

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The Annual Donnel Foster Hewett Lecture Series is sponsored by the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences and is supported by a bequest which was made to the department by one of its most distinguished alumni, Donnel Foster Hewett (more info).

Hewett matriculated at Lehigh University in September 1898. Following graduation in 1902, he spent another year at Lehigh as an assistant in metallurgy and mineralogy under the direction of Joseph Barrell. After Joseph Barrell moved to the Department of Geology at Yale in 1907, Hewett went there in 1909 to study geology and received his Ph.D.

In 1911, he joined the U.S. Geological Survey and his career with the organization spanned 60 years until his death in 1971. When in 1951, Donnel Foster Hewett reached the mandatory retirement age of 70, his full-time employment by the Survey was continued indefinitely by Presidential order. To a great host of geologists, he became a legend in his own time and was affectionately referred to as "Mr. Geological Survey" or "Mr. Manganese", the latter because of his devotion to and advancement of our understanding of the mineralogy and genesis of manganese ores.

During his career he received many honors:

  • Vice President, Geological Society of America in 1935 and 1945
  • President of the Society of Economic Geologists in 1936
  • Elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 1937 and the Academy of Arts and Sciences in 1949
  • Distinguished Medal of the Department of the Interior in 1951
  • Penrose Medal in 1964
  • Honorary Ph.D. from Lehigh in 1942