EGU - Awards & Medals - Vening Meinesz Medal - Philip L. Woodworth

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Philip L. Woodworth

Vening Meinesz Medal 2010

Philip L. Woodworth

The 2010 Vening Meinesz Medal is awarded to Philip L. Woodworth in recognition of his outstanding contributions to sea level research.


Phil Woodworth is senior scientist at the Proudman Oceanographic Laboratory, Liverpool, UK. His main current research deals with present-day sea level variations from in situ and satellite observations.

Woodworth’s achievements on sea level variations are numerous and outstanding. He is THE expert in the world on the topic of “historical” sea level variations. His work on the 19th and 20th centuries’ sea level variations based on tide gauges is considered to be the reference in the field. He is also well known for his contributions to North Atlantic sea level variations in relation with climate variability, in particular the “North Atlantic Oscillation”. Woodworth made other important contributions in analysing historical sea level observations in different parts of the world (e.g., along the coasts of Africa, in the Maldives regions, etc.) and is also well known for his work on extreme sea levels and storm surges, especially in the North Atlantic region. His interests are even broader as he has worked on ocean tides and on a number of different problems in geodesy (crustal motions at tide gauges, calibration of altimetry systems, etc.). He was P.I./co-I. of several satellite altimetry missions (Topex/Poseidon, ERS, Envisat) for sea level research.
Responsible for the Permanent Service for Mean Sea Level (PSMSL) during about 20 years, Woodworth has had a unique leadership role in fostering sea level research using tide gauges. His unselfish service to the oceanographic and geodetic community is acknowledged worldwide. This database is of primary importance for numerous applications including past sea level change, ocean tides, coastal processes, vertical crustal motions at coastlines, calibration of altimetry systems, etc. He has published himself numerous papers on all these topics.

Woodworth played a determinant role inside the European Space Agency in supporting the GOCE mission (launched in March 2009), whose main scientific objective is the determination of the geoid with unprecedented accuracy (1 cm) and resolution (1°x1°), for oceanographic and geophysical applications. He is now using GOCE jointly with altimetry to determine the ocean dynamic topography.

Woodworth has published more than 110 refereed articles on sea level in high impact journals. (Before joining the sea level community in 1983, he worked in high-energy physics.) His articles are widely cited (4000 citations; H index of 37).

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