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Julian A. Dowdeswell

Julian A. Dowdeswell
Julian A. Dowdeswell

The 2011 Louis Agassiz Medal is awarded to Julian A. Dowdeswell for outstanding contributions to the study of polar ice masses and to the understanding of the processes and patterns of sedimentation in glacier-influenced marine environments.

Julian A. Dowdeswell is an outstanding glaciologist who uses satellite, airborne and shipborne geophysical tools to gain understanding of the dynamics, history and future of polar glaciers and ice sheets. His most significant research contributions have been on the dynamics of large ice masses and their response to climate change and on the processes and patterns of sedimentation in glacier-influenced marine environments. From the ice surface and airborne platforms, he has worked throughout the circumpolar Arctic, including Svalbard, Franz Josef Land, Severnaya Zemlya, Iceland, East Greenland and Baffin, Devon and Ellesmere Islands in Arctic Canada. His glacier-geophysical work in the Arctic has focused on the large ice caps of the Arctic archipelagos, demonstrating that the previously neglected iceberg component of Arctic glacier mass balance represents 30-50% of the mass loss, with clear significance for estimates of sea-level rise. In Antarctica, his work includes the first assessment of the total volume of water stored as lakes beneath the Antarctic Ice Sheet. For extended periods Julian A. Dowdeswell has worked on ice-breaking research vessels in the Norwegian-Greenland Sea, in the fjords and on the continental shelves of Svalbard and Greenland, and in Antarctica. He is the leading authority on the use of glacio-marine sediment and geophysical data to aid reconstructions of ice sheet form and dynamics over glacial cycles, and so to reconstruct past fluxes of ice and sediment to the oceans. The demonstration of the importance of large-scale spatial variations in the flow of past ice sheets has provided new insights into the interpretation of sedimentary architecture on the high latitude margins of the Arctic and Antarctic. Julian A. Dowdeswell’s scientific publications are numerous, wide ranging and highly cited. To date, he has more than 180 ISI-listed publications that have been cited more than 4000 times. In addition, he has written or co-written several books for the public, including: Islands of the Arctic, 2002; The Antarctic Paintings of Edward Seago, 2006; and Captain Scott’s Antarctic Expedition 1911-13: the Photographs of Herbert Ponting, 2009. Julian A. Dowdeswell’s record of scientific leadership and service is singular. He is the current Director of the Scott Polar Research Institute, one of the leading polar research establishments in the world, and has been central to the growth and development of glaciology and glacial geology in UK universities, having established world-class glaciology centres at Aberystwyth University and the University of Bristol. He has won numerous awards and honours, including the Founder’s Medal of The Royal Geographical Society for “the encouragement, development, and promotion of glaciology.