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William Richard Peltier

William Richard Peltier
William Richard Peltier

The 2008 Milutin Milankovic Medal is awarded to William Richard Peltier for his fundamental and pioneer work in modelling mantle convection, glacial isostatic adjustment process and global sea level changes, and in reconstructing the topography of ice sheets for the last twenty thousands years.

William Richard Peltier is professor at the University of Toronto and an internationally renown geophysicist. His work is dealing with surface and subsurface processes. One of his best contributions was to design accurate models of the topography and ice distribution over the Earth for the last twenty thousand years. These are employed universally to provide the surface boundary conditions required to reconstruct past climates using coupled atmosphere-ocean- ice sheets models. This research is actually in the continuity of his analysis of the problem of global sea-level change and related global glacial isostatic adjustment. This theory provided an early original method through which land ice melting could be mapped directly into sea-level rise with significant applications, in particular for predicting the impact of global warming on sea-level rise.

The work of Peltier does not focus only onto the global climate system but includes also fundamental research on atmospheric and oceanic waves and turbulence, in geophysical fluid dynamics and on the physics of planetary interior. His work in the field of mantle convection includes the impact of pressure induced phase transitions on the radial mixing length and seismic tomograhic imaging of internal mantle density heterogeneity.

W.R. Peltier is frequently invited to lecture in different universities and to give seminars at international symposia, including the European Geophysical Society and the European Geosciences Union. He has published about 250 papers in international journals of high standard and is listed as one of the most frequently cited Earth scientists. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, of the American Meteorological Society, of the Royal Astronomical Society and of the Royal Meteorological Society. He was elected Foreign Member of the Norwegian Academy of Science and Letters and is a fellow of the Royal Society of Canada. In 2004, he received the Bancroft Award of the Royal Society of Canada and the Vetlesen Prize of the G. Unger Vetlesen Foundation.