The 2012 Vening Meinesz Medal is awarded to Che-Kwan Shum for his pioneering work on the recent developments in geodetic techniques that have made profound contributions to the Earth Sciences through the precise measurement of mass transports within the Earth system.
In recent years, geodesy has made profound contributions to the Earth Sciences through the precise measurement of mass transports within the Earth system. Progress in the use of GNSS and of satellite altimetry and space gravity has made it possible to detect minute changes in the height of the surface of the ocean, as well as of the land and of ice sheets. In addition, small but measurable changes in gravity related to changes in ice sheets, continental hydrology and ocean mass have enabled a much more complete understanding of the interchanges of water between the different components of the climate system. C.K. Shum has been one of the pioneers of these developments. He is a Professor of Geodetic Science in the School of Earth Sciences of the Ohio State University (OSU). Shum has been a leader in the understanding of sea level change and the associated changes in the ice sheets and terrestrial hydrosphere. He has published over 160 journal research papers, book chapters and books, and as many reports and proceedings papers, in a career that has spanned sea level and climate change, celestial mechanics, geodynamics and geophysics, satellite orbit determination, satellite oceanography and hydrology, and planetary science. Shum has built up a strong research group at the OSU, and in the process has mentored a new generation of research students and has established important research links between the US, Europe and China. His particular recent interests have focussed on the use of combined sea level data sets from several altimeter missions, with particular attention to their inter-calibration, on space gravity for the study of mass fluxes between different parts of the climate system, and on GNSS for the calibration of altimeter satellites and for the measurement of vertical land movements. Shum has played major international roles within the International Association of Geodesy (IAG), and its Global Geodetic Observing System (GGOS) and as a Lead Author for the sea level chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Fourth Research Assessment. The importance of and wide interest in Professor Shum’s work are reflected in the thousands of citations of his papers and his personal h-index of 22. However, it is recognised by everyone who knows him that Shum contributes to advancing our science not only through his published research but also by his unselfish willingness to share his expertise with others, and by his untiring work behind the scenes to further geodesy in the future.