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UAF scientist wins international Arctic award

  • Author: Yereth Rosen
  • Updated: September 30, 2016
  • Published February 3, 2016

A veteran scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks has won a prestigious international award for his work studying the changing climate in Alaska and elsewhere in the far north.

John Walsh, chief scientist at UAF's International Arctic Research Center, will receive the 2016 International Arctic Science Committee medal, the organization has announced.

The IASC nominating committee voted unanimously to honor Walsh for his "exceptional contributions to modeling and evaluating climate change impacts in the Arctic, particularly with regard to his sustained and distinguished contributions to quantitatively improving our understanding of the Arctic, from climate and weather extremes to hydrology, sea ice variability and the human dimensions of climate change impacts; and for his outstanding record of service and leadership to the wider Arctic science, education and policy community," a statement from the organization said.

Walsh is an internationally recognized climate scientist with a long record of accomplishment. He was a lead author of the 2005 Arctic Climate Impact Assessment, a lead author of the Polar Regions chapter for the 2007 report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and a convening lead author in the third U.S. National Climate Assessment in 2014, a UAF statement said.

Walsh said he is "flattered and honored" to win the 2016 IASC medal.

He said the committee's decision to grant him the award might stem from the growing attention to climate change and Alaska's role in it. "Alaska is ground zero for a lot of climate change impacts," he said.

Past medals have gone to scientists working in disciplines, such as biology and oceanography, that are different from climate and weather.

Walsh is scheduled to receive his medal in March at the Arctic Summit Science Week conference in Fairbanks.

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