18:00 PM

Noted Ohio State polar scientist named to the National Academy of Sciences

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Ellen Mosley-Thompson, a world-renowned expert in global climate change and its effects leading to the loss of the world's glaciers, has been named to the National Academy of Sciences.

Mosley-Thompson is a Distinguished University Scholar in geography and a senior research scientist with the Byrd Polar Research Center at Ohio State University. Her election to the country's most prestigious scientific body was announced early Tuesday.

"I was shocked when I got the call this morning, and by all the congratulatory messages I've received this morning," she said, adding that in one case, the phone was being passed among other Academy members all expressing their good wishes.

"Dr. Mosley-Thompson's groundbreaking research on ancient climate conditions in the polar regions not only advances our understanding of global climate systems, but also furthers many related fields of scientific inquiry," said Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee. "She is a remarkable scientist, a stellar alumna, and a wonderful colleague."

Mosley-Thompson has spent more than three decades doing research at Ohio State, beginning in 1973 as a graduate student and later as a research associate at the former Institute for Polar Studies. She became a research scientist with the Byrd Polar Research Center and later an associate professor and finally a professor in the Department of Geography.

Mosley-Thompson leads a highly respected research team focusing on paleoclimatology, the study of ancient climates. Along with her husband and research partner Lonnie Thompson, a Distinguished University Professor in Earth Sciences and a member of the National Academy, her work in retrieving and then analyzing ice cores drilled from glaciers in some of the world's most remote sites has shown some of the clearest evidence to date of serious climate change around the world.

An experienced field researcher, Mosley-Thompson has led eight expeditions to Antarctica and six to Greenland to drill cores from ice sheets there, retrieving a record of ancient climate for thousands of years.

"This award recognizes Ellen's outstanding career in climate change," explained Caroline Whitacre, vice president for research at Ohio State. "She has brought world-class distinction to her department, college, and the university."

This year, she was elected a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, one of that organization's highest honors, and received the David R. Brower Award for Outstanding Service in Mountain Conservation from the American Alpine Club.

In 2008, she and her husband were named as recipients of the Dan David Prize in Israel honoring their work in the geosciences. Former Vice President Al Gore received a Dan David Prize that same year. In 2003, she was elected as a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and in 2002, she and Lonnie Thompson received the Common Wealth Award for Science and Invention, recognizing distinguished service to the world community.

She is an associate editor of the journal Polar Geography and is a member of the National Research Council's-National Academy of Sciences' Committee on Strategic Advice on the U.S. Climate Change Science Program. In 2009, she was named to the Science Advisory Board Climate Working Group for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

She is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meteorological Society, the American Quaternary Association, the Antarctican Society, the Association of American Geographers, the International Glaciological Society and the science honorary Sigma Xi. She has published at least 115 peer-reviewed scientific papers in her career.

Mosley-Thompson's election brings to 24 the number of Ohio State faculty who have been selected for membership in the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Institute of Medicine.

Contact: Ellen Mosley-Thompson, (614) 292-6662; thompson.4@osu.edu.
Written by Earle Holland, (614) 292-8384; holland.8@osu.edu.

For enhanced coverage, see http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/ellennas.htm