UW News

August 9, 2016

Three UW Earth scientists elected as AGU fellows

UW News

Three University of Washington professors have been elected as new fellows of the American Geophysical Union. The scientific group recognizes only one in 1,000 members each year for major scientific work and sustained impact. This year, Charles Eriksen, Deborah Kelley and Stephen Warren are among 60 newly elected 2016 fellows from U.S. and international institutions.

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Charles Eriksen

Eriksen, a UW professor of oceanography, was recognized for his work using new technology to study the upper ocean. He earned his undergraduate degree in engineering and applied physics at Harvard University and his doctorate jointly from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. Following a postdoctoral year at WHOI, he was on the MIT faculty until he joined the UW in 1986.

In his research, Eriksen has collected observations to understand oceanic internal waves, equatorial and upper-ocean dynamics, eddies and general circulation using both conventional and custom instruments. He led development of the Seaglider, an autonomous underwater glider that can be deployed for several months and travel thousands of miles in the upper ocean. More recently, Eriksen has led the development of the Deepglider, the only autonomous underwater vehicle capable of gliding to the seafloor and back in the deep ocean. Deepgliders are designed to last up to a year and a half and travel as far as a quarter of the way around the Earth.

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Deborah Kelley

Kelley, also a UW professor of oceanography, was recognized for her studies of deep-sea environments. A Pacific Northwest native, Kelley earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees in geology at the UW and her doctorate at Canada’s Dalhousie University. She joined the UW faculty in 1995. She also holds an adjunct position at the University of Bergen in Norway.

Kelley’s research focuses on the extreme environments of seafloor volcanoes and associated underwater hot springs, as well as the unique biological communities that live there. Her field work includes more than 30 research expeditions. She led a 2003 cruise to the “Lost City” hydrothermal vent field in the Atlantic Ocean. In 2015 she co-authored an illustrated atlas of seafloor volcanoes and deep-ocean life, which won the Association of American Publishers 2016 Prose Award for Earth science books. Kelley is a lead investigator for the Pacific Northwest Cabled Array, a real-time seafloor observatory that connects the ocean to the internet. She has also traveled to the deep ocean firsthand more than 50 times, reaching more than 2 miles below the surface.

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Stephen Warren

Warren, a UW professor emeritus of atmospheric sciences and of Earth and space sciences, was recognized for his research on the interaction of solar radiation with clouds, snow, sea ice and glaciers. Warren did his undergraduate degree at Cornell University and his doctorate at Harvard University before joining the UW faculty in 1982. He was previously elected as a fellow of the American Meteorological Society and of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Warren has analyzed some 500 million visual observations of clouds, taken from land-based weather stations and ships in the ocean, to create a global atlas showing the distribution of nine different cloud types. More recently, he has looked at how soot from forest fires and fossil-fuel burning gets deposited on snow and changes the reflectivity of snow and glaciers, speeding up global warming. He also has published on the “snowball Earth” hypothesis for how the oceans may have completely frozen over earlier in Earth’s history. Warren’s extensive fieldwork has brought him to Siberia, China and to Antarctica, where a mountain ridge is named after him.

The three UW faculty members will be among new fellows who will be honored in December at the American Geophysical Union’s annual meeting in San Francisco.