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The winner of the International Association of Cryospheric Sciences (IACS) 2015 Early Career Scientist Prize, the inaugural award, is Dr Mathieu Morlighem, Assistant Professor at University of California Irvine, USA. The IACS Early Career Scientist Prize is an annual cash prize of € 1000 plus a certificate awarded to a nominated early career scientist who is assessed as having published the best scientific paper on a cryospheric subject during the previous calendar year (2014). The objective of the prize is to recognize excellence in cryospheric science by honouring and promoting someone in the early-stages of her or his career, and to draw attention to the work of IACS. For more details see http://www.cryosphericsciences.org/iacsAwards.html. The 2015 Prize will be formally "presented" during the IACS Plenary Administrative Session on 26 June 2015 during the XXVI IUGG General Assembly in Prague.
The 2015 Prize was awarded to Dr Morlighem for his paper Deeply incised submarine glacial valleys beneath the Greenland Ice Sheet (M. Morlighem, E. Rignot, J Mouginot, H. Seroussi, and E. Larour. Nature Geoscience, 7(6):418–422, June 2014). In this paper, Dr Morlighem and his colleagues use high resolution satellite measurements of surface elevation and surface ice velocity, plus an ice-mass conservation optimization scheme, to infer ice thickness and bed topography along the periphery of the Greenland ice sheet where the ice is sliding on its base. Their results, which are at a much higher level of spatial detail than previous airborne radar measurements, reveal widespread ice-covered valleys that extend significantly deeper below sea level and farther inland than previously thought. These findings imply that the outlet glaciers of Greenland, and the ice sheet as a whole, are potentially more vulnerable to ocean thermal forcing and peripheral thinning than previously inferred.
Dr Morlighem's paper was awarded the Prize against very strong competition from nominated papers by other Early Career Scientists. The Selection Panel for the Prize expressed their pleasure at the very high standard of the nominated entries. The Prize will be awarded again in 2016.
Chair of the 2015 Selection Panel