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Jay Zwally, NASA Scientist

"The Arctic is the canary in the coal mine"

Jay Zwally received a B.S. degree in Mechanical/Aeronautical Engineering from Drexel University, PA, and a Ph.D. degree in Physics and Mathematics form the University of Maryland. While a student on a NASA fellowship, pursuing physics and engineering at the University of Maryland in College Park, Zwally designed a key part of a solar wind detector for one of NASAís Explorer missions. After earning his Ph.D. in 1968, he found himself looking for work at a time that physics funding had taken a nosedive, and he continued in a grant-funded research position at the university for three years. (reference)

Dr. H. Jay Zwally has since then held several senior science research positions since he joined NASAís Goddard Space Flight Center in 1974. He was instrumental in promoting a laser altimeter satellite for ice sheet mass balance and multidisciplinary science, leading to the Ice Cloud and Land Elevation Satellite (ICESat) launched in 2003. His recent research includes leading a comprehensive analysis of the mass balance of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets and ice shelves, the discovery of the melt acceleration effect on the flow of the Greenland ice sheet, and the first comprehensive mapping of sea ice freeboard and thickness distributions. Dr. Zwally was also a lead scientist on the Environmental Task Force/Medea committee advising the CIA and other agencies on the use of classified assets for environmental protection and security. (reference)

Prior to his arrival at NASA, Dr. Zwally served in the National Science Foundationís Division of Polar Programs, where he managed the initiation of the interdisciplinary Ross Ice Shelf Project, the Greenland Ice Sheet Project, improved airborne radar mapping of ice sheet thickness, and planned for West Antarctic ice sheet projects. According to Jay Zwally, the "Arctic is the canary in the coal mine."

For his considerable efforts and skill, Dr. Zwally has been the recipient of the following Awards: Goddard Award of Merit for Outstanding Contributions and Scientific Leadership, Laboratory Peer Award for Outstanding Publication, NASA Outstanding Scientific Achievement Award, NASA Group Achievement Award to Authors of Antarctic Sea Ice Atlas, and the Goddard Exceptional Performance Award for leadership in establishing a recognized cryospheric research program.

See also Glossary of Climate Changes

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