Two members of the Global Environmental Change Focus Group were elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences this year, as announced in a NAS press release on May 3, 2016. Clair L. Parkinson is a climate change senior scientist in the Cryospheric Sciences Laboratory at the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Maryland. Zhisheng An is a professor in the Institute of Earth Environment, Xi’an, People’s Republic of China and a member of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Parkinson has been a climatologist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center since July 1978 and a Senior Fellow at Goddard since 2005. Her research emphasis has been on polar sea ice and its connections to the rest of the climate system and to climate change, with a particular emphasis on satellite remote sensing. She has also developed a computer model of sea ice, has done field work in both the Arctic and the Antarctic, and is the lead author of an atlas of Arctic sea ice from satellite data and a coauthor of two other sea ice atlases.
Professor An is a leading researcher in Asian monsoon dynamics and global climate change, with a focus on the evolution of Asian monsoon and the mechanisms which drive its dynamics. With his pioneering work based on loess-paleosol sequences and its climatic significance, he proposed the “monsoon control theory”, which hypothesized that East Asian environmental changes since late Cenozoic were largely controlled by monsoon variations. His multidisciplinary research from classical Quaternary geology to monsoon dynamics connecting the geology and atmosphere science is considered one of the most important achievements in global change research.