Dr. Ian Howat

2007 Young Investigator Award

The AGU Cryospheric Focus Group is pleased to announce that

Dr. Ian Howat (biography)

Has been chosen to receive the 2007 Young Investigator Award for his significant contribution to Cryospheric Science and Technology.

This award will be presented to Dr. Howat at the Polar Reception, Fall AGU meeting.


     The Cryosphere Focus Group Young Investigator Award is given to Dr. Ian Howat in recognition of his outstanding research achievements in cryospheric science, in particular for his research and measurements of the sensitivity of glaciers and glacier ice-flows to climate changes.

     Dr. Howat first became interested in glacial processes as an undergraduate in Geology at Hamilton College, where he participated in two research cruises in Antarctica as part of Eugene Domacks fantastic undergraduate research program. His senior thesis included work on glaciomorphic evidence for ice streaming on the Ross Sea continental shelf during the LGM and it’s subsequent deglaciation.

     Dr. Howat’s interest in ice sheet dynamics and basal mechanics brought him to a PhD program under Slawek Tulaczyk at UCSC.  While there, he became interested in the sensitivity of alpine glaciers and snow pack to climate changes and, specifically, the combination of empirical observations and regional climate model results to downscale and enhance predictions.  He also became interested in the mechanics of fast ice-flow, and conducted field research at Breidamerkurjokull, Iceland, studying the dynamics of ice motion over deformable beds. In the course of this study, Dr. Howat was introduced to remote sensing methods for measuring ice motion.  He applied these methods to measure the rapidly changing outlet glaciers in Greenland. Dr. Howat’s research team was were able to construct an unprecedented record of changes in ice speed and geometry over the recent period of acceleration and retreat that we used to elucidate the mechanisms causing the changes.

     Currently, Dr. Howat is involved in a range of projects, including work on the dynamics of soft-bedded glacier flow, glacier sliding, basal hydrology and calving glacier dynamics with the primary goal of improving empirical understanding of these processes to better constrain analytical and numerical models.

Selected Publications:

Howat, I. M., S. Tulaczyk, E. Waddington and H. Björnsson, in review, Dynamic controls on glacier sliding inferred from surface ice motion,Journal of Geophysical Research-Earth Surface.

Howat, I. M., I. Joughin, and T. Scambos, 2007a, Rapid changes in ice discharge from Greenland outlet glaciers, Science, 315, 1559-1561, 1510.1126/science.1138478.

Howat, I. M., I. Joughin, S. Tulaczyk, and S. Gogineni, 2005a, Rapid retreat and acceleration of Helheim Glacier, east Greenland, Geophysical Research Letters, 32, doi:10.1029/2005GL024737.

Joughin, I., I. M. Howat, R. B. Alley, G. Ekstrom, M. Fahnestock, T. Moon, M. Nettles, M. Truffer, and V. C. Tsai, in press, Ice Front Variation and Tidewater Behavior on Helheim and Kangerdlugssuaq Glaciers, Greenland, Journal of Geophysical Research – Earth Surface.

Howat, I.M., B. Smith, I. Joughin, T. Scambos, Rate of mass-loss from southeast Greenland from combined ICESat and ASTER observations, submitted, Nature Geoscience.

Howat, I. M., S. Tulaczyk, P. Rhodes, K. Israel, and M. Snyder, 2007b, A precipitation-dominated, mid-latitude glacier system: Mount Shasta, California, Climate Dynamics, 28, 85-98.


Link to the 2005 Young Investigator Award Recipient

Dr. Alan Rempel