Philosophical Society of Washington

Unraveling the Secrets of the Polar Ice Sheets

A Glaciological Perspective

Julie Palais
National Science Foundation

2211th Meeting Abstract
Friday, November 3, 2006 at 8:15 PM


Recent media attention on the subject of global warming and sea level rise has focused public attention on the research of polar glaciologists. This talk will explain some of the recent work funded by the National Science Foundationís Office of Polar Programs. The glaciology program is concerned with the study of the history and dynamics of all naturally occurring forms of snow and ice, including floating ice shelves, glaciers, and continental and marine ice sheets. Program emphases include paleoclimate from ice cores, ice dynamics, numerical modeling, glacial geology, and remote sensing of ice sheets.

In addition to single investigator grants and multi-institutional, multi-investigator projects, the Foundation is now funding a Science and Technology Center, the Center for the Remote Sensing of Ice Sheets (CReSIS) whose goal is to understand and predict the role of the polar ice sheets in sea level change. One of the objectives of the Center is to enhance public awareness of climate change and its effects and to share information with students and the general public. The upcoming International Polar Year 2007-2008 will be another vehicle for exposing the public to the science of climate change in the polar regions.

Julie M. Palais

About the Author:

Julie M. Palais is the Program Director of the Antarctic Glaciology Program of the Office of Polar Programs in the National Science Foundation. She has directed polar research at NSF since 1990. Her programs have emphasized glaciology and ice cores of the Antarctic and the Arctic, especially the effects of volcanic fallout. She has made numerous trips to the poles observing the research conducted under her NSF program. Palais Glacier and Palais Bluff in the Antarctic have been named in her honor.

Before coming to NSF she did research at the University of New Hampshire, the University of Rhode Island, and Ohio State University. Much of her work involved expeditions to the Arctic and Antarctic. She is a member of the American Geophysical Union, the International Glaciological Society, the Explorers Club and the American Polar Society. She holds a B.A. cum laude from the University of New Hampshire and an M.S. and Ph.D. from Ohio State University.

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