Both Eric Rignot and Isabella Velicogna have published groundbreaking studies about Antarctica and Greenland that have received widespread attention from fellow researchers and the general public.
Rignot, a UCI professor of Earth system science, conducts ground and airborne research of the world’s glaciers. Among other work, his group charted a vast network of previously unmapped glaciers on the move from thousands of miles inland to the Antarctic coast, and it revealed previously uncharted deep valleys stretching for dozens of miles under the Greenland Ice Sheet to the ocean. Last May, Rignot published work concluding that the collapse of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet is irreversible, which will raise sea levels worldwide.
Velicogna, a UCI associate professor of Earth system science, uses sophisticated satellite technology to document the thawing of immense ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica. Using NASA’s twin GRACE satellites, she has shown that glaciers are losing mass at an increasing rate — a trend with dire implications for the world’s coastal populations as the melt causes sea levels to rise. In December, her group published results showing that the melt rate of West Antarctic glaciers has tripled in the last decade.