Penn State climate expert Richard Alley again honored for work

mdawson@centredaily.comJanuary 20, 2014 

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Richard Alley in his office at Penn State's Deike Building on Friday, October 14, 2011. CDT/Christopher Weddle

Renowned Penn State geologist Richard Alley has won a prestigious award from the National Academy of Sciences for contributions to researching polar ice sheets, the university announced Monday.

Alley will receive the Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship, which consists of $20,000 and money to give lectures on his work. The prize is awarded every three years.

“This award recognizes the contributions of our Penn State team and the importance of the work,” said Alley, whose academic home is in the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences. “I’m honored to receive it and hope in the lectures to make the results and the importance more broadly accessible.”

Alley has academic appointments in the department of geosciences and the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute.

Alley studies what polar ice shows about the historical climate of the Earth. He’s known for showing that the Earth has experienced abrupt climate change in the past.

According to the National Academy, Alley was honored for “innovative studies” into the flow of ice sheets and ice streams in Antarctica and Greenland.

“He greatly enhanced the ability to date and interpret annual layers in ice cores and thus added precision to understanding of past variations in climate,” the academy said in a news release.

Among his other notable achievements, Alley served on the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and received a Nobel Prize in 2007 for that work.

“Richard Alley is an outstanding earth scientist, a gifted teacher and researcher who seeks to share his knowledge widely among a vast array of audiences,” Penn State President Rodney Erickson said. “Penn State couldn’t be more proud of Dr. Alley and his many accomplishments.”

Alley will be honored April 27 at the National Academy of Sciences annual meeting.

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