American Philosophical Society
Member History

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Residency
Resident (1)
Subdivision
105. Physical Earth Sciences[X]
1Name:  Dr. Claire L. Parkinson
 Institution:  NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
 Year Elected:  2010
 Class:  1. Mathematical and Physical Sciences
 Subdivision:  105. Physical Earth Sciences
 Residency:  Resident
 Living? :   Living
 Birth Date:  1948
   
 
Claire Parkinson is a climatologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, with a research emphasis since the late 1970s on polar sea ice and climate change. She is also keenly interested in the history and philosophy of science. Parkinson developed one of the earliest computer models of sea ice and has done field work in both the Arctic and Antarctic. However, her research centers mostly on satellite data analysis, which she has used (with others) to establish many details of the long-term trends and interannual variabilities in the Earth’s sea ice covers, including a substantial decrease in Arctic sea ice and a lesser increase in Antarctic sea ice since the late 1970s. Since 1993, Dr. Parkinson has additionally been Project Scientist for NASA’s Aqua satellite, which launched in May 2002 and is transmitting data on many atmospheric, ocean, land, and ice variables. She has written books on the history of science (Breakthroughs: A Chronology of Great Achievements in Science and Mathematics), satellite observations (Earth from Above: Using Color-Coded Satellite Images to Examine the Global Environment), and climate change (Coming Climate Crisis? Consider the Past, Beware the Big Fix). She also coauthored with Warren Washington a textbook on climate modeling, coauthored atlases of Arctic and Antarctic sea ice, and co-edited two books on satellite observations related to global change. Parkinson has received a NASA Outstanding Leadership Medal for her work as the Aqua Project Scientist, a NASA Exceptional Service Medal for her work on educational outreach, and the Goldthwait Polar Medal from the Byrd Polar Research Center for her sea ice research. She is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and Phi Beta Kappa and is on the Council and Committee on Council Affairs of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). She was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering in 2009 and was elected to the American Philosophical Society in 2010. She was elected to the American Academy of Arts & Sciences in 2018. Her B.A. degree is from Wellesley College, and her M.A. and Ph.D. degrees are from Ohio State University. She frequently speaks to teachers, students, and the general public, on topics including global ice coverage, climate change, the Aqua satellite mission, and the value of satellite observations.
 
Election Year
2010[X]