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Professor John Walsh is the winner of The Mohn Prize 2022

Dr John Walsh is awarded The Mohn Prize 2022 for his continuous leading role in generating our common understanding of how sea ice dynamics link intimately with ongoing changes, including extreme regional events, throughout the Arctic system.

John E. Walsh
John E. Walsh Photo: Laura Walsh
Portrettbilde av Aarskog, Karine Nigar
Aarskog, Karine Nigar Konstituert kommunikasjonssjef (til 1. september 2024), seniorrådgiver og faggruppeleder, formidling
Published: 12.11.21 14:15 Updated: 12.11.21 14:12
Arctic Sustainability Climate

The winner was announced in a ceremony in Tromsø, Norway, on Friday November 12, 2021. The announcement was done by Rector of UiT The Arctic University of Norway, Dr Dag Rune Olsen.

– Our warmest congratulations go to Dr John E. Walsh. He has taught us that linking all elements of a system is essential to understanding and predicting the future. This integrative approach, using observations and models, has enabled him to extend Arctic phenomena to global impacts as well as recognise extreme weather and environmental events specific to the distinct regions of the Arctic. We are looking forward to seeing Dr Walsh here in Tromsø next January, said Dr Dag Rune Olsen.

The award ceremony will take place during the conference Arctic Frontiers in Tromsø, January 31–February 3, 2022.

– I want to express my sincere gratitude for the Mohn Prize. When I was informed of the selection, I was stunned, and humble. The Mohn Prize is the Arctic’s most prestigious award, and I hope to do it justice, through the tremendous opportunities it provides, said Dr John Walsh. 

The Committee’s statement

The purpose of The Mohn Prize is to recognize outstanding research related to the Arctic.

– At the same time, the award also aims at putting issues that are central to the further development of the Arctic on the national and international agenda, said Professor Synnøve des Bouvrie, whos is the President of Academia Borealis, The Academy of Science and Letters of Northern Norway.

The Mohn Prize Steering Committee unanimously views Dr Walsh as an influential generator of new, ground-breaking knowledge about the changing Arctic climate system that is simultaneously creative, practical and of high public value beyond the scientific community. He is one of the most authoritative scholars in the field of modern Arctic change. The Committee underscores the importance of the breadth and depth of Dr Walsh’s contributions that are critical to our understanding of the future development of the Arctic.

Pioneer in climate research

Dr Walsh pioneered the linking of observation-based, multi-dimensional (coupled) climate-sea ice-atmospheric circulation models with global climate models to reveal the Arctic’s critical role in the global system. This knowledge has been disseminated to national and international policy-making and general audiences via influential scholarly reports, multi-disciplinary assessments, and public presentations.

Dr Walsh’s research and service epitomize how future development of the Arctic depends upon our ability to understand the connections between all components of the Arctic system, from the ocean and atmosphere to ice, land, and people of the North.

He actively promotes the role of science in developing policies to reduce associated threats for consideration by governments, and in producing sound science-based, policy-relevant assessments and public outreach products that inform decision.

About the laureate

Dr Walsh is Chief Scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks International Arctic Research Center and distinguished President’s Professor of Global Change at UAF. He is also the co-lead of the Climate Expert Group of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Programme. He continues to be one of the most active Arctic scholars in the fields of Arctic environmental change, seasonal to decadal variability of sea ice, predictability of climate change at high latitudes, and changes in Arctic weather in the context of rapid change.

Dr Walsh's impressive scholarly record of over 300 peer-reviewed publications is regularly punctuated by insightful sole- and first-authored papers that educate broadly and highlight fruitful research directions. He works across scientific disciplines, publishing with a large number of co-authors from many countries.

He was lead author for the cryosphere chapter of the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment (ACIA, 2005), the Polar Regions chapter of the IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report (AR4, 2007), the Arctic climate and modelling chapters of the Snow, Water, Ice and Permafrost in the Arctic report (SWIPA, 2011) of the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP) of the Arctic Council, the chapter "Our Changing Climate" and key appendices in the 3rd US National Climate Assessment report (2014), and the Arctic Extreme Events chapter of AMAP's Climate Update report (2021).

About the Mohn Prize

The International Mohn Prize for Outstanding Research Related to the Arctic (The Mohn Prize) has been established in collaboration by Academia Borealis, The Academy of Sciences and Letters of Northern Norway (NNVA), Tromsø Research Foundation (TFS), and UiT The Arctic University of Norway (UiT). The prize amounts to 2 million NOK (approximately 200 000 €) and is awarded biennially.

The Prize is named after Henrik Mohn (1835–1916), who is considered the founder of Norwegian research in meteorology and physical oceanography.

Aarskog, Karine Nigar Konstituert kommunikasjonssjef (til 1. september 2024), seniorrådgiver og faggruppeleder, formidling
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