IASC Medals are awarded in recognition of exceptional and sustained contributions to the understanding of the Arctic. A maximum of one award is made each year, assuming that there is a nominee of appropriate quality. The award of medals is normally by the President of IASC during the Arctic Science Summit Week (or exceptionally at another major international meeting) following the ratification of the award.

Nominations for the IASC Medal can be submitted to the IASC Secretariat until 31 December each year. The Medal Awards Committee will consider the nominations received and the Medal will be awarded at the Arctic Science Summit Week the following year.

Download IASC Medal Nomination Form and see here for more information on the nomination criteria and procedures.


2021 Atsumu OhmuraAtsumu Ohmura

Outstanding achievements in understanding complex climate and glacier relationships, global energy budgets, and thermal energy flow in the Arctic; and for excellence in program building, international collaborations, and mentorship in the cryospheric sciences

Dr. Ohmura has had an enormously influential career in the Arctic sciences, spanning 50 years. His research has encompassed processes over both land and ocean, including the energy and water balance of tundra regions, the energy balance and climate across the Greenland ice sheet, and global radiation budgets, with methodologies ranging from in situ observations, to more theoretical approaches, to the application of climate models. Some of his main accomplishments are contributions to our current understanding of microclimates in the Arctic, including radiative fluxes in polar and alpine regions. In particular, he was one of the first scientists to study and monitor the interaction of solar radiation with snow and ice surfaces. Dr. Ohmura’s work has had broad reach throughout the global climate sciences community as well, where his discovery and contributions to the theory of global dimming, the missing absorption, and global brightening have given great insight and altered our understanding of shortwave and longwave energy fluxes in the global energy balance. Dr. Ohmura has exceptional accomplishments in building observational programs and international collaborations. He initiated the Global Energy Balance Archive (GEBA) in 1986 (and is still operational today) to archive monthly mean instrumental measurements of radiation and other energy fluxes for a wide range of users. His pioneering work in the characterization of radiative processes additionally led to the Baseline Surface Radiation Program, part of the World Climate Research Program (WCRPBSRN), through which over 60 BSRN stations are currently submitting their radiometry data to the World Radiation Monitoring Center. Both the GEBA and WCRP-BSRN would not have been established without Dr. Ohmura’s vision and determination for high-quality radiation and energy balance measurements. Dr. Ohmura has also greatly contributed to international organizations and research cooperation, including serving as a Swiss national delegate to IASC from 1992–2000 (during which he helped to assemble the first IASC working group for Arctic Glaciology). Dr. Ohmura has additionally served important roles within the International Glaciological Society (President, 2005– 2008), International Commission on Polar Meteorology, and the Radiation Panel of WCRP Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment (GEWEX). He has coordinated numerous joint cryospheric science projects with institutes in the US, Canada, Russia, and Denmark. Lastly, we recognize Dr. Ohmura’s outstanding contributions to mentorship in the cryospheric sciences. He has supervised more than 200 junior scientists from around the world, including 47 Ph.D. students, 147 M.Sc. students, and 25 postdoctoral fellows. Many of these mentees are now professors at distinguished institutions distributed across the globe, taking leading roles themselves in domestic and international research projects, and furthering the boundaries of knowledge of a variety of fields, including the mass balance of the Greenland ice sheet, variability of ice sheets during glacial/interglacial periods, global glacier fluctuations, and satellite remote sensing of polar cryospheric change.

IASC would like to thank this year’s Medal Committee for their service: Karen Frey (Chair), J. Otto Habeck, Mary Edwards, Yuji Kodama, Enooyaq Sudlovenick


2020 DrSueMooreSue E. Moore

Outstanding Achievement in Understanding Marine Mammals as Ecosystem Sentinels and how Climate Change is Influencing the Phenology of Arctic Species

Dr. Sue Moore has worked in the Arctic and contributed to Arctic science for over 40 years. During her early career, she concentrated on the ecology of Arctic marine mammals and established the first understanding of cetacean habitat selection in the North American Arctic. Her research on marine mammals as ecosystem sentinels is seminal work that has influenced conclusions on how climate change is influencing the phenology of both Arctic and sub-Arctic species. Dr. Moore’s research transcended and evolved to include an interdisciplinary understanding of Arctic ecosystems that integrates physical oceanography and atmospheric measurements with lower trophic levels. She was involved in creating mitigation scenarios to guard Arctic whales, walruses, and seals from negative impacts associated with commercial shipping and offshore oil and gas development and developing ecosystem scenarios to predict the future Arctic under the “Arctic Marine Pulses” model.

Dr. Moore has served in key roles in the international Arctic community including advisory positions at the International Whaling Commission (IWC), participated in multiple of science panels (including the IASC/SCAR Bipolar Action Group), and played other roles with the US National Science Foundation and the US Marine Mammal Commission. Her work in IWC has supported the rights of indigenous whalers to continue traditional subsistence harvests as part of a larger effort to sustain cultural practices.

Dr. Moore has advised and mentored early (and advanced) career scientists, including numerous women, who are currently working on Arctic issues as scientists and policymakers. She continues her work as a Research Scientist at the University of Washington’s Center for Ecosystem Sentinels. Based on her continuous and extremely productive career examining and understanding how climate change is transforming the Arctic and how these transformations influence trophic levels from phytoplankton to the subsistence culture of Arctic Indigenous Peoples, IASC is honored to award Dr. Sue Moore the 2020 IASC Medal.

IASC would like to thank this year’s Medal Committee for their service: João Canário (Chair), Stanislav Ksenofontov, Guðrún Nína Petersen, and Karen Frey.


marikaMarika Holland

Outstanding Achievement and Scientific Leadership role in Understanding, Modeling and Predicting the Arctic Climate System, in particular Sea Ice

You can watch Dr. Holland's IASC Medal Lecture here.

Dr. Holland is a Senior Scientist in the Climate and Global Dynamics Division of the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in the USA. She has in recent decades maintained an outstanding impact on international Arctic research and policy, exploring, among other topics, the coupled interactions between sea ice, atmosphere, ocean, land surface and biosphere. In addition to her excellent record of oral and written contributions, Dr. Holland has been a driver in building an integrated understanding of the Arctic, by connecting climate and Earth system modelers with experimentalists and field observers – as well as connecting the world’s academic research community with the software and model development community. She has also mentored numerous students and early career scientists, many of them women, through Ph.D. committees in Australia, Canada, Sweden, and the U.S., through frequent university course lectures, and as a scientific leader at NCAR. Because of her outreach in the U.S. and internationally, her influence as a female role model in the physical sciences is tremendous. Based on her continuous and extremely productive career with a focus on Arctic Climate System and how it is responding to climate change, IASC is honored to award Dr. Marika Michelle Holland the 2019 IASC Medal.

IASC would like to thank this year’s Medal Committee for their service: Guðfinna Aðalgeirsdóttir (Chair), João Canário, Hiroyuki Enomoto, Manisha Ganeshan, and Heidi Kassens.


young portraitOran Young

Outstanding Achievement in Understanding Arctic Institutional Dynamics, International Regimes, and Environmental Policy

Dr. Young is professor emeritus and co-director of the Program on Governance for Sustainable Development at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management at the University of California (Santa Barbara). He has an outstanding record of oral and written contributions in Arctic governance and international collaboration, with over 100 articles, multiple dozens of books and book chapters in outlets such as Science, Nature, Foreign Policy, International Organization, World Politics, and Global Environmental Politics. Dr. Young has maintained broad community service including participation as an IASC vice-president from 1994-2000 and sustained advocacy for inclusion of social sciences in multiple organizations towards a holistic approach to Arctic studies. During his esteemed career he facilitated the development of the Arctic Council, the University of the Arctic, and other Arctic governance groups. Oran´s work has had high-level impacts in the Arctic Council, especially through the Sustainable Development Working Group, as well as through involvement in a range of Arctic stakeholders collaborations, communities, and the scientific community. Dr. Young has also mentored over 50 graduate students, including 25 PhD students, and seven post-doctoral scholars. The IASC Medal Committee (Jackie Grebmeier (Chair), Joan Nymand Larsen, Tetsuo Ohata, Allison Fong, and Josef Elster) reviewed the nominations received and came to a unanimous decision. Based on his continuous and extremely productive career focus on Arctic environmental affairs, resource management and international regimes, and the human dimensions of Arctic change, IASC is honored to award Dr. Oran Young the 2018 IASC Medal.


tcallaghanTerry Callaghan

Outstanding Contributions to International Arctic Science Collaboration

Professor Terry Callaghan’s research and impressive publication record has focused on Arctic environmental and terrestrial ecosystem processes. However, the IASC Medal Committee (Josef Elster (Chair), Justiina Dahl, Yves Frenot, Jackie Grebmeier, and Joan Nymand Larsen) reviewed the nominations received and unanimously decided it Prof. Callaghan's networking and ability to connect large project teams internationally that has really set him apart. Prof. Callaghan has led and contributed to numerous international scientific syntheses. Through his work in the former Institute of Terrestrial Ecology (part of NERC), by setting up a field base in Ny Ålesund, Svalbard, as the Director of the Royal Swedish Academy of Science’s Abisko Scientific Research Station, and coordinator of the INTERACT network, Prof. Callahan has been instrumental in bringing researchers from around the world to the Arctic. Many scientists realise the value of networking, but it takes a fiery spirit like Prof. Callaghan's to make it happen.


John WalshJohn E. Walsh

Exceptional Contributions to Modeling and Evaluating Climate Change Impacts in the Arctic

The IASC Medal Committee (David Hik (Chair), Yves Frenot, Jackie Grebmeier, Joan Nymand Larsen, Sivaramakrishnan Rajan) reviewed the nominations received and unanimously decided to honor Dr. John Walsh for exceptional contributions to modeling and evaluating climate change impacts in the Arctic, particularly with regard to his sustained and distinguished contributions to quantitatively improving our understanding of the Arctic, from climate and weather extremes to hydrology, sea ice variability and the human dimensions of climate change impacts; and for his outstanding record of service and leadership to the wider Arctic science, education and policy community.


2015 Jacqueline GrebmaierJacqueline Grebmeier

Exceptional Contributions to the Understanding of the Arctic

IASC is pleased to announce that the 2015 IASC Medal, which is awarded in recognition of exceptional and sustained contributions to the understanding of the Arctic, goes to Jacqueline Grebmeier. The IASC Medal Committee reviewed the nominations received and unanimously decided to honor Jacqueline Grebmeier for her exceptional contributions to the understanding of Arctic benthic ecology and marine ecosystem dynamics; her pioneering work interpreting geochemical and stable isotope measurements in sediments; her commitment to the establishment of long-term observatories through international collaboration; and her outstanding leadership and mentorship within the Arctic science community.


odd rogneOdd Rogne

IASC Award for Service

In light of the 25th Anniversary, IASC decided to – for first the time – present a special IASC Award for Service, recognizing “25 Years of Vision, Dedication and Advancement of Arctic Science”. The IASC Award for Service was presented to IASC ́s former Executive Secretary Odd Rogne, who had been instrumental in the founding process of the organization in the late 1980s and making IASC a leading science organization for the Arctic.


j dowdeswellJulian Dowdeswell

Understanding of Glacier Dynamics and Ocean-Ice Sheet Interactions

The IASC Medal Committee honored Julian Dowdeswell as a World leader in the field of Arctic glaciology, recognizing his outstanding and unique contributions to the understanding of glacier dynamics and ocean - ice sheet interactions. The committee also highlighted Julian Dowdeswell´s outreach and communication activities which have been instrumental for public understanding of Arctic change.


l andersonLeif G. Anderson

Understanding the Arctic Ocean

Leif G. Anderson was honored for his pioneering work on the functioning of the Arctic Ocean and his groundbreaking scientific contributions to understanding the chemistry and carbon cycle of this very special ocean system.


i krupnikIgor Krupnik

Bridging Natural and Social Sciences

Igor Krupnik was awarded the IASC medal for making scientist, decision-makers and the general public aware that the Arctic is not only about ice and polar bears but also about its inhabitants, for bridging between natural and social sciences as well as to the knowledge of the indigenous Arctic residents, and for invaluable contributions to the success of the International Polar Year.


m jakobssonMartin Jakobsson

A New Generation of Scientists

Martin Jakobsson represents a new generation of Arctic scientist for which multinational and cross-disciplinary science comes naturally. His view that data should be open and accessible for research, is part of his success as illustrated by the wide use of the IBCAO digital bathymetric map of the Arctic Ocean. This beautiful map has been used in several thousand publications in areas such as oceanography, tectonics and palaeo-climate and is fundamental for understanding the Arctic.


p webberPatrick Webber

Medal for Arctic Science and Inspiring Mentorship

The first IASC Medal was awarded in 2010 to Patrick Webber who was recognized for his life-long scientific contributions as well as for the promotion of Arctic research in general through inspiring mentorship and leadership.

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