Richard Alley

Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences
The Pennsylvania State University
Cryosphere
University Park, PA 16802, USA


What led you to Earth and Space science?

I was a hobbyist as a kid, collecting rocks, caving, lapidary and more, with a great family who not only put up with me but encouraged my activities, and great community members who took me along.


How long have you been a member of AGU and why did you join?

Since 1986. That was the year of the Chapman Conference on Fast Glacier Flow, hosted by Garry Clarke at Whistler Village. Outstanding new results were coming out on surging and tidewater glaciers, ice streams and more. I was part of the team from Wisconsin reporting on soft till under West Antarctic ice streams. An organization that helped bring such exciting science to light was an organization to be part of.


What are you working on now?

Answering email, mostly. But, our Penn State Ice and Climate Exploration group is chasing the physics of grounding-line processes including the inland role of tidally driven flexure, and the stability of the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, behavior of the Northeast Greenland Ice Stream, the physical properties and climate record of the WAIS Divide deep core, and more. Rather amazingly, the excitement of that 1986 Chapman Conference has grown with time, and the importance of research on ice and climate has never been greater.