Portrait of Lonnie G. Thompson

Lonnie G. Thompson

Lonnie Thompson, a distinguished professor of geologic sciences at The Ohio State University and senior research scientist with the Byrd Polar Research Center, has become one of the world's authorities on the melting of glaciers and ice caps as a warning of rising global temperatures. For the past three decades, Thompson, along with his wife and research partner Ellen Mosely-Thompson, has led an effort to first recognize that the shrinking of tropical glaciers and ice fields is an early warning of the impact of global climate change, and second, to rescue the remaining archives of ancient climate trapped in ice cores from those locations for future research. To rescue those records, Thompson and his team have conducted nearly 50 expeditions to some of the Earth's most remote places, to drill ice cores and bring them back to Ohio State to extract those climate records. The expeditions, dating back to 1973, have taken him to Antarctica and numerous ice caps on five continents, some as high as 23,600 feet (7,200 meters). He is believed to have spent more time at altitudes above 18,000 feet (5,500 meters) than any other human. Thompson was elected to the National Academy of Science in 2005. In November 2005, he was featured in a Rolling Stone article on those fighting global climate change. Also in 2005, he was awarded the prestigious Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, an honor often regarded as the environmental science equivalent to the Nobel Prize. Through his research endeavors, Thompson is a leading national spokesman on the subject of global climate change and is considered one of the most respected voices in the world on related policy issues. Thompson obtained his undergraduate degree from Marshall University, where he majored in geology. He subsequently attended The Ohio State University where he received his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees.

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