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The Cryosphere Specialty Group sponsors two award competitions -the François Emile Matthes Award and the R.S. Tarr Student Paper competition

The Francois Emile Matthes Award

Francois Matthes

The Cryosphere Specialty Group sponsors the François Emile Matthes Award. This award was first presented in 2007 and given to meritorious individuals for their Lifetime Time Achievements in Cryospheric Science.

Dr. Matthes was one of the founders of the AAG, served as its treasurer between 1913 and 1919, and was the AAG president in 1933. He chaired the AGU Committee on Existing Glaciers for 16 years, and served as secretary and acting-president of the IUGG’s Commission on Snow and Glaciers. He worked for the US Geological Survey for 51 years until his retirement in 1947. He was a renowned expert in topographic mapping, glaciers, and climate change, and as part of his work for the USGS he mapped Glacier National Park, the Grand Canyon, Yosemite Valley, and Mt. Ranier National Park. Over two decades he assembled a collection of photographs of American glaciers which is now housed with the United States Geological Survey.


Ellen Mosley-Thompson

Ellen Mosley-Thompson

Fritz Nelson

Fritz Nelson

Kenneth M. Hinkel

Ken Hinkel

H. Jesse Walker

H. Jesse Walker

Jerry Brown

Jerry Brown

Roger G. Barry

Roger G. Barry



Each year the Francois Emile Matthes Award recipient is invited to write an essay that is published in the Cold Trail Newsletter.



The R.S. Tarr Student Paper Competetion

The Cryosphere Specialty Group sponsors the R.S. Tarr Student Paper Competition, an annual award given for the best student paper sponsored by the Cryosphere Specialty Group at an annual AAG meeting. Normally, the Tarr Competition will be organized as a separate session. The competition carries a cash award and recognition at the annual AAG Awards Luncheon.

Initially organized by CrSG member Andrew Klein (Texas A&M University), the award honors Ralph Stockman Tarr, Professor of Dynamic Geology and Physical Geography at Cornell University in the early 20th century. Tarr was an accomplished glaciologist and glacial geomorphologist and was a tireless advocate of physical geography. He is particularly well known for his glaciological work in southern Alaska, and for his work on the Quaternary chronology of upstate New York.

For further information about the Tarr Competition, contact one of the CrSG officers or Professor Andrew Klein at
RS Tarr Photo Plus Inset


2012 - Mr. Panzhu Zhao, Texas A&M University
Spatial Variation in Snow Albedo in Relationship to Satellite-based Albedo Retrievals

2011 - Ms. Brenna Forester, Western Washington University
Integrating species distribution modeling and phylogeography to assess past and future climate change impacts on the distribution of an alpine-arctic plant, Rhodiola Intergrifolia

2011 runner up - Ms. Julie Miller University of Utah
QuickSCAT Derived Snow Accumulation Estimates in the Percolation Zone of the Greenland Ice Sheet 

2010 - Rachel Bernstein, University of Delaware
Southern Ocean Sea Ice Volume Transport using NIC Chart-Derived Thickness Distributions

2009 -Venu Chu, University of California - Los Angles
Rapid response of sediment plumes to Greenland ice-sheet surface melt

2008 -Jennifer Morris, Texas A&M University
Impurities in Snow: Effects on Spectral Albedo of Prairie Snowpacks

2007 -Dmitri Streletskiy, University of Delaware
Monitoring Frost Heave and Thaw Subsidence in Northern Alaska with Differential GPS

2006 - Lora Koenig, Univ of Washington
Estimate of Past Climate Information in Passive Microwave Emission

2005 - Elias Deeb, University of Utah
Monitoring Changes in Snow Water Equivalent Using Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar (InSAR)

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