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Hinkel Earns Lifetime Achievement Award for His Work on Permafrost

Geography Professor Ken Hinkel is the recipient of a lifetime achievement award by the American Association of Geographers’ Cryosphere Specialty Group.

Date: 4/19/2010
By: Kim Burdett
Phone: (513) 556-8577
Ken Hinkel, professor in the Department of Geography, has received the 2010 Francois Emile Matthes Award for lifetime achievement by the Cryosphere Specialty Group. It’s only the fourth time the recognition has been awarded.

“I am honored,” Hinkel says. “Previous recipients include Roger Barry, Jerry Brown and Jesse Walker—names that were well known to me 30 years ago as a graduate student learning the discipline. That I should be included in that august group is both surprising and humbling.”

Wendy Eisner and Ken Hinkel.
Ken Hinkel, seen here with Geography Professor Wendy Eisner in Alaska, is the recipient of a lifetime achievement award by the Cryosphere Specialty Group of the AAG.

The Cryosphere Specialty Group is a chapter of the American Association of Geographers (AAG) that focuses on parts of the earth affected significantly by snow, ice or frozen ground. AAG has more than 10,000 members in more than 60 countries.

Hinkel has spent more than 30 years studying arctic climatology and permafrost—permanently frozen ground that covers 20 percent of the earth’s land surface—in Alaska.

He has continually received funding from the National Science Foundation’s Office of Polar Programs since 1991, working on a number of projects including the installation of sensors at sites across northern Alaska to collect data and monitor the effects of climate on the permafrost.

Ken Hinkel.
Hinkel has spent more than 30 years studying arctic climatology and permafrost.

He is spending some time this month in Barrow, Alaska, where he’ll be installing instruments beneath ice-covered lakes to measure water temperature, and to collect bathymetric measurements and map lake shorelines.

Hinkel was also president of the U.S. Permafrost Association in 2008.

“I have been very fortunate in that I have worked with and learned from very fine scientists and scholars from many disciplines,” Hinkel says. “Along with this award, the friendships, shared memories and joint accomplishments are among the things I most treasure.”

Read more about Professor Hinkel and UC's permafrost research:

Red Flags in the Great White North
Using traditional native knowledge to study climate change and landscape evolution.

Global Warning Among UC Topics at Permafrost Conference
Changes in the permafrost concern researchers from all over the world, including the University of Cincinnati. Researchers meet in Alaska this week to discuss 'Permafrost on a Warming Planet.'

Bringing the Arctic to Cincinnati
Lollie Hopson is an Inupiat from Alaska who visited campus to talk climate change and culture with the UC community.

UC Faculty Members Break New Ground While Treading Gently on the Alaskan Tundra
Three University of Cincinnati faculty members combine their separate disciplines and areas of expertise to study the effects of global warming on indigenous peoples in Alaska. Their research has lessons for us all.

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