Researcher wins Fulbright chair to study Arctic change

waldenPULLMAN, Wash. – Von P. Walden will expand international collaboration on research into thinning sea ice as the 2015 U.S. Fulbright Arctic Chair in Norway. The distinguished chairs are among the most prestigious Fulbright appointments, according to the organization’s website.

Walden, a researcher in Washington State University’s Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, will spend four months at the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI) in Tromsø, a small city north of the Arctic Circle, and will collaborate with colleagues throughout the country.

The Arctic has experienced some of the greatest effects of a changing climate, including dramatic reductions in sea ice. Walden has collaborated with NPI for a year to understand sea ice formation in the Arctic Ocean.

Institute scientists have been conducting experiments aboard a ship frozen in the ice since January. Walden works in WSU’s Laboratory for Atmospheric Research and will join the Arctic ship in May to make measurements of the atmosphere.

The Fulbright award will allow him to analyze data and improve atmospheric modeling in the Arctic as part of the ongoing collaboration. He will also conduct seminars throughout the country and advise graduate students.

“We’re pleased that Dr. Walden will be able to share his expertise and work with Norwegian scientists to better understand the critical challenge of climate change in the Arctic,’’ said Candis Claiborn, dean of the Voiland College of Engineering and Architecture. “This important international collaboration promises to build and strengthen our programs and benefit future students.’’

The Fulbright program aims to increase understanding through international educational exchanges in more than 155 countries. The Arctic Chair began in 2010 to address issues in Arctic science.

Walden’s research interests include polar meteorology and remote sensing of the polar atmosphere, as well as understanding climate change in the western U.S. He has conducted seven field experiments in the Antarctic and Arctic regions and is leading an experiment at Summit Station, Greenland as part of the National Science Foundation’s Arctic Observing Network.

He served on NASA’s validation team for the Atmospheric Infrared Sounder experiment 2001-08. He is a founding member of the Knowledge to Action Steering Committee for the International Arctic Systems for Observing the Atmosphere. He holds an M.S. and Ph.D. in geophysics from the University of Washington and a bachelor’s degree in physics from Utah State University.