NASA Goddard Space Flight Center
Claire Parkinson has been a climatologist at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center since July 1978, with a research emphasis on using satellite data to examine polar sea ice and climate change. She has also developed a computer model of sea ice, done fieldwork in both the Arctic and the Antarctic, including at the North Pole itself, and is the lead author of an atlas of Arctic sea ice from satellite data and a co-author of two other sea ice atlases.
Since April 1993, she has been Project Scientist for NASA's Aqua satellite mission, which launched in May 2002 and which continues to transmit data on many atmosphere, ocean, land, and ice variables. She wrote an introductory book on examining the Earth with satellite imagery, has co-authored a university textbook on climate modeling, and has co-edited two books on satellite observations related to global change. For the past two years, she's collaborated with a polar bear expert from the Canadian Wildlife Service, examining the possible impacts of sea ice on polar bear populations.
Claire has a B.A. in mathematics from Wellesley College and a Ph.D. in climatology from Ohio State University. She received a "NASA Outstanding Leadership" medal in 2003, and in 2004 she became the first female recipient of the Goldthwait Polar Medal from the Byrd Polar Research Center. She is a fellow of both the American Meteorological Society and Phi Beta Kappa. Outside of her NASA work, she wrote a book on the history of western science and twice won bronze medals in swimming backstroke in the U.S. Nationals of the Senior Olympics.
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