Eric Rignot is a glaciologist recognized for his pioneering work on the mass balance of the Greenland and Antarctic Ice Sheets using satellite radar interferometry, radar-derived ice thickness and surface mass balance data from climate models, for detecting rapid changes in glaciers of Antarctica and Greenland, and for his in-situ and remote sensing studies of ice-ocean interaction beneath floating ice shelves and at calving margins. Eric was born in Chambon Sur Lignon, Haute Loire, France where he grew up until he completed high school. He graduated from Ecole Centrale des Arts et Manufactures, Paris, France, in 1985, earned Master Degrees in Astrophysics and Astronomy, Aeronautical Engineering, and Electrical Engineering, and a PhD in Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California, Los Angeles in 1991. He joined NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in 1988 in the Radar Science and Engineering Section, where he has remained a Senior Research Scientist and Joint Faculty Appointee. He was appointed Professor of Earth System Science at the University of California Irvine in 2007 where he became Chancellor Professor and Donald Bren Professor. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and a Member of the National Academy of Sciences.

Research Interests

Eric Rignot's research interests is to understand the interaction between ice and climate, to determine how the ice sheets in Antarctica and Greenland will respond to climate change in the coming century and affect regional to global sea level rise. He is a glaciologist, electrical engineer, climate change scientist, interested in glacier dynamics, ice-ocean interaction, radar remote sensing, ocean/sea ice/ice sheet numerical modeling, interferometry, and radio echo sounding. He has worked the first comprehensive estimates of the mass balance of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets with partitioning between surface mass balance and ice dynamics processes and acceleration. His work revealed rapid and potentially irreversible grounding line retreat of West Antarctica glaciers in the Amundsen Sea sector and the critical importance of ice-ocean interactions in controlling the evolution of ice shelves and ice front calving margins. He has conducted geophysical surveys using airborne and shipborne platforms in Greenland, Antarctica and Patagonia and has developed the use of remote sensing satellite techniques over glaciers from NASA and international space agencies. He has been involved with media outlets and policymakers to inform about changes in the polar regions brought on by climate warming.

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Primary Section

Section 16: Geophysics

Secondary Section

Section 31: Engineering Sciences