The University of Massachusetts Amherst


This is among the most prestigious distinctions in the earth, climate and space sciences, awarded to less than 0.1% of members. The American Geophysical Union (AGU), a nonprofit organization that supports a worldwide membership of 130,000, ranging from enthusiasts to experts, annually recognizes a select number of individuals as part of its Honors and Recognition program. DeConto joins just 54 other individuals in the 2022 Class of Fellows. 

The AGU states that DeConto was selected “because [he has] advanced discovery and solutions in geosciences with your selfless dedication and invaluable contributions to our field" and for “outstanding achievements and contributions by pushing forward the frontiers of our science. He also embodies AGU’s vision of a thriving, sustainable and equitable future powered by discovery, innovation and action. Equally important is that he has conducted himself with integrity, respect and collaboration while creating deep engagement in education, diversity and outreach.”

DeConto, who joined the UMass faculty in 1999, is known as a world leader in understanding polar climate change, the response of glaciers and ice sheets to a warming climate and the resulting impacts of sea level rise on coastlines and people. He has served as lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and he is a recipient of the Tinker Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica.

“I am truly honored to have been selected from such a large and deep pool of deserving and committed nominees,” says DeConto. “I will do my very best to continue advancing our understanding of the workings of our changing planet” and “building the foundational knowledge needed to support and promote climate and environmental policies with the best and most equitable outcomes for everyone and all life on Earth.” DeConto’s election to fellow will be celebrated at a black tie honors ceremony on Wednesday, Dec. 14 in Chicago, Illinois. 

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