Ellen Mosley-Thompson, PhD
Ellen Mosley-Thompson, PhD, is a Distinguished University Professor in Geography (Atmospheric Science) and a Senior Research Scientist in the Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center at The Ohio State University.
Dr. Ellen Mosley-Thompson is globally recognized for her numerous contributions to polar science, glaciology and paleoclimatology. Since the 1970s, she has pursued the acquisition of ice core-derived climate histories extracted primarily from both polar ice sheets as well as from non-polar, high-elevation glaciers. Early in her career, she was instrumental in encouraging the polar glaciological community to focus more strongly on high temporal resolution (e.g., annual) climate histories, particularly from remote sites situated away from established stations in Antarctica and Greenland. Since the early1980s, Dr. Mosley-Thompson has advocated strongly for enhanced gender equality in polar science. In 1986, she was the first woman to lead an ice core drilling project to a remote field camp on the East Antarctic Plateau near the Pole of Inaccessibility. She has led nine expeditions to Antarctica and six to Greenland to retrieve ice cores. These unique cores, coupled with those recovered by Dr. Lonnie G. Thompson from the lower latitudes, constitute a collection of cores from both poles and everywhere in between. Our ultimate scientific objective has been, and continues to be, the reconstruction of Earth’s climate history at the highest possible temporal resolution on local, regional and global scales, which is why the acquisition of this global collection of ice core-derived records has been essential.
As an early career scientist, Dr. Mosley-Thompson was invited to serve on the National Academy of Sciences (NAS) Board on Global Change (1987−1992), which was tasked with designing and implementing the US Global Climate Research Program. She has served several terms on the NAS Polar Research Board, NSF’s Polar Programs Advisory Committee and various NAS Study Groups including “Emerging Research Questions in the Arctic.” Dr. Mosley-Thompson served for 10 years as the first female Director of The Ohio State University’s Byrd Polar and Climate Research Center (2009−18) and has published 145 peer-reviewed papers and received 57 research grants. She is a co-recipient of the Benjamin Franklin Medal, the Dan David Prize, and the Common Wealth Award for Science and Invention with Dr. Lonnie Thompson. She is an elected fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the American Association for the Advancement of Science and an elected member of the American Philosophical Society, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and National Academy of Sciences.
Dr. Mosley-Thompson was raised in Charleston, West Virginia by her parents, Houston L. and Elizabeth R. Mosley, who encouraged and supported her early interests in science and math. She received a Bachelor of Science degree in physics from Marshall University in Huntington, WV, where she met Lonnie Thompson. She received her Master of Science and PhD in Geography (climatology and atmospheric science) from The Ohio State University. Dr. Mosley-Thompson and Dr. Thompson are the proud parents of Regina E. Thompson, a source of constant joy and inspiration.