UAF scientist wins prestigious award for Arctic research

John Walsh, the 2022 winner of the Mohn Prize for his outstanding research in the Arctic.
Photo by Laura Walsh
John Walsh, the 2022 winner of the Mohn Prize for his outstanding research in the Arctic.

John Walsh, a climate scientist at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, has received the Mohn Prize for his outstanding research in the Arctic. The prize amounts to roughly $230,000 and is one of the premier Arctic research awards.

The Mohn Prize sponsors announced that Walsh is the 2022 laureate during a program on Nov. 12 at the Fram Center in Tromsø, Norway. 

The Academia Borealis, the Academy of Sciences and Letters of Northern Norway, Tromsø Research Foundation and the Arctic University of Norway award the Mohn Prize every other year to scientists who are international leaders in Arctic research and have developed groundbreaking new knowledge about the region.

Walsh, chief scientist at the UAF International Arctic Research Center, is the first U.S. scientist to receive the prize. He has had a long and distinguished career studying Arctic climate variability and is one of the world’s leading Arctic climate change experts.

The Mohn Prize steering committee stated in its award announcement that members unanimously view Walsh as an “influential generator of new, groundbreaking knowledge about the changing Arctic climate system that is simultaneously creative, practical and of high public value beyond the scientific community.” 

With an impressive scholarly record of over 300 peer-reviewed publications, Walsh is one of the most authoritative experts in modern Arctic climate change. The breadth and depth of his contributions to the field have advanced our understanding of the Arctic’s future. 

“Our warmest congratulations go to Dr. John E. Walsh. He has taught us that linking all elements of a system is essential to understanding and predicting the future,” said Dag Rune Olsen, Mohn Prize steering committee chair and rector of the Arctic University of Norway. “This integrative approach, using observations and models, has enabled him to extend Arctic phenomena to global impacts as well as recognise extreme weather and environmental events specific to the distinct regions of the Arctic.” 

Walsh hopes the award will spur more international collaboration in Arctic research and make a difference for global climate change. 

“The Arctic University of Norway is Europe's premier Arctic university, and the University of Alaska Fairbanks is America’s Arctic university,” Walsh said in his acceptance video. “Together we have the scientific expertise to advance the frontiers of Arctic science.”

An award ceremony will take place during the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromsø from Jan. 31-Feb. 3, 2022.