The Climate and Cryosphere (CliC) International Project Office (IPO) supports the project Scientific Steering Group in coordinating and implementing the CliC projects and tasks. Its functions of international communication and liaison make it the primary point of contact for those wishing to participate in, contribute to, or learn more about the CliC projects. The IPO is currently hosted by the University of Massachusetts Amherst and supported by NSF and NASA. Contact the team at info@climate-cryosphere.org.

UMass, NSF, and NASA logos

Current Staff Members

Portrait of Keith Alverson

Keith Alverson – CliC Executive Director

Keith Alverson is the CliC Executive Director. He splits his time between the International Project Office at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, USA and his home in Ottawa, Canada. From 2004 until 2020, Keith was a director in the UN system including at UNESCO’s Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission in Paris, France, the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) Headquarters in Nairobi, Kenya, and the UNEP International Environmental Technology Center in Osaka, Japan. While at the UN he oversaw global cooperation and country-level project implementation related to ocean observation, climate adaptation, ecosystems, and waste management. Prior to 2004, he was Executive Director of the IGBP Past Global Changes (PAGES) project in Bern, Switzerland, coordinating global cooperation in paleoclimatic and paleoenvironmental research. Keith has over 150 publications including Resilience: The Science of Adaptation to Climate Change (Elsevier, 2018), Global Change and Future Earth (Cambridge, 2018), Past Global Changes and Their Significance for the Future (Elsevier, 2000), Paleoclimate, Global Change and the Future (Springer, 2002), Watching over the world’s oceans (Nature, 2005) and Taking the Pulse of the Oceans (Science, 2006). He has served on a number of high-level scientific panels including currently (2023-2027) as Secretary General of the International Association for Meteorology and Atmospheric Sciences.

Portrait of Meghan Taylor

Meghan Taylor – CliC Executive Officer

Meghan is a biogeochemist with board interests in all things ice and climate related. She got a Ph.D. at the University of Michigan studying paleoceanography and the Cordilleran Ice Sheet margin during the last glacial maximum. As a postdoctoral fellow at Northern Arizona University, she spent several seasons in Alaska helping to manage a permafrost thaw experiment carbon at Eight Mile Lake and measuring the effects of thaw on methane emissions. She also worked on methane measurement techniques and scaling in northern wetlands at Yale University and winter warming effects on stream biogeochemistry at the University of Vermont before coming to UMass Amherst and the CliC Office.

Portrait of Raymond Bradley

Raymond S. Bradley – Host Institution Scientist

Raymond Bradley is a Distinguished Research Professor in the Department of Earth Geographic and Climate Sciences, School of Earth and Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. His research focuses on climate variations over recent centuries and millennia.  He has carried out extensive fieldwork in the Arctic and North Atlantic region (Canadian High Arctic, Greenland, Svalbard, the Faroe Islands, and northern Norway). 

Bradley did his undergraduate work at Southampton University (U.K.) and his post-graduate studies (M.A., Ph.D.) at the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research, University of Colorado, Boulder. He also earned a D.Sc. from Southampton University, for his contributions in paleoclimatology.  

Bradley has received honorary degrees (D.Sc honoris causa) from Lancaster University (U.K.), Queen’s University (Canada), and the University of Bern (Switzerland). He was awarded the Oeschger Medal of the European Geosciences Union and he received the Zuckerberg Leadership Chair from the University of Massachusetts Foundation.

He is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, the American Geophysical Union, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the Arctic Institute of North America, the Finnish Academy of Science and Letters, and the European Academy of Science.

Bradley has written or edited thirteen books on climatic change and authored/co-authored more than 220 peer-reviewed articles on the topic. 

Robert DeConto – Host Institution Scientist

Rob DeConto is a Provost Professor of Earth, Geographic, and Climate Sciences and Director of the School of Earth & Sustainability at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. His research on polar climate change, the dynamic behavior of ice sheets, sea level rise, and the impacts of sea level rise on coastlines and people has been featured in Rolling Stone, on the cover of Nature, and the front page of The New York Times. Rob is a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, and a recipient of the Tinker-Muse Prize for Science and Policy in Antarctica.

Portrait of Katie Quigley

Katie Quigley – Communications and Outreach Manager

Katie is a communications specialist, web designer, and graphic designer with a background in social sciences. She graduated from McGill University with a BA in Gender, Sexuality, Feminism, and Social Justice Studies and minor in Cultural Studies. Katie prioritizes accessibility in her work and enjoys putting her skills towards the betterment of the planet and its most vulnerable communities. In her free time, she is an avid traveler, playlist curator, and pop culture analyst with special interests in documentary media and psychology.

Hamza Shah – Communications Intern

Hamza is a Kenyan Bachelor’s student in the final year of his Communication Science degree at the University of Amsterdam and a minor in Economics and Business Economics. He looks forward to applying his skills for net gain for the people and planet. He enjoys rock climbing, jujitsu, football, and being outdoors.

Portrait of Narelle van der Wel

Narelle van der Wel – WCRP Secretariat Liaison

Narelle joined the WCRP Secretariat as a Science and Communications Officer in June 2021. She was previously a consultant with WCRP since April 2016. She works in a range of areas including strategic planning and implementation, communication and outreach, and science coordination and support. Narelle is responsible for the process of implementing the WCRP Strategic Plan, which involves consultation with stakeholders and the wider science community and supporting the WCRP Joint Scientific Committee (JSC) in developing an Implementation Plan. This includes overseeing and supporting the WCRP Lighthouse Activities. Narelle is also responsible for communication, including the conceptualization, writing, editing, and design of newsletters, website content, and other WCRP communication products. She also supports early career researchers to facilitate capacity building, education, and outreach activities.

Narelle previously took charge of the logistics and planning for the WCRP Climate Science Week and the 40th Anniversary Symposium (December 2019), the WMO Public Science Lecture (2019), and took overall responsibility for the process of developing the WCRP Strategic Plan 2019-2028 (2019) and the WCRP Communication Strategy 2017-2020 (2017).

Narelle completed a Ph.D. in Polar Studies (Glaciology) at Scott Polar Research Institute, University of Cambridge (UK), focusing on numerically modeling the flow of ice streams in Antarctica. She then worked as a Postdoctoral Research Assistant at Scott Polar Research Institute on two projects modeling the flow of Greenland glaciers. In September 2018, she completed a Postgraduate Certificate in Climate Change Management at the University of Edinburgh. 

Past Staff Members

Beatriz Balino – Executive Director (2020 – 2022) and Interim Director 2023

Beatriz has more than 25 years of experience in the management and administration of multidisciplinary scientific programs and research centers on marine, climate, and global environmental research at the national and international level. Her international experience includes the positions of Deputy Director at the Secretariat of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP, 2006) and Assistant Executive Officer at the International Project Office of the Joint Global Ocean Flux Study (JGOFS, 1996 – 2000). At WCRP, she held the position of Regional Science Coordinator at the Coordination Office for Regional Activities (CORA) (2019 – 2021).

Beatriz holds a Ph.D. in marine biology from the University of Bergen and has conducted fundamental and applied research in marine biology and fjord ecology, theoretical studies of plankton dynamics and ecosystem modeling, sea ranching, and aquaculture of marine species. At the University of Bergen, she held leadership and managerial positions such as Deputy Director at the Division of Research Management, Science Advisor for Marine Research, and National Coordinator of the Norwegian Consortium of Marine Research Universities.

Michael Sparrow – WCRP Secretariat Liaison (2014 – 2021)

Dr. Michael (Mike) Sparrow is the WCRP Joint Planning Staff (JPS) Senior Scientific Officer, in charge of CliC, the Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) project, and Sea Level and Cryosphere Grand Challenges, succeeding Vladimir Ryabinin. Mike comes from the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, where he has been Executive Director for the last five years and Executive Officer before that. During this time his role was to guide and implement SCAR’s vision and objectives, develop and implement SCAR activities, assist in raising external funds, oversee SCAR’s communications, represent SCAR at international meetings, and manage the SCAR Secretariat. Mike is a Southern Ocean physical oceanographer with a Ph.D. in Oceanography, a master’s degree in Atmospheric Sciences, and a bachelor’s degree in Physics. Previous to moving to the SCAR Secretariat in 2007, Mike was based at the National Oceanography Centre, Southampton, working for the Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) project of the World Climate Research Programme, where he was responsible for coordinating CLIVAR’s interests in the Southern Ocean and Antarctic region, as well as in Africa. He has also worked and lived in Spain and China and taken part in four cruises to the Antarctic, including two as Co-Chief Scientist. He has published scientific papers ranging on subjects as diverse as the flow of Antarctic Bottom Water around Antarctica to the study of regional climate change in China and has given media interviews (e.g. Sky News, the Chinese Broadcasting Corporation, and Antartida Urbana). His interests include Capoeira, yoga, writing historical fiction, and surviving his two boys. 

Helene Asbjørnsen –  Executive Officer (January 2021 – July 2021)

Helene is a physical oceanographer with a Ph.D. from the Geophysical Institute at the University of Bergen in Norway.  Her research focuses on obtaining a more robust understanding of regional ocean heat content variability in the Arctic-Atlantic sector on interannual to decadal time scales. Helene uses regional heat budget analysis and Lagrangian trajectory modeling to assess the link between anomalous ocean heat, large-scale ocean circulation changes, and atmospheric forcing. She joined the CliC IPO to assist Beatriz mainly with CliC communications (web and social media).

Gwénaëlle Hamon – Executive Officer (2014 – 2020)

Portrait of Gwen Hamon

Gwen holds a master’s degree in Ecology and Environmental Studies from the University Paris-Sud XI in France, where she comes from. She specialized in ocean issues through an internship at UNESCO Headquarters in Paris with a focus on scientific research and commercial uses of marine genetic resources, and on the development of a database on marine bio-prospecting in 2007. From 2009 to 2014, she worked as an officer at the Global Ocean Forum (NGO) based at the Gerard J. Mangone Center for Marine Policy of the University of Delaware in the USA, where she was in charge of coordinating the activities of the organization related to marine Areas Beyond National Jurisdiction (ABNJ), marine biodiversity, climate change, capacity building, and outreach.

After her first visit to Tromsø in early 2014, Gwen knew that she would be back in the Arctic eventually! In September 2014, she joined the CliC office in Tromsø to work with the team on the Arctic Freshwater Synthesis project, as well as other CliC activities. She moved from CliC Officer to Executive Officer in January 2015. From January 2019 to October 2020, Gwen coordinated the CliC Project as a consultant for WMO, working from Geneva.

Portrait of Lawrence HIslop

Lawrence Hislop – Director (2016 – 2018)

Hailing from Montreal, Canada, Lawrence has more than ten years of international experience leading UN and EU-funded projects and has produced many environmental assessments and related communications products. From 2009 to 2014, Lawrence led the Polar and Cryosphere program at GRID-Arendal in Norway and collaborated on projects with the Arctic Council, University of the Arctic, and UNEP-linked activities in Polar and mountain regions. He was also on the management team of the Himalayan Climate Adaptation Program (HICAP) from 2011 to 2014 and initiated long-term research on environmental impacts in Nepal, India, Pakistan, and China. In addition to his research work, Lawrence also produces documentary photography, films, and infographics.

Jenny Baeseman – Director (2012 – 2015)

Portrait of Jenny Baesemann in Greenland

Dr. Baeseman began her love of the cold growing up on a dairy farm in Wisconsin, USA. She has a B.S. in Water Chemistry from the University of Wisconsin – Stevens Point, a M.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Minnesota, a Ph.D. in Civil Engineering with an environmental emphasis from the University of Colorado, and postdoctoral training in Geosciences from Princeton University. She has spent four seasons in Antarctica, three in the McMurdo Dry Valleys, and one on the peninsula. Jenny was very involved in the planning of the International Polar Year (IPY), and through this, co-founded and became the Founding Director of the Association of Polar Early Career Scientists (APECS), which grew to over 3,500 members from 76 countries during her leadership. One of her main objectives in developing APECS was to help young researchers combine their interests in interdisciplinary polar science with education and outreach and gain international leadership through professional development activities. In April 2012, she turned over the reigns of the early career group to become the Director of the Climate and the Cryosphere Project (CliC), sponsored by the World Climate Research Programme, the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research, and the International Arctic Science Committee. The CliC Project office is hosted by the Norwegian Polar Institute in Tromsø, Norway. She continues research in her spare time through an adjunct position at the International Arctic Research Center (IARC) at the University of Alaska – Fairbanks. One of Jenny’s personal goals is to make sure everyone she meets knows that polar bears don’t eat penguins – as they live at different Poles.

Portrait of Vladimir Ryabinin

Vladimir Ryabinin – WCRP Joint Planning Staff Liaison

Vladimir Ryabinin is a Senior Scientific Officer for the World Climate Research Program, Geneva, where he works on international coordination of climate research with a focus on high latitudes, cryosphere, hydrological cycle, stratosphere, atmospheric chemistry, and the role of oceans in climate. He has a background in hydrometeorology and engineering with a Ph.D. in Physics and Mathematics from the Hydrometeorological Research Centre of the USSR and a Doctor of Physical and Mathematical Sciences in Geophysics and Oceanography degree from the Hydrometeorological Research Centre of the Russian Federation. Before joining WCRP, he was a researcher, developer of weather and oceanographic prediction technologies, and the Executive Director of the International Ocean Institute with headquarters in Malta. Vladimir is passionate about helping researchers address questions to better predict climate variability and project climate change and has been a great asset to the CliC project.

Lorna Little – Volunteer Frostbyte Editor

Portrait of Lorna Little

Lorna is a polar botanist from New Zealand. After studying the potential for weeds to invade alpine regions at the University of Otago, New Zealand, she went on to study all things Antarctic in the Post Graduate Certificate of Antarctic Studies at the University of Canterbury. Her background in botany and passion for polar places sent her to the northern hemisphere when she began her Ph.D. investigating the role of flower color in the New Zealand Subantarctic and Arctic Svalbard with the University of Otago and the University Center in Svalbard. She has been involved in various APECS Oceania initiatives in New Zealand, and since completing her Ph.D. in December 2013, has been developing outreach and education activities about polar regions and botany. Lorna has been a Frostbyte Editor since May 2014.

Portrait of Eric Warming

Erik Warming – Administrative Officer (April 2014 – November 2014)

Erik is a Danish geophysicist from Copenhagen University. Originally he studied meteorology, but by random inspiration, he spent 6 months in Svalbard at the University Centre in Svalbard. It was then that his heart met the Arctic. He returned twice to continue the study of study glaciers, snow, sea ice, and atmosphere chemistry.

His master’s thesis tackled the issue of drill liquid contamination of ice cores using the Continuous Flow Analysis system (CFA), which does chemical analysis of ice cores. His new instrument was field tested at the NEEM ice core drill site on the Greenland ice sheet. This was the topic of one of the very first FrostBytes, which was produced for the 2012 IPY conference in Montreal. Erik has a deep-rooted interest in polar science and research and has been the primary video and FrostByte editor for CliC since 2013.

Heidi Isaksen – Administrative Officer (2012 – 2014)

Past CliC Fellows

Portrait of Alice Bradley

Alice Bradley – Year of Polar Prediction Activities (2015 – 2017)

Alice is a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Colorado Boulder in the aerospace engineering department, focusing on remote sensing and Earth sciences. She is currently working on her dissertation, titled “Ice formation in the Arctic Ocean: Observed processes and climate feedbacks.” Alice’s research broadly focuses on sea ice-ocean-atmosphere interactions in environments with partial sea ice cover. Her ongoing research includes both the marginal ice zone in the Arctic and polynyas in the Antarctic, with a special focus on unmanned aircraft as a sensing platform. She did her undergraduate work in electrical engineering at Dartmouth College and received her M.S. in remote sensing from the University of Colorado. For more information on Alice, visit her website here.

François Massonnet – Year of Polar Prediction Activities (2015 – 2017)

Portrait of Francois Massonnet

Dr. Massonnet obtained his Ph.D. in Sciences in 2014 from the Université Catholique de Louvain (UCL). During his Ph.D., he developed various metrics to evaluate sea ice models used in the framework of climate reconstructions, predictions, and projections. He participated as a contributing author to the IPCC WG1 AR5 and was involved in several national and international research projects about climate prediction and predictability. He also implemented data assimilation methods in large-scale sea ice models for state and parameter estimation.

Dr. Massonnet is now a F.R.S.-FNRS Post-Doctoral Fellow from the UCL and is undertaking an 18-month scientific visit at the Catalan Institute of Climate Sciences (IC3, Barcelona) in the Climate Forecasting Unit (CFU) where he explores the seasonal-to-interannual predictability of extreme winters at mid-latitudes in response to Arctic climate change. He is also implementing initialization methods for near-term prediction in both the Arctic and Antarctic regions. He is part of the CliC Sea Ice and Modeling Forum and has written several reports for CliC on sea ice observation needs for modeling.

Portrait of Ylva Sjoberg

Ylva Sjöberg – Permafrost Research Priorities (2014 – 2015)

Ylva’s Ph.D. project focuses on exploring the interactions between permafrost and groundwater, which is crucial for understanding future changes that can be expected in the Arctic as the climate warms. The aim is to assess the effects of permafrost thaw on hydrology, both at a detailed and process-oriented scale and at catchment scales. This is done by analyzing long-term river discharge data, field mapping of ground ice using geophysical methods, and physically-based modeling of coupled groundwater flows and heat transport. Ylva is helping to facilitate the IPA/CliC Permafrost Research Priorities Targeted Activity.