Dr. Claire L. Parkinson
Dr. Claire Parkinson is a climate scientist at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, where she has worked since 1978.
As a child, her favorite subject had always been math, and she received an undergraduate degree in math from Wellesley College; but then she shifted from math to science for her graduate work, receiving a PhD in geography/climatology from Ohio State University.
At NASA, her research emphasis is on polar sea ice and its connections to the rest of the climate system and to climate change. Most of her research involves generating and analyzing satellite data sets of the sea ice covers of the Arctic and the Antarctic, although she has also developed a computer model of sea ice and has done field work in both polar regions.
Since May 1993, Dr. Parkinson has additionally been Project Scientist for the Earth-observing Aqua satellite, which was launched in 2002 and collects data on many atmospheric, ocean, land, and ice variables. She has written books on satellite observations, climate change, and the history of science, and has led an outreach effort that resulted in a book titled Women of Goddard: Careers in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics and a set of six related posters.
Dr. Parkinson is an elected member of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the American Philosophical Society, Phi Beta Kappa, and Sigma Xi.