Washington University’s Michaelides Wins NASA Fellowship for Early-Career Researchers

Roger Michaelides, an assistant professor of earth, environmental, and planetary sciences in Arts & Sciences at Washington University in St. Louis, has received a prestigious NASA Early Career Investigator Fellowship in Earth Science.

Michaelides will utilize the $300,000 funding over three years to monitor Arctic permafrost, frozen layers of soil that cover roughly one-quarter of the Northern Hemisphere’s territory. That work could yield fresh climatic insights.

“Arctic permafrost is one of the largest reservoirs of soil carbon anywhere on the planet,” he went on to say. “It also happens to be in a region that is warming faster than almost anywhere else.”
When permafrost thaws, bacteria break down organic compounds in the soil, releasing greenhouse gases like methane and carbon dioxide. This might accelerate warming in the Arctic and elsewhere.

The new project will employ Interferometric Synthetic Aperture Radar deployed from aircraft and satellites, including those launched by the European Space Agency and NASA in collaboration with the Indian Space Research Organisation.

Michaelides is a faculty fellow at Washington University’s McDonnell Center for the Space Sciences and an associate at the Taylor Geospatial Institute.

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