Hansell Selected for Prestigious Sverdrup Lecture at AGU Ocean Sciences Meeting

Dennis Hansell

MIAMI- August 14, 2013 --James W. Murray, American Geophysical Union (AGU) Section President for Ocean Sciences announced that University of Miami (UM) Chemical Oceanographer Dennis Hansell is the 2014 Sverdrup Lecturer at the Ocean Sciences Meeting in Honolulu, February 23-28. The Lecture is one of the highest awards the Section bestows on its members. Hansell’s lecture will focus on progress in scientific understanding of the dynamics of organic material dissolved in the ocean, one of Earth’s major reservoirs of carbon.

The Sverdrup Lecturer is selected for exemplifying Harald Sverdrup’s outstanding contributions to the basic science of the atmosphere and the oceans, and the unselfish service promoting cooperation in atmospheric and oceanographic research.

Hansell is professor in the Division of Marine & Atmospheric Chemistry at the UM Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science. He served as chairman of the United States Carbon Cycle Scientific Steering Group from 2010 through 2013. Widely published and cited, Hansell’s research interests are in the biogeochemistry of marine carbon and the major nutrients, with a particular focus on the role of marine dissolved organic matter in elemental cycling. He investigates biogeochemical processes in the open ocean and polar seas, using observational approaches such as process studies, time-series, and hydrographic surveys. He recently led an oceanographic expedition to the Antarctic focused on carbon dynamics in the Ross Sea, documented by collaborator Cassandra Brooks in the popular, short online video “Two months breaking ice”. Hansell is currently leading an expedition into the Gulf of Alaska.

“With more than 61,000 members worldwide, the AGU is the largest scientific organization with the purpose of promoting discovery in Earth and space science for the benefit of humanity,” said Dr. Roni Avissar, professor and dean of UM’s Rosenstiel School. “We are very proud to have this honor conferred upon one of our faculty members. Dennis is at the forefront of chemical oceanography, working in extreme conditions to help us better understand carbon dynamics in the oceans. His research, which contributes to our understanding of climate processes, is highly valued by his peers inside and outside of our university, as clearly demonstrated by this well-deserved award.”

The Harald Ulrik Sverdrup Lecture honors the life and work of geophysicist Sverdrup who served as scientific director of Roald Amundsen's polar expedition on Maud (1918-1925). Sverdrup worked extensively on meteorology, magnetics, atmospheric electricity, physical oceanography, and tidal dynamics on the Siberian shelf, and even on the anthropology of Chukchi natives. At the Carnegie Institution of Washington in 1930, he began to analyze new hydrographic information on the Pacific, suggesting that its deep waters formed in the Indian Ocean sector of the Southern Ocean. In 1936 he was appointed director of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, where he stayed for 12 years. Under Sverdrup, the institution was transformed into a modern oceanographic entity. In 1948, Sverdrup returned to Norway to direct the Norwegian Polar Institute. He became professor of geophysics in Oslo (followed by other senior university positions), director of the Norwegian-British-Swedish Scientific Expedition to Antarctica, and chairman of a Norwegian program to improve fishing technology in India. Sverdrup's many honors included membership in the U.S. National Academy of Sciences (NAS) and the Norwegian Academy of Sciences. He was awarded the Agassiz Medal by the NAS, the Medal of the Royal Geographical Society, and the Bruce Medal, among others.

About the University of Miami's Rosenstiel School
The University of Miami is the largest private research institution in the southeastern United States. The University's mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940's, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world's premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, please visit

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