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Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research Editors’ Choice Award

About the prize

The Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research Editors’ Choice Award will be given yearly to recognize one or two influential papers demonstrating research excellence contributing substantially to our understanding of physical and environmental science in cold environments. The recipients will be selected yearly from all articles published in Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research by consensus of the Editors. In recognition of this outstanding research, in conjunction with Taylor and Francis, Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research will award $1000 to the first author or designated recipient.

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About the winning articles

Two articles were chosen for the 2019 Editors’ Choice Award:

“Iceberg production and characteristics around the Prince of Wales Icefield, Ellesmere Island, 1997-2015” by Abigail Dalton, Luke Copland, Adrienne Tivy, Wesley Van Wychen & Alison Cook in Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 51:1, 412-427.   DOI: [10.1080/15230430.2019.1634442]

Modern climate warming is amplified in the Arctic with consequences for sea-ice and glaciers. This ambitious study by Abigail Dalton and her co-authors focusses on the interface between tidewater glaciers and sea ice around the Prince of Wales Icefield in the Canadian Arctic.  The study assesses the temporal and spatial patterns of iceberg plume events formed by calving at the termini of 40 tidewater glaciers of the Prince of Wales Icefield over the period from 1997 to 2015. They use more than 8000 optical satellite images from around the periphery of the icefield to quantify ice-berg plume events and to examine the association of these events with sea-ice formation and break-up dates. They demonstrated that calving events were 2 to 3 times more frequent during the several months period of open water, amounting to nearly half of the total iceberg plume events, but that plume events continued to occur at a lower rate during the remaining eight to nine months of the year when landfast sea ice was present. The conclusions of this study highlight the consequences of sea-ice loss in the Arctic and the potential for increased calving and iceberg drift.

“Effects of climate change on high Alpine mountain environments: Evolution of mountaineering routes in the Mont Blanc massif (Western Alps) over half a century” by Jacques Mourey, Mélanie Marcuzzi, Ludovic Ravanel & François Pallandre in Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 51:1.   DOI: 10.1080/15230430.2019.1612216

One of the clearest impacts of anthropogenic climate change is the melting of glaciers and permafrost in mountains. In this important study Mourey and co-authors evaluated how climbing routes (itineraries) in the Mount Blanc Massif, considered to be the birthplace of modern mountaineering, have been impacted by climate change over the past five decades.  They compiled information on the declines in glacier mass and extent as well as permafrost melting and associated geomorphic impacts within the Mount Blanc Massif. Mourey et al. found that 93 out of 95 of the itineraries considered to be among the “finest routes” had been affected to some degree due to increased hazards associated with early opening of crevasses, loss of ice, unstable rock, and greater amounts of falling ice and rockslides, all attributable to climate change. The study provides a highly visible manifestation of climate change that should help inform the general public of its widespread importance and impact on mountain aesthetics.

In 2018, the following article was selected for the Editors’ Choice Award:

“Distribution, climatic relationships, and status of American pikas (Ochotona princeps) in the Great Basin, USA” by Constance I. Millar, Diane L. Delany, Kimberly A. Hersey, Mackenzie R. Jeffress, Andrew T. Smith, K. Jane Van Gunst & Robert D. Westfall in Arctic, Antarctic, and Alpine Research, 50:1.   DOI: [10.1080/15230430.2018.1436296]

With this extensive study of a potential indicator species in a sensitive environment, Connie Millar and her co-authors have expanded understanding about the current status of pikas in the Great Basin of North America and their susceptibility to climate change. This research found a wider geographic distribution than previously reported and persistence of pikas in a marginal ecoregion, establishing a broader understanding of their environmental resilience.  Furthermore, this paper notes that models of population assessments evaluating environmental impacts on species should take into consideration regional downscaling processes and ecological interactions. The authors will use the award proceeds to support the travel of a young scientist working on pika research to the 6th World Lagomorph Conference to be held in France in June 2021.

Year Author(s) Title Volume Issue
2019 Abigail Dalton, Luke Copland, Adrienne Tivy, Wesley Van Wychen & Alison Cook Iceberg production and characteristics around the Prince of Wales Icefield, Ellesmere Island, 1997-2015 51 1
2019 Jacques Mourey, Mélanie Marcuzzi, Ludovic Ravanel & François Pallandre Effects of climate change on high Alpine mountain environments: Evolution of mountaineering routes in the Mont Blanc massif (Western Alps) over half a century 51 1
2018 Constance I. Millar, Diane L. Delany, Kimberly A. Hersey, Mackenzie R. Jeffress, Andrew T. Smith, K. Jane Van Gunst & Robert D. Westfall Distribution, climatic relationships, and status of American pikas (Ochotona princeps) in the Great Basin, USA 50 1

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