Waleed Abdalati

Waleed Abdalati has served as director of CIRES, the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, since 2013. CIRES is a research partnership between the University of Colorado Boulder (CU-Boulder) and the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration, and Abdalati has been a CIRES Fellow since 2008, when he joined the CU-Boulder faculty in the Geography Department. His research focuses on the use of satellites and aircraft to understand how and why Earth's ice cover is changing, and what those changes mean for life on our planet.

Prior to joining CU-Boulder, Abdalati worked from 1996-2008 at NASA, as a researcher and later head of the Cryospheric Sciences Branch at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, as well as Manager of NASA's Cryospheric Sciences Program at the agency’s headquarters. He has been heavily involved in various satellite missions to study the Earth’s polar regions, and led or participated in nine field and airborne campaigns in the Arctic and Antarctic. In 2011, Dr. Abdalati returned to NASA to serve as the agency’s chief scientist, advising the NASA Administrator on NASA science programs, strategic planning, and related investments.

Abdalati received a Bachelor of Science degree from Syracuse University in 1986, a Master of Science degree from the University of Colorado in 1991, and a Ph.D. from University of Colorado in 1996. In the mid 1980s, before returning to graduate school, he worked as an engineer in the aerospace industry, designing, analyzing and testing components of various spacecraft and submarine systems.

In addition to publishing numerous peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and NASA-related technical reports, he has given featured lectures and keynote addresses at events at the United Nations and the White House, during a wide range of professional and international meetings, and for major professional venues such as the Smithsonian Institution, the American Museum of Natural History and the Adler Planetarium. Abdalati has received various awards and recognition, most notably the NASA Exceptional Service Medal and the White House’s Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers.

Contact Information: waleed.abdalati@Colorado.EDU; 303-735-0196