This prestigious appointment will span the International Polar Year.
"These are exciting times for Arctic research," Kelly said. "I look forward to contributing to national efforts to understand our climate and to participate in the International Polar Year."
Kelly is on loan for two years to NSF through the Intergovernmental Personnel Act, which allows government agencies to share a scholar's experience and expertise before returning them to the home institution with new knowledge and experience.
Kelly will help shape Arctic research for the United States as part of an international effort to learn more about the Polar Regions. Over the past 20 years, the three fastest warming regions on the planet are Alaska, Siberia, and parts of the Antarctic Peninsula. Polar Regions are highly sensitive to climate change, raising concern for the future of polar ecosystems and Arctic societies.
The IPY will entail an intense period of interdisciplinary research necessary to understanding global processes in these important areas. The last such initiative was the International Geophysical Year in 1957-58, involving 80,000 scientists from 67 countries.