David Shean

David Shean joined the Polar Science Center as a research associate in 2016.  His current research relies on satellite/airborne/UAS remote sensing observations to study ice dynamics and mass balance in Antarctica, Greenland, and the Pacific Northwest.

David received his Ph.D. in Earth and Space Sciences (2016) at the University of Washington, with PSC supervisor Ian Joughin.  His Ph.D. research documented the evolution of Antarctic ice-shelf basal melt and ice-stream dynamics using high-resolution digital elevation models (DEMs) derived from commercial stereo imagery.

David received his Sc.B. in Geology-Physics/Mathematics (2004) and Sc.M. in Geology (2006) from Brown University.  His early research involved documenting past glaciation and evidence for climate change on Mars.  In 2006, he worked in Yellowstone National Park, doing field work and processing/analyzing historical aerial photographs to study dynamic hydrothermal features.  David then worked in the Department of Earth Sciences at Boston University, where he performed seismic/GPR surveys on glaciers in the Transantarctic Mountains.  From 2007-2011, David worked for Malin Space Science Systems, Inc. as a member of the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter CTX/MARCI science operations team.

In his free time, David enjoys traveling, hiking, photography, catching flying discs, and growing/eating vegetables.

In The News

  • UW GeoHack week Nov 14-18, 2016

    The University of Washington’s eScience Institute is hosting a GeoHack week, November 14-18, 2016. Anthony Arendt and Ben Hudson are part of the group leading this five day workshop focusing on open source tools to analyze and visualize geospatial data. Geohackweek will also include a team from Google Earth Engine set to lead a series of sessions. 

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Selected Publications


The Polar Science Center is a group of dedicated investigators conducting interdisciplinary research on the oceanography, climatology, meteorology, biology and ecology of the ice-covered regions on Earth and elsewhere in the solar system. Learn more »