The 2014 Arne Richter Awards for Outstanding Young Scientists is awarded to Matthias Huss for innovative contributions to improving the understanding of the mass balance and runoff of glaciers and their sensitivity to climate change.
Matthias Huss has made substantial and innovative contributions to a broad range of topics in glaciology. These range from analysis of glacier outburst floods, reconstruction of mass balances and exploring climatic linkages, to modelling the response of glacier mass balance and runoff to climate change. A theme common to all of Huss’ published work is the joint consideration of facts, as represented by field measurements, and principles, as represented by simplified glacier models. Huss has shown imagination and versatility in combining field data and models, coding and coupling new models for various parts of the mass-balance problem, and proposing innovative new approaches. For example, his new approach to parameterising glacier retreat is at the cutting edge and fills the gap between simplified volume-area scaling and sophisticated ice flow modelling. Huss’ critical evaluation of the commonly applied assumptions on glacier density when converting volume into mass changes is testimony of his outstanding ability to think ‘outside the box’. He is also at the crest of the new wave of glaciological thinking, which recognises that the only solution to the problem of inadequate data is well-informed and carefully controlled modelling of the processes at work. Matthias’ productivity is remarkable, having published over 30 peer-reviewed papers, mostly in high-profile international journals. Huss’ productivity has steadily increased and the impact of his work is testified by the several citations he has already received. In summary, just four years after graduation Huss has demonstrated excellence, independence and a level of scientific maturity that is clearly exceptional.