Joanna E. Bullard
The 2021 Ralph Alger Bagnold Medal is awarded to Joanna E. Bullard for sustained innovative, perceptive, and productive studies of arid-land geomorphology, aeolian processes, and dust in the Earth system, alongside outstanding community leadership.
Joanna Bullard is a global leader in the field of aeolian geomorphology. Her diverse body of research has shaped the way we think about wind as a geomorphic agent by addressing major research questions through a combination of rigorous field, laboratory, modelling, and remote- sensing methods. She has worked in environments ranging from hot and cold deserts to temperate coastal zones. Bullard’s early research focused on understanding the influence of wind regimes and the linkages between aeolian and fluvial processes in shaping desert dune patterns, through studies in the Kalahari, Namib, and Simpson deserts. Her analyses of temporal and spatial variations in dune activity in the Kalahari have provided new insights into the response of these dunes to climate change and variability, while her studies of aeolian dust generation in drylands have contributed significantly to developing and implementing new methods of monitoring dust emissions. Recent work has examined the impact of cyanobacterial soil crusts on landscape stability.
In the last 15 years, Bullard’s research has focused particularly on systematically quantifying the expanse, characteristics, and dynamics of high-latitude, cold-climate dust sources in order to assess their current and future geomorphological significance. This work has revolutionized the way we think about high-latitude dust sources within the global dust cycle, identifying new sources and pathways of dust movement and recognizing the impact of climate change on dust emissions. The novelty of this work is particularly important in the context of high-latitude glacier recession and the expansion of pro-glacial dust sources due to climate change. Bullard was instrumental in forming the High Latitude Dust in the Earth System research network, bringing together an international group of scientists and initiating collaboration to improve understanding of contemporary and future high-latitude dust emissions, identifying research gaps, and prioritizing strategic, interdisciplinary research questions.
Bullard’s excellence in research has been recognized by awards and fellowships from the British Society for Geomorphology and the Leverhulme Trust. She has, moreover, taken on a number of leading roles in the community by serving, amongst others, as chair of the British Society for Geomorphology, president of the International Society of Aeolian Research, and on the editorial boards of the journals Geomorphology and Earth Surface Processes and Landforms. Bullard has also taken considerable responsibility for mentoring the next generation of geomorphologists through a long and successful track record of supervision of doctoral and postdoctoral early-career researchers. Joanna Bullard is therefore a very worthy recipient of the 2021 Ralph Alger Bagnold Medal.