Ken Mankoff


Ken Mankoff began his Earth science career as an undergraduate student working with the SNOE spacecraft, the first satellite designed, built, and flown by students. With that satellite he studied space, weather, and the Aurora Borealis. He then got distracted by Mars, spent some time designing Martian robots, and then worked with climate models at NASA GISS, before realizing he wanted to better understand how the big ice sheets will melt and impact sea level rise.

In 2013, he completed his Ph.D. at the University of California Santa Cruz, and is now a postdoctoral scholar at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution. He has been on five Antarctic field campaigns and many more trips to Alaska, Greenland, Norway, and Svalbard.

His research focus is ice sheet hydrology, ice/ocean interactions, and ice-proximal oceanography using a combination of observational fieldwork, low-cost robotic vehicles, remote sensing and novel sensors and algorithms. His research spans the path of a drop of water from when it melts on the surface (or at the base) of the ice sheet, flows through and under the ice sheet, and is exhausted into a Greenland fjord or under an Antarctic ice shelf. The water is then one half of the ice/ocean boundary, and this freshwater flux is increasing in the warming climate. Further downstream, the meltwater modifies fjord properties and coastal seas, changing oceanic and ice conditions.