A Short, Cold History
Cryosphere is a relatively recent AAG Specialty Group. Organizational groundwork was carried out in 1995-96 by H. Jesse Walker (Louisiana State University), assisted by several other geographers. The first dedicated Cryosphere sessions at an AAG national meeting took place in Charlotte in 1996. At that meeting Cryosphere was identified as an “Interest Group,” and the sessions were co-sponsored by other AAG specialty groups. The Cryosphere Group was formally established in 1997 and elected its first officers at the Fort Worth meetings that year.
Much like geography itself, cryospheric studies is a synthetic “discipline” derived from a fairly large number of constituent areas of scientific endeavor, including:
A Bit of History: The American Geographical Society was very active in sponsoring polar expeditions in the nineteenth century. Perusal of the old Bulletin of the American Geographical Society (the precursor to Geographical Review) or J.K. Wright’s Geography in the Making shows that early North American geographers were very active in pursuing cryospheric research. Several papers on cryospheric topics were presented at the first meeting of the AAG in 1904.
It’s possible to think of cryosphere studies as a fairly peripheral area of geography. The “cold trail” is, however, extremely prominent in geography’s history. One fascinating example of the cryosphere’s centrality in the AAG is that no fewer than 22 AAG Presidents and Honorary Presidents studied cryospheric topics throughout or during some period of their careers. The list includes:
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