Gary Clow

Gary Clow

Senior Research Associate


  • PhD, Geophysics: University of Utah,

Contact Information

(Office) 303 735-7806


Thermal geophysics

Research Interests

Heat-transfer processes in earth & planetary systems; polar climate-change detection; land-surface dynamics; permafrost; ice sheets


Gary has spent the bulk of his career with the U.S. Geological Survey, first in the Earthquake Hazards Group (Menlo Park, CA), then in the Astrogeology branch (Menlo Park), and finally with the Climate Change Team (Lakewood, CO) later renamed the Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center.  His two primary research pursuits while in the Astrogeology group were: (i) identifying the physical conditions that would allow liquid water to exist in extremely cold environments (Antarctica, Mars), and (ii) constraining the compositions of planetary crusts through stress modeling (Io, Mars).  While in the Climate Team, Gary pursued: (i) the reconstruction of past climate changes in polar regions from high-precision borehole temperature logs (Antarctica, Greenland, arctic Alaska), (ii) the development of the DOI/GTN-P deep-borehole and climate-monitoring arrays in arctic Alaska for climate-change detection, and (iii) modeling and analysis of wind fields in desert areas to better understand land surface processes.  Gary joined INSTAAR as an Affiliate in 2002 and as a Senior Research Associate in 2018.


  • Excellence in Partnering Award, National Oceanographic Partnership Program, 2010
  • USGS Science Strategy Success Stories Award, U.S. Geological Survey, 2008
  • Clow Island named in recognition of superior research contributions in Antarctica, U.S. Board on Geographic Names, 2000
  • Superior Service Award, U.S. Department of the Interior, 1998
  • Antarctic Service Medal of the United States, U.S. Department of Defense, 1986