David's research involves the development and application of new methods to study dynamic Earth system components with real-world implications for water resources, sea level rise, and natural hazards. His current research uses satellite, airborne, UAV, and terrestrial remote sensing observations to understand the Earth’s cryosphere, with focus on mountain glaciers, seasonal snow, and ice sheets. Much of this work requires modern data science approaches and high-performance computing to answer questions that cannot be addressed using traditional approaches.
David’s early research involved documenting past glaciation and evidence for climate change on Mars. He went on to work for Yellowstone National Park, where he studied dynamic hydrothermal features, and then Boston University, where he performed geophysical surveys of glaciers in the Transantarctic Mountains. From 2007-2011, David worked for Malin Space Science Systems as a member of the NASA Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter Context Camera (CTX) and Mars Color Imager (MARCI) science operations team. His PhD research at the University of Washington documented the evolution of ice-shelf basal melt and ice-stream dynamics in West Antarctica to better understand future ice-sheet stability.
- Ph.D., Earth and Space Sciences, University of Washington, 2016
- Sc.M., Geology, Brown University, 2006
- Sc.B, Brown University, Geology-Physics/Mathematics, 2004
- Postdoctoral Research Associate, Applied Physics Laboratory, University of Washington, 2016-2017
Cause of deadly debris flow in India determined
After more than 200 people were left dead and missing from a debris flow in India in 2021, more than 50 scientists determined the cause.
Peering into snow
To better measure glaciers and their seasonal snowpack, assistant professor David Shean partners with A&A researchers to outfit a drone with Ground Penetrating Radar.
Utilizing a new teaching tool
Faculty David Shean adopts a new tool to virtually teach students complex data analysis.