James Hansen Honored for Pioneering Work in Climate Change Modeling

by |January 10, 2017

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Dr. James Hansen

Dr. James Hansen, along with climatologist Syukuro Manabe of Princeton University, has been awarded the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in Climate Change. The award recognizes Hansen’s and Manabe’s individual contributions to “the development of mathematical models of the climate system, and their pioneering use of these models to understand and project how the Earth’s climate responds to changing concentrations in atmospheric CO2.”

Working independently of one another, Hansen and Manabe developed the first climate models, accurately predicting the rise in global temperatures and linking it to the rise of CO2 in the atmosphere. These models form the basis of those currently in use today. Hansen’s 1981 paper in Science, “Climate impact of increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide,” introduced a new method of analyzing global weather station data that enabled him to document rising temperatures over the previous century. The study predicted continued warming through the 1980s, and outlined the probable effects of climate change on ocean circulation and other Earth processes.

The prize jury noted that his predictions and methods “have become central to predictions of future climate change.”

Formerly the director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Hansen currently serves as adjunct professor at the Earth Institute, where he directs the Program on Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions.

View the full press release from the BBVA Foundation here (PDF).

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