Nobel Prize in Physics awarded to 2 pioneers in climate science


Two pioneers in climate research share this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics, both with ties to the International Pacific Research Center (IPRC) and the School of Ocean and Earth Science and Technology (SOEST) at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. Klaus Hasselmann and Syukuro “Suki” Manabe recognized by the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences “for physically modeling the earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming”.

More about Manabe

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Syukuro “Suki” Manabe

Over the course of his long and distinguished career, Manabe has made important contributions to understanding the processes that control the variation in Earth’s climate and developing computer tools for climate modeling. In a Nobel Prize press release, the Prize Committee praised Manabe’s numerical demonstration to the world that increased carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere lead to increased surface temperatures.

“Manabe’s work started the field of computer modeling of climate, and he pioneered the modeling of the coupling of atmospheric climate and circulation to the ocean, land surface and cryosphere,” said Kevin Hamilton, SOEST retired professor emeritus of atmospheric sciences and director IPRC.

Manabe spent most of his career at NOAA Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory and Princeton University, but returned to his native Japan in 1997 where he directed the Global Warming Research Program for the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC) 1997-2001. During this time the founding of 1997 also fell IPRC at AH Mānoa from JAMSTEC as a Japan-US collaborative center to advance research to understand and model climate variability and change in the Asia-Pacific region.

2005 visited Manabe IPRC two scientific presentations with the AH Community. Then, in 2009, he returned to IPRC to discuss further questions of climate modeling with lecturers, staff and students. During the visit Manabe and IPRC Outreach specialist Gisela Speidel completed an article on Manabe’s career for the Oral Histories Project of the American Meteorological Society. the IPRC continues in its third decade as a unique Japanese-American cooperation for climate research and is a focus of climate science at AH.

More about Hasselmann

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Klaus Hasselmann (Photo credit: MPI-M)

Hasselmann, professor emeritus at the University of Hamburg and founding director of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, developed the basic theory that explains how slow temperature fluctuations in the oceans are related to daily weather fluctuations in the atmosphere.

“This theory has become one of the cornerstones of modern climate science and forms a basis for much of the research that is being conducted on IPRC,” called Malte Stuecker, Assistant Professor of Oceanography at SOEST and IPRC. “It has been widely used in many areas, from climate physics to terrestrial and marine ecosystems.”

His work was fundamental to recognizing the “fingerprint” of man-made climate change in the presence of natural variability. In addition, Hasselmann played a key role in promoting the development and calculations of climate models in Germany. He also advised on the dissertations of SOEST Former Axel Timmermann and Peter Müller.

A lasting scientific effect

The latest report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change insists: “It is clear that human influence has warmed the atmosphere, ocean and land. There have been widespread and rapid changes in the atmosphere, ocean, cryosphere and biosphere. “

Climate research is an example of AH Mānoa’s goal of excellence in research: promoting company research and creative work (PDF), one of four objectives set out in the Strategic Plan 2015–25 (PDF), updated December 2020.

Further information can be found in the SOEST Website.


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