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NCAR News Release

2001-17 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 13, 2001

Tip Sheet: Climate Change Experts at the National Center for Atmospheric Research

David Hosansky
UCAR Communications
P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000
Telephone: (303) 497-8611
Fax: (303) 497-8610
E-mail: hosansky@ucar.edu

BOULDER -- The National Center for Atmospheric Research is one of the nation's leading institutions for climate change research and a National Science Foundation (NSF) supercomputing center. NCAR staff scientists listed below are experts in their respective fields of climate change, including aspects of global warming, and may be consulted directly for your stories. Several have been lead authors for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments and have participated in other national and international programs designed to answer questions about our planet's future.

To investigate past, present, and future climate, NCAR scientists have led development of two major global computer models-- NSF's Community Climate System Model and the Parallel Climate Model (the latter funded by the U.S. Department of Energy), as well as a number of smaller computer models. NCAR has played major roles in multinational programs to observe the global oceans and atmosphere and NCAR scientists analyze and interpret climate variability and change around the world.

Research specialty and contact information are given for each scientist listed below. NCAR's primary sponsor is the National Science Foundation.

Gordon Bonan 303-497-1613, bonan@ucar.edu
Land-atmosphere interactions

    Gordon Bonan examines ecological and hydrological processes by which land affects climate, focusing on natural and human-induced changes in landscapes. His work combines aspects of atmospheric science, ecology, hydrology, and soil science. He is also interested in more traditional ecological research, such as forest dynamics and ecosystem theory. Bonan develops and uses computer-based climate, hydrological, and ecological models to study these topics.

William Collins 303-497-1381, match@ucar.edu
Radiation, clouds, Community Climate System Model

    William Collins studies atmospheric radiation (absorption and reflection of energy), including modeling and measurement of the water-vapor greenhouse effect, the direct radiative influence of aerosols (tiny airborne particles), and the effects of clouds on the radiative energy budget of the surface and atmosphere. His work also includes computer modeling and experimental studies of enhanced cloud absorption. He has developed one of the first techniques for integrating aerosol data into global climate models. Collins has participated in national and international field programs and is active in research involving satellite observation of aerosols.

John Firor 303-497-1804, firor@ucar.edu
Economics of reducing greenhouse gas emissions

    A former NCAR director, John Firor is currently focusing his attention on climate change: international negotiations, energy efficiency, and the costs and benefits of reducing greenhouse gas emissions. The most common assumption made by those hesitant to agree to international steps to curb global warming, says Firor, is that it would cost the United States a great deal to reduce its own carbon dioxide emissions. However, his research shows that the U.S. economy is far more likely to profit by reducing emissions, with a more efficient industrial base, less dependence on imported oil, and reduced urban pollution. Firor's new book, The Crowded Greenhouse, coauthored with population expert Judith Jacobsen, will be out next year from Yale Press. The Changing Atmosphere: A Global Challenge was published in 1990.

Peter Gent 303-497-1355, gent@ucar.edu
Oceanography, Community Climate System Model

    Peter Gent is head of NCAR's oceanography group and a co-leader in the development of the Community Climate System Model. Gent studies the ocean's role in climate variability, the North Atlantic thermohaline circulation (heat and water transport), and mathematical descriptions of the ocean in computer models.

Michael Glantz 303-497-8119, glantz@ucar.edu
Climate-society interaction

    A social scientist, Michael Glantz focuses on how climate and society affect each other, including how the interaction between climate anomalies and human activities affects economic and social development. His research encompasses El Niño and its impacts around the globe, desertification, problems and prospects for food production and food security, methods of forecasting societal responses to the regional impacts of climate change, and the use of climate-related information for economic development. Areas of special interest are El Niño, global warming, African drought, and the Caspian and Aral seas. Glantz has published more than 20 books on various aspects of climate.

James Hurrell 303-497-1383, jhurrell@ucar.edu
North Atlantic Oscillation

    James Hurrell's research interests include climate variability and anthropogenic climate change. Hurrell is an expert on the North Atlantic Oscillation, an atmospheric pressure seesaw between Iceland at one end and Spain and Portugal at the other. The NAO has far- reaching effects on the climate of the Northern Hemisphere, especially Europe. Hurrell has recently found long-term changes in the NAO resulting from tropical ocean warming. He has contributed to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) assessments and is actively involved in the international research program, Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR).

Jeffrey Kiehl 303-497-1350, jtkon@ucar.edu
Aerosols, Community Climate System Model

    Kiehl has led the development of the Community Climate System Model and conducted model experiments projecting global climate change over the next century. His primary research interest is the role of clouds and aerosols (tiny airborne particles) in the earth's climate system. He has investigated how human activity may affect aerosols and how these aerosols, in turn, alter clouds and climate. His particular focus is the interaction between chemical species and climate.

Linda Mearns 303-497-8124, lindam@ucar.edu
Agriculture, regional climate modeling

    Linda Mearns specializes in the creation of climate change scenarios for use in climate impacts assessments. The scenarios are based on computer model simulations of how global climate might evolve as a result of projected emissions of greenhouse gases and other factors. Her research interests include crop-climate interactions, the impact of climate change on agricultural ecosystems, and the use of observations and computer models to study climate variability and extreme events. A participant in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change since 1992, Mearns is a lead author on three chapters in the IPCC's 2001 assessment report: projecting regional climate, climate scenarios for impacts assessment, and other types of scenarios (e.g., population change) needed for future impacts work.

Gerald Meehl 303-497-1331, meehl@ucar.edu
Weather and climate extremes, El Niño

    Gerald Meehl's research focuses on the analysis and interpretation of results from various global climate model experiments for present day and future climate, as well as from observed global climate data. He relates observed results to characteristics of model simulations. Meehl has studied extensively the tropical Pacific and Indian Oceans and the climate mechanisms active in these areas, including the Asian monsoons and El Niño/Southern Oscillation. He has been a contributor or lead author for each of the major IPCC assessments and was a coordinating lead author of the chapter on projections of future climate in the 2001 report.

Kathleen Miller 303-497-8115, kathleen@ucar.edu
Water resources, fisheries

    An economist, Kathleen Miller investigates the socioeconomic impacts of climate variability and climate change and the management of climate-sensitive natural resources. Miller's published work includes papers on water resources, fisheries, agriculture, and energy demand. She is a co-convening lead author on the North American Climate Impacts chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) 2001 report.

Kevin Trenberth 303-497-1318, trenbert@ucar.edu
Global climate analysis

    Kevin Trenberth has been prominent in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as a lead author of chapters, the technical summary, and the 2001 summary for policy makers. He has testified before Congress on climate change and has a broad knowledge of the science of climate change. He has spoken often about the climate record, especially the satellite record, and how water vapor, precipitation, and El Niño may change as the climate changes. Trenberth's research interests include the hydrological cycle, floods and droughts, climate extremes, and decade-to-decade variations in weather and climate. His current work focuses on the global heat and energy cycles. He edited the comprehensive text Climate System Modeling (1992) and chaired the international Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) program.

Warren Washington 303-497-1321, wmw@ucar.edu
U.S. climate research, Parallel Climate Model

    Warren Washington has been a climate change adviser to the Carter, Reagan, Bush, and Clinton administrations. He chairs the polar issues subcommittee of the National Science Board, which advises the executive branch and Congress. Washington is noted for his pioneering role in the development of coupled atmosphere-ocean models to study global climate dynamics and climate change and for his key contributions to international assessments of climate change resulting from greenhouse-gas buildup. Washington leads the effort in the DOE-supported Parallel Climate Model, which is designed for multiprocessor supercomputer systems using distributed memory. His book, an Introduction to Three-Dimensional Climate Modeling, was co- authored with Claire Parkinson of NASA.

Tom Wigley 303-497-2690, wigley@ucar.edu
Global climate, mathematical analyses

    A mathematical physicist, Tom Wigley examines diverse aspects of the broad field of climatology. These include data analysis; climate impacts on agriculture and water resources; climate, sea level, and carbon cycle modeling; and paleoclimatology. Recently concentrating on facets of global warming, he has been a lead author in major reviews of this problem, including those by the U.S. Department of Energy, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), and the Pew Center on Global Climate Change. Wigley also trained as a meteorologist with the Australian Bureau of Meteorology.

NCAR is managed by the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, a consortium of 66 universities offering Ph.D.s in atmospheric and related sciences.

-The End-

On the Web:
Press releases on NCAR climate research including the work of scientists listed above
Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Pew Center on Global Climate Change
"Assessing the climate: How it gets done," (NCAR Staff Notes Monthly, May 2000). This article details the experiences of Mearns, Meehl, Trenberth, and other NCAR scientists involved in IPCC assessments.

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The National Center for Atmospheric Research and UCAR Office of Programs are operated by UCAR under the sponsorship of the National Science Foundation and other agencies. Opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication do not necessarily reflect the views of any of UCAR's sponsors. UCAR is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action employer.

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