NCAR News Release
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
July 13, 2001
Tip Sheet: Climate Change Experts at the National Center for Atmospheric Research
P.O. Box 3000
Boulder, CO 80307-3000
Telephone: (303) 497-8611
Fax: (303) 497-8610
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--
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.