IPCC contributors share in Nobel Peace Prize
It was no ordinary morning: on October 11 several dozen
staff learned that a group they were part of had won the
2007 Nobel Peace Prize.
“My husband saw the news first and when he came upstairs
to tell me, I didn’t quite believe it,” says
Kathy Miller (SERE/ISSE). “When I realized it was true,
I felt like our efforts were finally paying off.”
The prize was awarded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate
Change (IPCC) and former Vice President Al Gore.
The IPCC involved scientists from around the world. Forty
NCAR staff served as coordinating lead authors, lead authors,
reviewers, or contributors on the 2007 report. An even greater number
have contributed to previous IPCC reports since the panel
Contributors to the IPCC line the
stage during a celebration at Center Green on October
In addition, a group of JOSS staff worked exclusively for
the IPCC under NOAA’s Susan Solomon, handling travel
arrangements and other logistics, and publishing some of
the panel’s 2007 assessment reports. Many UCAR/NCAR
technical and support staff, including software engineers,
data specialists, and administrators, have played important
behind-the-scenes roles, particularly in ESSL/CGD, CISL,
The Nobel committee cited the IPCC’s two decades of
scientific reports for having “created an ever-broader
informed consensus about the connection between human
activities and global warming.” The panel’s fourth
assessment reports, published this year, present a clear
picture of a planet undergoing a rapid climate transition
with significant societal and environmental impacts.
At an all-staff party held on October 18 to celebrate the
prize, NCAR director Tim Killeen congratulated all contributors
and invited them onto the Center Green auditorium stage. “This
is a once-in-a-lifetime moment for us,” he said.
Tim went on to describe the decades of patience, dedication,
and diligent work that went into making “an analysis
of the human relationship with the planet in such a
way that is going to affect all future generations.”
UCAR president Rick Anthes also praised the group. “It’s
truly an amazing achievement that thousands of scientists
and officials from over 100 countries have been able to collaborate
and create a consensus about the connection between human
activities and global warming,” he said.
“You went way, way beyond your job descriptions, and
way beyond the call of duty,” he continued. “You
truly have made a difference.”
IPCC contributors from other Boulder-area research organizations
were invited to attend the celebration, which included a
spread of appetizers provided by Event Services.
For the 2007 report, Kevin Trenberth (CGD), Jerry Meehl (CGD),
and Guy Brasseur (ESSL) served as coordinating lead authors
for the section of the assessment that details the science
of climate change. Five other scientists served as lead authors
of that report: Bill Collins (CGD), Beth Holland (ACD), Reto
Knutti (CGD), Linda Mearns (ISSE), and Bette Otto-Bliesner
Linda, Kathy, and Paty Romero-Lankao (ISSE) served as lead
authors for the section that focuses on the potential impacts
of climate change and how society can adapt.
The prize resulted in a
busy few days for some of the scientists, who fielded calls
from the media.
“I expect this will provide greater visibility to the
issue of climate change and to the importance of educating
the general public and decision makers about this critical
problem,” Kevin says.
“I am hopeful that this kind of recognition will help
to overcome inertia so we can achieve progress on the policy
front,” Kathy adds.
List of current and former staff who, while at NCAR or UCAR, have served as authors or reviewers for any of the four IPCC assessments conducted since 1990
about NCAR’s connection to the Nobel Peace Prize
In this issue...
contributors share in Nobel Peace Prize
John Firor and Janet Roberts
test flight successful
library, new home
firsthand look at disappearing sea ice
launches Women in Science committee
win awards for science, multicultural service
Just One Look
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