Manabe and Ramanathan, 1997

Climate modeling and climate change


Prize jury´s citation:
The Volvo Environment Prize for 1997 is awarded jointly to Dr. Syukuro Manabe and Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan for their pioneering work of outstanding importance to humanity, on how to predict the nature of future changes in the world climate. The findings of Dr. Manabe and Dr. Ramanathan are complementary. When combined, they create a powerful understanding of the factors determining climate change, thus laying strong foundations to formulate action plans for urgent implementation by the joint efforts of the international community including national governments, transnational corporations and the public. 

The greenhouse effect, climate change, and global warming are terms often heard in the public debate today. The greenhouse effect, that is, the trapping of infrared radiation due to gases in the atmosphere of the earth, is necessary for the existence of a reasonable temperature on the earth. The greenhouse gases are essentially transparent for the incoming short wavelength light from the sun but effectively absorb the radiation emitted from the earth, which has a longer wavelength. The debate and the controversies concern if manmade emissions, especially those from the burning of fossil fuels, will change or even have already changed the climate, and if so to what extent. A related question is if there is an interrelationship between recent extreme climatic events and global warming. The scientific problems are extremely complex due to the great number of influencing factors, their interrelations, and different positive and negative feedback mechanisms.

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