Posts Tagged ‘climate’

Dr Veerabhadran Ramanathan, 1997

October 8, 2009


V. Ramanathan is a bright star in climate research. His field of research especially regards the energy budget of the earth’s atmosphere system. He was among the first to point out the role of other gases in the atmosphere than CO2 for the climate, namely methane, nitrous oxide, CFC, and others.

Global Warming – Dimming the Sun

Personal web site:


Nature Geoscience Paper, March 23, 2008
Ramanatans research show that Black Carbon Pollution Emerges as Major Player in Global Warming. Soot from biomass burning, diesel exhaust has 60 percent of the effect of carbon dioxide on warming but mitigation offers immediate benefits. Black Carbon Pollution is most often produced from biomass burning, cooking with solid fuels and diesel exhaust.
“Ramanathan says previous conservative estimates of black carbon’s warming effect overlooked key factors–most importantly, the interaction between black carbon and other particles in the atmosphere. “Black carbon doesn’t exist by itself,” says Ramanathan. “It’s always mixed with other aerosols,” such as sulfate particles, and other organic combustion byproducts. Many of those other aerosols reflect light, increasing the chances that it will be absorbed by nearby flecks of soot. Black carbon high in the atmosphere also absorbs light reflected by Earth’s surface and clouds. Because most climate models don’t adequately represent such effects, they often underestimate how much reflected light soot absorbs, Ramanathan says.” Scince Magazine
“Study Fingers Soot as a Major Player in Global Warming”  

Brown clouds
Together with Dr. Paul Crutzen he discovered the widespread existence of atmospheric brown clouds covering much of the Indian Ocean region. They found that the vast majority of the aerosols were anthropogenic in origin, and that the surface cooling caused by the aerosols is more important than the atmospheric heating. These atmospheric brown clouds may have masked as much as 50% of the surface heating caused by the increase in CO2, and caused reduced precipitation during the Indian monsoon. (Wikipedia)

Today Veerabhadran Ramanathan tours the globe to conduct experiments and advise world leaders about climate change. 

Project Surya
Ramanathan’s desire to go beyond publishing studies in journals and make a tangible difference has grown with time. Project Surya, which means Sun in Sanskrit, is a project that will promote the use of inexpensive solar cookers in rural India, and document the reductions in carbon dioxide and soot emissions. The idea is to give about 3,500 solar and other “clean energy” cooking devices to families in Mukteshwar, a rural area in the Himalayas, and study if the smokeless cookers effectively slash levels of atmospheric soot. 

Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, 1990-present;
director of the Center for Clouds, Chemistry and Climate at Scripps, 1991-present;
co-chief scientist for the Indian Ocean Experiment, 1996-2002;
professor at University of Chicago, 1986-1990



Dr Syukuro Manabe, 1997

October 8, 2009


Manabe has greatly contributed to the scientific understanding of climate changes, which threatens present and future generations. He has played a major role in the advance of theoretical climate research, involving the complex interactions among solar input, energy transfer, and dynamics in the atmosphere, hydrological and cryospheric processes, as well as couplings with the oceans. Manabe was the first to explore the climatic effects of an increase in the atmospheric CO2 content using a comprehensive global climate model, showing future temperature rise.

 Manabe is one of the foremost pioneers regarding the use of numerical models. Since the 1960s, he has played a leading role in the development of global circulation models. Over a period of three decades, these models have been at the leading edge of climate research. The results of his early work carried out three to four decades ago predicted a temperature increase which now is still in the middle of the range of estimates made by various modeling groups around the world. In addition, Manabe has studied in the best available detail critical issues in the earth’s hydrological cycle, especially related to soil humidity, which is of course a factor of the greatest importance for agriculture and the biosphere. His findings include regional variation of temperature rise and potential impacts on agricultural production.

In the early 1960’s, Manabe and his team of researchers  developed a radiative-convective model of the atmosphere, and explored the role of greenhouse gases such as water vapor, carbon dioxide and ozone in maintaining and changing the thermal structure of the atmosphere. This was the beginning of the long-term research on global warming, which have continued until now in collaborating with the staff members of Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) of NOAA.

In the late 1960’s, Manabe together with Kirk Bryan developed a general circulation model of the coupled atmosphere-ocean-land system, which eventually became a very powerful tool for the simulation of Global warming.

Most known for:
Throughout the 1970s and 1980s Manabe’s research group published seminal papers using these models to explore the sensitivity of Earth’s climate to changing greenhouse gas concentrations. These papers formed a major part of the first global assessments of climate change published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Other important work done by Manabe included the suggestion that climate might have more than one stable state and the demonstration that switches between such states could be induced in a relatively realistic model by melting ice caps.

 After his Ph.D. in Meteorology in 1958 Manabe moved to the United States, where since 1968 he has worked at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration at Princeton University. From 1997 to 2001, he worked at the Frontier Research System for Global Change in Japan serving as Director of the Global Warming Research Division. In 2002 he returned to the United States as a visiting research collaborator at the Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, Princeton Univeristy.

The research group started by Manabe is today known as the GFDL Climate Dynamics and Prediction Group

Manabe and Ramanathan, 1997

October 8, 2009

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.