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Wally Broecker: 50 Years of Climate Science Innovation

2010-04-14
Wally Broecker

Wally Broecker

Since arriving at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory in 1952, for a college summer internship, Wally Broecker has come up with some of the most important ideas in modern climate science. He was one of the first researchers to recognize the potential for human-influenced climate change, and to testify before Congress about its dangers. He helped pioneer the idea that ocean currents can trigger sudden turnabouts in climate. Today, he is a champion of emerging technology to address global warming by scrubbing carbon dioxide from the air and storing it away.

Broecker has mentored generations of scientists and received some of the most prestigious awards in science, including the National Medal of Science, the Crafoord Prize, the Balzan Prize and the Vetlesen Prize. He has written more than 450 research papers and 10 books. His latest, The Great Ocean Conveyor, explores the link between climate change and ocean circulation.

The Great Ocean Conveyor affects climate by transporting heat around the planet.

The Great Ocean Conveyor affects climate by transporting heat around the planet.

On Friday, April 16, Broecker was honored in a ceremony at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, joined by friends and colleagues including Earth Institute director Jeffrey Sachs and former Columbia University executive vice provost Michael Crow, now president of Arizona State University. The program included a video tribute from former U.S. vice president Al Gore and musical homage from singer Tom Chapin.

Additional links:
Celebrating Wally Broecker's 50th Anniversary as a Columbia Professor
New Book Explores Link Between Climate and Ocean Currents
Wallace Broecker Wins (Yet Another) Top Prize