October 23, 2021

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Scientists Who Demonstrated Human Role In Climate Awarded Physics Nobel


A trio of scientists who demonstrated humanity’s influence on climate change has been jointly awarded the Nobel Prize in Physics.

Giorgio Parisi, Syukuro Manabe, and Klaus Hasselmann were honoured for their ground-breaking work modelling the Earth’s complex physical systems, which, according to the Nobel Prize committee, “quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming.”

Predicting long-term patterns and behaviour of the Earth’s physical systems, such as the climate is incredibly difficult. Models developed by the trio helped anticipate how increasing amounts of greenhouse gas in the atmosphere will impact the planet in the long term, thereby proving crucial to our understanding of climate change.

Syukuro Manabe, 90, is a senior meteorologist at Princeton University. Since the early 1960s, he was one of the leading figures in the development of physical models of the Earth’s climate. His work demonstrating how increased concentrations of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere will lead to increased temperatures was crucial to the world realising the climate emergency.

Klaus Hasselmann, 89, was a climate dynamics researcher at the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Germany. In the 1970s, he created a computer model that linked patterns of weather in the short term and climate in the long term. The work demonstrated the long-term climate model can be reliable even though weather conditions are changeable in the short term.

Giorgio Parisi is a theoretical physics professor at Sapienza University in Italy. His discovery of hidden patterns amongst disordered complex materials made it possible to understand various phenomenon across many fields of science, such as physics, neuroscience, and biology.

The ground-breaking research the trio have done over the last few decades has gained tremendous importance in recent years as the world continues to face the brunt of climate change.

A United Nations report from last month has revealed that global temperatures will rise by at least 2.7 degrees Celsius by the year 2100, regardless of whether countries around the globe meet their greenhouse gas emissions targets.

Cover Image: Shutterstock



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