Michael E. Mann, Ph.D., distinguished professor of atmospheric science and director of the Earth System Science Center at Penn State University, and Warren M. Washington, Ph.D., distinguished scholar at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), are the 2019 Laureates.
Mann pioneered the use of climate proxy data – including ice cores, tree rings, and lake sediments – to estimate global temperatures more than 1,000 years into the past. His analysis showed compelling evidence that Earth’s climate was getting warmer, producing a pattern that became known as the “Hockey Stick Graph.”
“We are all indebted to Dr. Mann’s work as a pioneering researcher and climate communicator,” said Al Gore, former U.S. vice president. “Dr. Mann has continued to press forward, defending his work and that of the entire scientific enterprise.”
“He has become one of the ‘go-to’ scientists when the U.S. media wants an explanation for the latest scientific findings about climate change or the connection between the latest disaster and climate change,” said Prof. Jane Lubchenco, former administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. “He is a staunch defender of good science, but he does not suffer fools lightly and routinely calls them out in a very public manner. He is edgy, but right.”
Washington collaborated on the construction of one of the first computer models of Earth’s climate. As computing power increased, he headed a cooperative effort to make additions to his atmospheric climate model, including oceans, sea ice, and rising CO2 levels. The early models allowed scientists to predict the impact of increasing CO2 and were instrumental to the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Gore.