Climate Modelers Win Nobel Physics Prize at Critical Moment in World History

Syukuro Manabe, a Japanese-American scientist, Klaus Hasselmann from Germany, and Giorgio Parisi (Italy) won Tuesday the Nobel Physics Prize in Climate Models and the Understanding of Physical Systems.
The Nobel committee stated that it was sending a message by announcing its prize just weeks before the COP26 Climate Summit in Glasgow. This is because global warming is alarming all over the globe.

"The world leaders who haven't yet gotten the message, I don't know if they will, because we are saying them," stated Thor Hans Hansson (chair of the Nobel Committee for Physics).

"But... we are saying that climate modeling is solidly based on physics theory."

Hasselmann, 89 and Manabe, 90 will each share half the 10 million kronor ($1.1million, one million euros) prize for their research into climate models.

Parisi, aged 73, was awarded the second half of the award for his research on the interplay between disorder and fluctuations within physical systems.

The Nobel Committee stated that Klaus Hasselmann and Syukuro Manabe laid the foundation for our understanding of the Earth's climate, and how humans influence it.

It added that Giorgio Parisi was rewarded for his groundbreaking contributions to the theory disordered materials, and random processes.

Manabe, who emigrated from Japan to the USA in the 1950s is affiliated with Princeton University. Hasselmann is a professor at Hamburg's Max Planck Institute for Meteorology.

Parisi is also a professor at Rome’s Sapienza University.

Climate change: How to deal

Manabe, who worked in the 1960s to show how carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere correlate with higher Earth surface temperatures, showed that. Importantly, Manabe recognized the importance of water vapor in trapping heat. This is more than carbon dioxide.

Manabe's seminal model, which was created at a time when computers were only a fraction of the power they are today, remains a blueprint for the field.

He didn't know the importance of his work at the time, and told reporters at Princeton, New Jersey that he did his research because he "really had great fun".

Hasselmann is credited with figuring out how climate models can be reliable in spite of chaotic weather trends.

The Committee applauded his identification of climate "fingerprints", both natural and manmade, and how much climate change can only be attributed to man-made emission.

According to a statement by the Max Planck Society of Germany, Hasselmann stated that "In 30 to 100 Years, depending on how many fossil fuels we consume, there will be a very significant climate shift." In a 1988 interview.

When the news broke, Hasselmann was greeted by his colleagues.

He said, "It was a bit odd for me and it took a while for the audience (my research) to understand."

He said, "Personally, I am very thankful that young people have taken up this problem,"

Humanity is under great threat

Although scientists have warned for decades about the dangers of climate change, not enough progress has been made in terms of transitioning to fossil fuels.

Manabe responded to questions about the intersection of science, politics and science. He said that while it isn't easy to understand climate change, it is much more difficult than current politics.

Parisi was honored for his 1980s work that, according to the Committee, was "among the most significant contributions" to the theory and practice of complex systems.

His work enabled physicists to understand seemingly random materials with wide-ranging applications, including mathematics and biology.

The Nobel Foundation linked Manabe's and Hasselman’s work to Parisi’s. They said that this year's prize "recognizes innovative methods for describing complex system and predicting their long term behaviour."

The climate of Earth is a complex system that is vitally important to humanity.

Parisi stated that the award was important for her and the others because climate change is a major threat to humanity. She spoke at a press conference held at the Lincean Academy in Rome.

Drought and wildfire

Tuesday's Nobel Prize in Physics was the first to be awarded in honor of climate work. However, the subject has been honored with Nobel recognition in other disciplines.

The UN's IPCC was awarded the Peace Prize in 2007 together with Al Gore, the former vice president of the United States.

Hoesung Lee (chair of the Intergovernmental Panel for Climate Change) stated, "It's encouraging to see that the Nobel Physics Prize recognizes the work of scientists who have so much contributed to our understanding about climate change."

He pointed out that both Hasselmann and Manabe had contributed to the IPCC’s 1990s assessment reports.

Manabe was shocked to learn that he had won the Physics Nobel. He thought about the luminaries before him, and then he exclaimed, "My God, it's a great surprise that I got this award."

After considering the climate crisis and his contribution, I realized that it was an important step in understanding it better.

Agence France-Presse


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