Cross-posted from The Great Beyond
James Hansen isn’t shy about speaking up, and now the American Meteorological Society is rewarding him for it.
Hansen, a NASA climate scientist known best for his outspoken criticism of the Bush administration, received the 2009 Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal yesterday, the highest award given by the AMS. The society commended him for his contributions to climate modeling but also his “clear communication” to the public.
“The debate about global change is often emotional and controversial, and Jim has had the courage to stand up and say what others did not want to hear,” said Franco Einaudi, director of the Earth Sciences Division at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland (NASA press release). “He has acquired a credibility that very few scientists have.”
Andrew Revkin notes on his Dot Earth blog that “some will say this was a decision made by a small committee of the organization’s leaders and doesn’t reflect the views of the A.M.S. membership”. Meteorologists have tended to be more skeptical about the danger of human influence on climate change, Revkin says, though an official 2007 AMS statement acknowledged human activities as a “major contributor”. At more than 14,000 members, the AMS is the largest organization of weather scientists and amateurs in the US.
This is hardly Hansen’s first honor. Already occupying his mantelpiece are awards from the American Geophysical Union and American Physical Society, as well as two US Presidential Rank Awards. A panel of 600 science advisors selected him as EarthSky Scientist Communicator of the Year last month.
Hansen’s work focuses on numerical models of global climate patterns. He has told several news outlets that the Bush administration attempted to silence his warnings about the dangers of climate change. Hansen directs the NASA Goddard Institute of Space Studies in New York.
Posted on behalf of Roberta Kwok.