Biography of Syukuro Manabe: Early Life, Career, Awards and Achievement
Syukuro Manabe (Japan/US) is a meteorologist who pioneered the use of computers to simulate global climate change and natural climate variations. He is currently a senior meteorologist at the Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, Princeton University. Working at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), first in Washington, D.C. and later in Princeton, New Jersey, he worked with director Joseph Smagorinsky to develop three-dimensional models of the atmosphere.
Who is Syukuro Manabe – Biography
Syukuro "Suki" Manabe (真鍋 淑郎, Manabe Shukurō, born 21 September 1931) is a Japanese-American meteorologist and climatologist who pioneered the use of computers to simulate global climate change and natural climate variations. He was awarded half the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics, jointly with Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi, for groundbreaking contributions to the "physical modeling of earth's climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming."
Syukuro Manabe – Early Life
Born in 1931 in Ehime Prefecture, Japan, Manabe received a Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo in 1958 and went to the United States to work at the General Circulation Research Section of the U.S. Weather Bureau, now the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of NOAA, continuing until 1997. From 1997 to 2001, he worked at the Frontier Research System for Global Change in Japan serving as Director of the Global Warming Research Division. In 2002 he returned to the United States as a visiting research collaborator at the Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, Princeton University. He currently serves as senior meteorologist at the university.
Syukuro Manabe – Career
In collaboration with Joseph Smagorinsky (who received the 2003 Benjamin Franklin Medal with Norman Phillips) and colleagues at the Weather Bureau's General Circulation Research Section (later renamed the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory or GFDL), Manabe developed the first workable models of the Earth's climate, known as General Circulation Models (GCM). For the first time, it was possible to take into account the complex interactions between the atmosphere and the oceans, including the dynamics of radiative heat transfer and carbon dioxide levels in driving global climate. A simplified model of Earth’s climate, which was introduced in a seminal 1967 paper published in the Journal of Atmospheric Sciences, was quickly recognized as a major breakthrough in geophysics and meteorology. It showed that a doubling of atmospheric CO2 levels would result in an overall warming of the Earth by about 2 degrees Celsius, an amount the international community later agreed on as an upper threshold beyond which climate change risks become unacceptably high.
Manabe continued to expand upon GCMs, detailing the role of carbon dioxide in the Earth's climate and how ever-growing amounts of it contribute not only to increasing global temperatures and ocean acidity, but rising sea levels and changing precipitation patterns as well. This work culminated in the publication of another landmark paper in 1975, which refined the earlier models by representing additional elements of the atmosphere-land-ocean climate system, and demonstrated an even higher rate of global warming given increasing atmospheric CO2. His work clearly and painstakingly details how the interacting mechanisms of radiative transfer/convection, water vapor concentrations and cloud cover, and snow/ice melting contribute to create a vicious cycle driving global warming and climate change.
As more and better meteorological and climate data have continued to be amassed in the decades since Manabe's earlier work, his conclusions have been not merely vindicated but given additional force. Newer climate models, such as those that formed the basis of recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) reports, reinforce the warnings that Dr. Manabe first articulated more than 40 years ago. The fact that his work has withstood the test of time and the most rigorous scrutiny both from colleagues and from those who might prefer to reach different conclusions about climate change is perhaps the best evidence of his preeminence in his field.
Syukuro Manabe - Awards and honors
|Nobel committee for physics members sit in front of a screen displaying 2021 winners (left to right) Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi. Photograph: Jonathan Nackstrand/AFP/Getty Images|
Manabe is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, and a foreign member of Japan Academy, Academia Europaea and the Royal Society of Canada.
In 1992, Manabe was the first recipient of the Blue Planet Prize of the Asahi Glass Foundation. In 1995, he received the Asahi Prize from Asahi News-Cultural Foundation. In 1997 Manabe was awarded the Volvo Environmental Prize from the Volvo Foundation. In 2015 he was awarded the Benjamin Franklin Medal of Franklin Institute.
Manabe has also been honored with the American Meteorological Society’s Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal, the Second Half Century Award, and Meisinger Award. In addition, he is honored with the American Geophysical Union’s William Bowie Medal and Revelle Medal, and in 1998 received the Milutin Milankovic Medal from the European Geophysical Society.
Manabe and Bryan's work in the development of the first global climate models has been selected as one of the Top Ten Breakthroughs to have occurred in NOAA's first 200 years. In honor of his retirement from NOAA / GFDL, a three-day scientific meeting was held in Princeton, New Jersey in March 1998. It was titled "Understanding Climate Change: A Symposium in honor of Syukuro Manabe". The 2005 annual meeting of American Meteorological Society included a special Suki Manabe Symposium.
Manabe is co-winner with climatologist James Hansen of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Climate Change category in this ninth edition (2016) of the awards. The two laureates were separately responsible for constructing the first computational models with the power to simulate climate behavior. Decades ago, they correctly predicted how much Earth’s temperature would rise due to increasing atmospheric CO2. The scores of models currently in use to chart climate evolution are heirs to those developed by Manabe and Hansen.
In 2018, Manabe received the Crafoord Prize in Geosciences jointly with Susan Solomon "for fundamental contributions to understanding the role of atmospheric trace gases in Earth’s climate system".
In 2021, Manabe received the Nobel Prize in Physics "for the physical modelling of Earth's climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming".
Princeton’s Syukuro Manabe receives Nobel Prize in physics
Princeton University senior meteorologist Syukuro “Suki” Manabe has been awarded the 2021 Nobel Prize in physics “for the physical modeling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming.”
“Syukuro Manabe demonstrated how increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to increased temperatures at the surface of the Earth,” the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences noted in announcing the award today. “In the 1960s, he led the development of physical models of the Earth’s climate and was the first person to explore the interaction between radiation balance and the vertical transport of air masses. His work laid the foundation for the development of current climate models.”
“Dr. Syukuro Manabe’s marvelous, pathbreaking research defined a new field of scientific inquiry and identified one of the greatest challenges facing our world,” said Princeton University President Christopher L. Eisgruber. “The entire Princeton community joins Dr. Manabe in celebrating this wonderful and well-deserved recognition of his work.”
Manabe is a senior meteorologist in the Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences. He shares the Nobel Prize for the physical modeling of the climate with Klaus Hasselmann of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany. The other half of this year’s physics prize was awarded to Giorgio Parisi of the Sapienza University of Rome, Italy, “for the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales.” The prize amount is 10 million Swedish kroner, or about $1.14 million.
“When I got the phone call this morning, I was so surprised,” Manabe said. “Usually, the Nobel Prize in physics is awarded to physicists making a fundamental contribution in physics. Yes, my work is based on physics, but it’s applied physics. Geophysics. This is the first time the Nobel Prize has been awarded for the kind of work I have done: the study of climate change.”
“The whole field of climate modeling originates with Suki,” said Gabriel Vecchi, professor of geosciences and the High Meadows Environmental Institute (HMEI) and HMEI director.
“The idea that you can take something so complex as the climate system and code the equations that govern it and put them in a computer and use that to simulate the climate system started with him,” said Vecchi, who is also deputy director of Princeton’s Cooperative Institute for Modeling the Earth System. “He not only illustrated some of the potential consequences of global warming, but gave us a roadmap of how to do climate science.”
“Suki is the producer of the first modern climate model,” said Michael Oppenheimer, the Albert G. Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs and the High Meadows Environmental Institute. Oppenheimer, Manabe and other Princeton colleagues were recognized by the Nobel Committee in 2007 when the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to Al Gore and the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).
“Without the science of climate modeling that Suki initiated, we might still know that Earth’s greenhouse effect was increasing due to human activity and that Earth was warming,” Oppenheimer said. “But linking those two facts would be more difficult, and projection of the future at any useful level of detail would be impossible.”
Manabe’s work on climate change modeling was the basis for a yearlong installation that was erected in the Paris subway for the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. “I was so honored to see this display,” he said at the time, when he learned about the installation from colleagues attending the conference. “I did these experiments out of pure scientific curiosity. I never realized that it would become a problem of such wide-ranging concern for all of human society.”
He is the co-author with Anthony J. Broccoli of “Beyond Global Warming” (Princeton University Press, 2020).
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