The rest of us here would like to congratulate Gavin on a well-deserved honor. He is the recipient of the inaugural AGU Climate Communication Prize. Since co-founding RealClimate back in 2004, Gavin has emerged as the de facto leader of RealClimate, having written the majority of our posts–and many of our best ones. One of his very first contributions “Michael Crichton’s State of Confusion” remains one of our most highly cited posts. One of his most recent, about what the recent CERN experiments do (and don’t) tell us about cloud processes, is a good example of his characteristic knack for explaining complex scientific issues with clarity and wit. Gavin also takes the lead role in dealing with the comments on RC posts. His almost non-stop, patient, response to the flood of comments that ensued in the week following the CRU email server hack in late 2009 impressed us all.
Gavin’s communication efforts, of course, go well beyond RealClimate. He is frequently quoted in mainstream news venues and often appears on radio and television news programs, to help communicate key aspects of climate science to the public. Here he is in an interview articulating both the science and the history of the science, and putting the recent politicizing of climate science into context. (It’s worth watching this interview to the end, by the way, for some thoughts on what you can do to improve communication of climate science.) He’s also produced a very accessible and beautiful book, Climate Change: Picturing the Science (with photographer Josh Wolfe).
Gavin’s efforts go well beyond the classic ‘public understanding of science’, since what he so successfully promotes is the ‘public understanding of research’. He makes it understandable and tangible how scientists work and think, not just what their results are. Gavin is a champion of easy access to data: see our Realclimate section on data sources. And, of course, a champion of making good use of the available data: see his many articles where he explains how particular questions (such as whether climate models agree with data) should not be speculated about but can be answered by anyone with basic skills simply by using publicly available data archives. Gavin’s work is often about empowering people to draw their own conclusions.
All of this is based on a solid foundation of his own scientific research: Gavin is a top-notch climatologist with an excellent publication record (h-index: 33), and we and our colleagues refer frequently to Gavin’s numerous papers in our own research and teaching. We only sometimes wonder whether his days have 30 hours, or how he finds the time to achieve all this.
Of course we’re a bit biased here at RealClimate, but it is truly hard to imagine a more deserving recipient for this award than Gavin.
Congratulations, once again, to our colleague and friend.
Mike Mann, Eric Steig, Stefan Rahmstorf, Jim Bouldin, Ray Pierrehumbert, David Archer, and the rest of RealClimate