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A Well Deserved Honor

Filed under: — group @ 18 October 2011

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

167 Responses to “A Well Deserved Honor”

  1. 151
    Deech56 says:

    Gavin, congratulations, and thank you. Your public outreach provides an example to all, thanks to your hard work, patience, clarity of message and wit. And all of this while doing pretty well with your day job.

  2. 152

    “. . . it would be helpful if some “skeptics” occasionally admitted they were sometimes wrong. . .”

    Though if they could, they would probably graduate to *genuine* skepticism from the fake variety, and we’d have to lose the quotation marks (in their case.)

  3. 153
    Chris R says:

    Dr Schmidt,

    An unreserved congratulations. Thank you for all the work you do.

    Christian Ryan.

  4. 154
    Boris says:

    “Of course we’re a bit biased here at RealClimate”

    I expect a Marc Morano email will be sent with this quote highlighted.

    Congrats, Gavin.

  5. 155

    On “hearing both sides”: why don’t people insist we have a pro-cancer position whenever cancer is discussed? Why is the markets report in the TV news not followed by a Trotskyite rebuttal? Summarising pro and anti capital punishment arguments after a debate, the moderator said, the truth is no doubt somewhere between. Make sense of that if you will.

  6. 156
    CJM says:

    A heartfelt congratulations and a word of appreciation. We all need heroes, You are certainly one of mine. Thank You

  7. 157
    chek says:

    Congratulations, Gavin. You provide and maintain a major contribution to a valuable service that we would all be the poorer without.

  8. 158
    John E. Pearson says:

    Congratulations Gavin!

  9. 159
    Peter Backes says:

    Congrats Gavin. You are a true hero to those of us that care about the truth and the future.

  10. 160
    Guy Walton says:

    A very well deserved congratulations! Thanks Gavin for your valuable insight.

  11. 161
    John Lopresti says:

    I am not sure how much of what I have liked at RealClimate has been
    directly and solely of Gavin’s provenance over the past 6+ years. I
    have appreciated the new archive organization so prior posts can serve
    as a reference library of sorts, as climate science morphs dynamically
    in these times.

    I have appreciated Gavin’s specific glosses debunking commenters who
    sought to promulgate specious mathematics and statistical methods.

    The posts I enjoy most are those which gather inputs from many
    scientists, as, often, the multiplicity of concurrent experiments
    makes conversations over the latest report nearly as valuable as the
    new report itself, and further experimental concepts can grow from
    these conversations.

    I would like to add a note of recognition to an occasional poster
    here, Dr. Hansen; who, if newspapers are accurate, is engaged in
    public political personal “action”.

    Several of the prominent writers on RealClimate themselves have
    websites and have produced papers which are essential reading to
    understand our options, and our condition.

    My time is at a premium these days, and I have missed many articles at
    RealClimate, I am certain. Yet, I would like to suggest a topic for a
    post, if it has not been covered specifically: namely, a review of
    the performance and lifetimes of anticipated functionality of space
    platforms and other technology based instrumentation which serves as
    infrastructure providing sources for data.

    So, congratulations to G.Schmidt, and to the RC Group. I only wish
    much more of the technical literature were as available for free
    online, and as well organized and closely, expertly moderated as RC.

  12. 162
    Mark Vaughan says:

    congratulations to Gavin Schmidt for this a very well deserved recognition of his stellar accomplishments as a science communicator.

  13. 163
    E.L. says:

    I”m a little late on the comment, but congratulations Galvin. I admire your persistence and patience.

  14. 164
    bibasir says:

    I want to add my congratulations to Gavin and the whole group at RealClimate. I am a retired engineer, and I have been reading the articles and comments for about 3 years. I feel that I have been well educated on the subject. I particularly appreciate the patience that Gavin shows when answering the trolls that comment. I may skip some of the comments, but I always read the posts from Gavin and others.

  15. 165
    o says:

    Belated congratulations. Like the Fields Medal

    … while it was in recognition of work already done, it was at the same time intended to be an encouragement for further achievement on the part of the recipients and a stimulus to renewed effort on the part of others.

  16. 166
    Tom Smerling says:

    Congrats. We are all indebted to Gavin, and the others at RC, for the work you’ve done. You’ve been real models for the rest of us wrestling with how to communicate effectively about climate change.

    FYI At we just posted a blog on Gavin’s marvelous juggling segment from NOVA “Secret Life of Scientists & Engineers” segment, with mention of the award and a link back to this page at RC.

    Hope to cross paths in SF at the award ceremony.

    P.S. If you see fit to add ClimateBites to your sidebar list of related sites, we’d be honored!

  17. 167

    great job Gavin….. To your future success here at real climate. Thanks for the detailed information