RealClimate logo

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. 1
    Marlowe Johnson says:

    Congratulations on the award Gavin! Gold-plated bowling pins in your future perhaps :) ?

  2. 2
    Kris Aydt says:

    Congrats Gavin on you well deserved award for communication from the AGU! Well done!


  3. 3
    Hugh Laue says:

    Congratulations Gavin on your AGU award. Your scientific integrity is inspirational.

  4. 4
    EOttawa says:

    As a lurker here, I hope its acceptable to use this forum to congratulate Dr. Schmidt on receiving the AGU’s inaugural Climate Communications Prize. Thank you for your efforts as well as the other members of the realclimate team.

  5. 5
    PJ says:

    Congrats to Gavin and the whole team! RC really does provide an invaluable service. Many thanks for your tireless efforts!

  6. 6
    SteveF says:

    Hear hear.

  7. 7
    Steve Bloom says:

    No doubt he’ll tell you that the old-fashioned British telephone cubicle he keeps at the back of his office is just a memento of home, but don’t believe it. :)

  8. 8

    My most sincere and heartfelt congratulations and thanks to your dedication, style, honesty, honor and sincerity as well as your wit, clarity and capacity.

    Thank you,
    John P. Reisman

  9. 9

    Very, very well deserved. Congratulations.

  10. 10
    Andrew Brown says:

    Congratulations Gavin from a long time lurker and reader of RealClimate. I greatly appreciate the efforts you and the other RealClimate contributors make.

    Thank you

    Andrew Brown

  11. 11
    Russell says:

    I hope the AIPG matches the award by way of apology

  12. 12
    Adam R. says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Schmidt. My sincere thanks to you and the other contributors to RealClimate.

  13. 13
    KR says:

    Congratulations, Dr. Schmidt. I have found your postings well written and uniformly interesting – it’s a pleasure to see your skills and knowledge recognized.

  14. 14
    Chris Colose says:

    Congratulations! Well-deservedrnatiz easy

  15. 15

    Kudo’s Gavin! And similar huzzah’s to the other scientists who participate in running this blog: you are appreciated no less.

  16. 16
    Russell says:

    Congratulations. Gavin.

    Considering how much snake oil its wayward members have slung , I hope the American Institute of Petroleum Herpetologists AIPG matches the AGU award by way of apology!

  17. 17
    tamino says:

    I add my congratulations to Gavin for his well-deserved award.

    I’ll also add that in addition to his expertise, clarity, and wit, Gavin has a cool head and gentlemanly demeanor in responding to even the most foolish (and most hostile) of comments). It’s an equanimity I (and most bloggers) can only aspire to, not match.

    BTW, you can find a brief interview with Gavin on ClimateSight.

  18. 18
    Darv says:

    “…his characteristic knack for explaining complex scientific issues with clarity and wit.”
    Thank you Dr Schmidt.

  19. 19
    AndyB says:

    Congrats Gavin. I have too wondered if somehow you had more hours in the day than I do. But I suspect that it only seems like that because you think so clearly.

  20. 20
    David B. Benson says:

    What Tamino just wrote.


  21. 21
    Jack Maloney says:

    Congratulations to Dr. Schmidt, whose efforts have won him a well-deserved place among award-winning climate communicators like Rajendra Pachauri and Al Gore.

  22. 22
    Peter Mizla says:

    Congrats to you Gavin- one of the Planets heroes – and one of mine.

  23. 23
    Septic Matthew says:

    Congratulations. I am often thankful for the opportunity to read and post here.

  24. 24
    Steve Fish says:

    Congratulations, Gavin! In addition to your clear and knowledgeable articles, I especially look forward to your inline comments for redirecting and explaining the science within the flow of a comment thread, and to your matter-of-fact recognition of silliness when you see it. I extend this compliment to the whole team, but Gavin is the one who most frequently takes the bull by the horns (pun intended). Steve

  25. 25
    skywatcher says:

    Congratulations! The clarity of your postings, and the admirable patience you show with some very hostile commenting is truly admirable. Also the time spent dealing with comments and abuse must be considerable, especially during such episodes as the hacked emails. A thoroughly deserved award.

  26. 26
    Hank Roberts says:

    Well recognized, well done.

  27. 27
    Pete Dunkelberg says:

    Congratulations Gavin! Well deserved indeed. Without your many inline comments I would understand less about so many things.

  28. 28
    Balazs says:

    I can’t stop thinking, what if Michael Crichton was right and climate change turns out to be a non issue, What if our generation wasted prestigious resources on wind turbines and carbon sequestration, while we let millions to die of hunger and diarrhea. I am sorry, but I grew up worrying about malnutrition and illiteracy that completely faded away as we started to worry about climate change. I can’t stop thinking of the Occupy Wall Street protesters, who are angry at those who earn 7-9 digit figures and don’t realize that their 5-6 digit salary might be just as outrageous for those who live under 3 digit annual income. I am sorry to say, but I would rather have my taxes spent on aid programs in Africa than biofuel subsidies in Kansas or Iowa.

    [Response: Don’t confuse policy issues with science. Michael Crichton is not right, nor will he turn out to have been right, on the science. Your worries about what society should be doing policy wise is an entirely different question, and you cannot assume that any of us would argue that taxes should be spent on biofuel subsidies rather than aid programs; indeed, I would certainly not make such an argument. As for your comments re protestors on Wall Street .. huh??–eric]

    [Response: Re biofuels: The German Advisory Council on Global Change (of which I am a member) has written a thick report on this issue and we recommended to our government to scrap support for biofuels. Nevertheless, large investments will have to be made to make the transition to a sustainable energy system – but why on Earth do you think this money should come off aid programs in Africa? How about (just to give another idea) off the ~ $500 billion government subsidies for fossil fuels that we still have around the world? stefan]

  29. 29
    adelady says:

    I’ll join the chorus. Congratulations to Gavin.

    In fact, given half a chance I’d conduct the whole choir.

  30. 30
    Susanne says:

    More than congratulations: many, many thanks.

  31. 31
    MapleLeaf says:

    Excellent news! Hard earned and much deserved. Thank you for everything that you do Gavin.

  32. 32
    AIC says:

    Congratulations and Thank You, Gavin!

    I also remember watching almost in awe as you handled the flood of comments in the wake of the CRU email server hack.

    And while I am at it, Thank You to the rest of the RC team.

  33. 33
    Charles says:

    Yes, indeed: hearty congratulations, Gavin! One thing that so impresses me is your ability to comment authoritatively and in depth on so many dimensions of climate and climate change. I would imagine your work in modeling requires such a comprehensive knowledge. That you do possess such expertise is evidenced by the comments made by outside experts who occasionally post here.

    And, yes, your untiring, patient, and detailed responses during climate gate were an educational tour de force.

  34. 34
    MartinJB says:

    Way to go! This is a well-deserved recognition for one of the most important information resources on the web. Congratulation!



  35. 35
    Gareth says:

    Congrats, Gavin. Can I borrow your TARDIS at some point, please?

  36. 36
  37. 37
    john byatt says:

    Gavin’s Marathon, replying to the CRU hack claims was the only sanctuary of sanity at the time, always appreciated, probably not thanked enough.

    Avid daily follower


  38. 38

    Congratulations. You have my utmost admiration.

  39. 39
    Julie Brigham-Grette says:

    Gavin –super news. thanks for all you do! We are all proud of your contributions, tolerance and bravery. These are challenging times! all the best Julie BG

  40. 40
    Thomas says:

    What Steve Fish said. You are an inspiration.

  41. 41
    jyyh says:

    congratulations for the award. no hard feelings of the couple of times my too heated comments got edited. cool demeanour is very important in communicating science and this is a science site.

  42. 42
    Jaime Frontero says:

    Congratulations Gavin. Well-earned, well-deserved.

  43. 43
    Edward Greisch says:

    Congratulations. Congratulations is also found on:

    Gavin Schmidt and RealClimate have done all that they are supposed to do and more. They are scientists, not journalists.


    I know that since you are being scientific, you don’t want to go beyond what is proven. I also know that you are facing several headwinds, such as fossil fuel industry propaganda and lobbying and human nature:

    When the really big climate impact happens, John Q Public will still say: “Why didn’t you tell us?” The only answer is: “We did. Why weren’t you listening?”

    John Q will then say: “I saw 2 experts on TV. One said “A” and the other said “Z.” How am I supposed to know the difference?” The average person really can’t tell the difference. We have Texas governor John Perry to thank for screwing up badly enough that more people are now on our side. [How strangely……!!]

    We can hope that publicity from the award will help get the message out. I know that scientists are shy and do not like to be the center of attention. I surely don’t like to be the center of attention. Forgive the attention this time, please. The public needs the information.

  44. 44
    Edward Greisch says:

    Woops! DID I get the Texas Governor’s name wrong?

  45. 45
    Harvey says:

    Congratulations and WELL DONE!!!

  46. 46
    Philippe Chantreau says:

    Heart felt congratulations Gavin, and by extension to Real Climate. This site was my first and foremost source of information when I first ran into the climate denial rethoric. It remains at the top, along with Skeptical Science, recently awarded by the Australian Museum. Keep up the good work.

  47. 47
    Ted Kirkpatrick says:

    Congratulations, Gavin. Well-deserved!

  48. 48
    R. Gates says:

    Well done, well deserved, and please keep up the important work you do!

  49. 49

    Congratulations, Gavin, on an honor well deserved. You are a special teacher. Your seemingly tireless efforts during the CRU/Climatology smear campaign is something that will always stand out in my mind. You have extraordinary patience. You have great insight into the science that identifies the issues humanity now faces and the psychology of those that prefer shadows. In these dark times you carry a torch that ever so brightly illuminates both, and hopeful steps along a path to a more sunlit future.

  50. 50
    Jon Frankis says:

    Congratulations, richly deserved, and kudos as well to you runners-up guys.