Researcher at Scripps La Jolla receives prestigious meteorology award

Scripps research marine physicist Tim Barnett will receive the Royal Meteorological Society’s Symons Gold Medal in London May 15. Courtesy

Britain’s Royal Meteorological Society has awarded Tim Barnett, an emeritus research marine geophysicist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, its Symons Gold Medal, the society’s premier award.

It is the first time in the history of the award that a Scripps scientist has received the honor. The society, founded in 1850, will formally present the medal during its annual general meeting in London on May 15.

“I’m stunned, but extremely honored to receive the Symons,” Barnett said. “The prior awardees were truly the giants in the field and I feel very humble to be in such august company.”

Barnett has been a leader of modern efforts to improve the understanding of climate through computer models and advanced statistical methods. His use of the analysis method known as “detection and attribution” led Barnett and fellow Scripps researcher David Pierce to conclude that ocean warming trends in the second half of the 20th century could only be attributed to the influence of human activities rather than natural phenomena. Their first evidence of this causal relationship appeared in 2001.

Barnett and Pierce’s 2008 prediction that Lake Mead, a crucial water supply source for much of the southwestern United States, could run dry in only a few decades without changes in water use, garnered worldwide attention and led to reassessments of how the supply should be managed.

The award is named for George Symons FRS, a 19th Century meteorologist noted for his creation of a vast rainfall measurement network throughout the United Kingdom. It was established in 1901 in Symons’ memory. The medal is awarded biennially for distinguished work in connection with meteorological science.

According to the society’s citation: “Dr. Barnett has contributed a large number of ground-breaking and highly influential scientific results that have fundamentally changed our view of climate variability, predictability, and change. … He has published more than 230 papers.

“Dr. Barnett retired from full-time research a few years ago, but has been incredibly active in part-time work here at Scripps since then. He intends to fully retire soon. Considering his stature, he has won surprisingly few awards, the most distinguished being the Sverdrup Gold Medal of the American Meteorological Society and a share of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize as part of the IPCC. He is a Fellow of the AMS and AGU.  He is eminently worth of the prestigious Symons Medal.”

A native of California, Barnett attended Pomona College in Claremont, Calif. and received a B.A. in physics and mathematics. He received his M.S. and Ph.D. in oceanography from Scripps in 1966.

He worked as manager of the Ocean Physics Department at Westinghouse Electric Corporation in San Diego until 1971 when he returned to Scripps as the academic administrator for the North Pacific Experiment (NORPAX). NORPAX studied the interactions of the North Pacific Ocean and the overlying atmosphere on climatic time scales. In 1975 he joined the Scripps Climate Research Division.

Barnett also has worked as an oceanographic consultant for Marine Advisers, Inc. in La Jolla, Calif., and as an oceanographer for the U.S. Naval Oceanographic Office in Washington, D.C.

He has testified before the U.S. Congress and the German Bundestag and served as an advisor to congress and other governmental agencies on U.S. ocean and climate activities.

—UC San Diego/Scripps Reports

Related posts:

  1. Meditation man guides his students toward a calmer, more balanced self
  2. La Jolla’s CorTechs Labs among BIOCOM winners
  3. Cheeses sold in county found to contain potentially harmful bacteria
  4. UCSD professor appointed to state tobacco oversight committee
  5. Scripps Health starts work on proton therapy center

Short URL: http://www.lajollalight.com/?p=103746

Posted by Pat Sherman on Mar 21, 2013. Filed under Health & Science, News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Bottom Buttons 1

Bottom Buttons 2

Bottom Buttons 3

Bottom Buttons 4

Bottom Buttons 5

Bottom Buttons 6

RSS North Coastal News

  • Congregation Beth Am Labor Day Picnic September 2, 2014
    Congregation Beth Am held a festive Labor Day Picnic Sept. 1. This year is the 31st anniversary of this synagogue that started in a tire store in Solana Beach. […]
  • Suspects attempt to rob Solana Beach bank ATM September 2, 2014
    An attempt to break into an ATM at a Solana Beach bank branch early Sept. 2 using a cutting torch ended with the cash machine in flames and two suspects fleeing empty-handed. The suspects set off the ATM's alarm during the failed heist shortly after 2:30 a.m. in the 600 block of Lomas Santa Fe Drive near Glencrest Drive, according to sheriff's Lt. […]
  • First phase of Earl Warren Middle School reconstruction begins in Solana Beach September 2, 2014
    As kids kicked back this summer, San Dieguito Union High School District kicked off the first phase of its complete reconstruction of Earl Warren Middle School. The $41 million project is made possible by the passage of Proposition AA. […]