Award for leading climate change scientist

Award for leading climate change scientist

A leading scientist has landed a top award to help him inform Governments and policymakers about climate change.

Professor Pete Smith - a world authority on soils and climate change - has received a Royal Society-Wolfson Research Merit Award, which is awarded to scientists of outstanding achievement and potential.

The move will enable him to feed his internationally renowned research into high tech computer models which are crucial for decision makers addressing the problems of climate change.

Climate change computer models systems are similar to those used for weather forecasting and help predict how our climate will change in the future.

Until recently these have not fully acknowledged the role that the biosphere - or soil and vegetation - has on climate change.

Instead these systems have mainly been driven by the physical and chemical aspects of the atmosphere around us – the greenhouse gases generated by fossil fuel burning and vegetation destruction, rather than the interactions between climate and biology.

However recent studies have shown that climate warming could cause more carbon to be released from vegetation and soils which could further exacerbate the warming problem.

Now Professor Smith will lead work on building computer models of soils into the climate change models which can help influence devolved, UK and European governments on policy, and also inform international scientific bodies such as the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, for which Professor Smith has been a Convening Lead Author.   

The Professor of Soils and Global Change at the University of Aberdeen, said: "Climate change is the biggest threat facing our planet. I am very honoured to receive this award and it will allow me to help integrate our best knowledge of soil responses to climate change into climate models. This is essential if we are to accurately predict the extent of climate change over the next century, and if we want to change the way we manage our land to minimise the impacts of climate change."

 

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