Two legendary climate researchers receive this year’s Crafoord Prize

Syukuro Manabe and Susan Solomon have played dominant roles in climate research. They are being rewarded with Sweden’s Crafoord Prize in Geosciences 2018, worth six million kronor, for contributing decisive knowledge to aid in combatting of one of our time’s greatest global challenges.

The Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences will award the 2018 Crafoord Prize in Geosciences to

Syukuro Manabe, Princeton University, USA and

Susan Solomon, MIT, USA,

for fundamental contributions to understanding the role of atmospheric trace gases in Earth’s climate system”.

Atmospheric physicist Syukoro Manabe created the first global climate model after his ground-breaking studies of atmospheric dynamics in the 1960s. In this model, he connected the processes that take place in the atmosphere and at ground level with the oceans’ movements and their thermal balance. This new way of using large-scale numerical modelling to predict how the Earth’s temperature is influenced by atmospheric carbon dioxide levels was a major breakthrough; researchers finally had the powerful tools they required to investigate the Earth’s complex climate systems. The basics of his work remain fundamental to contemporary climate models.

Syukoro Manabe has long been a world-leader in physically based numerical climate modelling and his development of the first global climate model is the foundation for all modern climate research.

Atmospheric chemist Susan Solomon solved the 1980s’ puzzle of the Antarctic ozone hole’s appearance, using theoretical and chemical measurement-focused studies in the Antarctic atmosphere. She examined the ice crystals in the stratospheric clouds that form there every year due to the extreme cold. These ice crystals cause the initiation of chemical processes that differ from those that were previously assumed to occur. On this basis, Susan Solomon presented a theory that explained the link between manmade CFC emissions and the chemical processes taking place in the Antarctic stratosphere in the early spring, ones that led to the extensive depletion of its ozone layer. Her theory was verified by the results of the measurements conducted in the stratosphere. Later, Susan Solomon showed how the thickness of the ozone layer in the southern hemisphere affects atmospheric flows and temperatures all the way down to ground level.

For more than 30 years, Susan Solomon’s studies have been at the absolute frontline of research into the ozone layer and its role in the Earth’s climate systems. The chemical reactions proposed by Susan Solomon are now one of the cornerstones for all modelling of the stratosphere’s chemical composition.

The Laureates

Syukuro Manabe, senior meteorologist, Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Program (AOS), Princeton University, NJ, USA. Born 1931.

Susan Solomon, Lee and Geraldine Martin Professor of Environmental Studies, Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences (EAPS), Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, Cambridge, MA, USA. Born 1956.

This year’s Crafoord Prize

The prize amount is SEK 6 million, to be shared equally between the Laureates.

The prize ceremony will be held at the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences on 24 May 2018, in the presence of H. M. King Carl XVI Gustaf and H. M. Queen Silvia.

The Crafoord Days are 22-23 May 2018 in Stockholm and Lund. 

Prize lecture: 22 May, Lund University.
Prize symposium: 23 May, Stockholm.
Prize ceremony: 24 May, Beijer Hall, Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, Stockholm.

More information about the prize

The Crafoord Prize is awarded in partnership between the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and the Crafoord Foundation in Lund. The Academy is responsible for selecting the Crafoord Laureates.

The disciplines, which change every year, are mathematics and astronomy, geosciences, biosciences and polyarthritis (e.g. rheumatoid arthritis). The prize in polyarthritis is awarded only when scientific progress in this field has been such that an award is justified.

The prize disciplines are chosen as a complement to the Nobel Prizes.


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