Monday, Oct 11, 2021 08:00 [IST]
Last Update: Monday, Oct 11, 2021 02:29 [IST]
The Nobel Prize in Physics for 2021 has been awarded to climatologists Syukuro Manabe of Princeton University, U.S., and Klaus Hasselmann of Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, Hamburg, Germany, and physicist Giorgio Parisi of Sapienza University of Rome, Italy. The prize has been given for their “ground-breaking contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems”. Professors Manabe and Hasselmann will share half the prize and Professor Parisi will receive one-half of the prize. Professors Manabe and Hasselmann bagged the Prize “for the physical modelling of Earth’s climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming”. Professor Parisi won “for the discovery of the interplay of disorder and fluctuations in physical systems from atomic to planetary scales”.
In 2015, Carbon Brief, a UK-based climate-focused online publication, asked the main authors of the fifth assessment report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) to identify the three most influential climate change research papers ever published. The paper that received the most votes was one by Syukuro Manabe and Richard Wetherald way back in 1967, that, for the first time, had described the impact of carbon dioxide and water vapour on global warming.
This is the first time climate scientists have been awarded the Physics Nobel. The IPCC had won the Peace Nobel in 2007, an acknowledgement of its efforts in creating awareness for the fight against climate change, while a Chemistry Nobel to Paul Crutzen in 1995, for his work on the ozone layer, is considered the only other time someone from atmospheric sciences has won this honour. Manabe and Hasselmann too have been authors of previous IPCC reports. Both of them contributed to the first and third assessment reports, while Hasselmann was an author in the second assessment report as well.
The recognition of Manabe and Hasselmann, therefore, is being seen as an acknowledgment of the importance that climate science holds in today’s world. Climate change is the biggest crisis facing the world, and the humanity, today. Unfortunately, there still are some people, and governments, that are not convinced of the reality, although that is changing quickly. Apart from the fact that the recognition of Manabe and Hasselmann is richly deserved and long awaited, this Nobel Prize will, hopefully, also help in more people believing in and would probably help in further mainstreaming of climate science.