Climate Communication Prize


Basic Information


Nomination Process & Requirements


Climate Communication Prize Committee


The Climate Communication Prize is given annually to one honoree in recognition for “the communication of climate science.”

Established in 2011, the Climate Communication Prize is funded by Nature’s Own, a purveyor of fossils, minerals, and handcrafted jewelry in Boulder, Colorado. The Climate Prize highlights the importance of promoting scientific literacy, clarity of message, and efforts to foster respected and understanding of science-based values as they relate to the implications of climate change.

The Climate Communication Prize is for communication of climate science – not scientific research. Examples of prize qualifications are promotion of scientific literacy, clarity of message and efforts to foster respect and understanding of science-based value as they relate to the implications of climate change.  These are exemplary of the activities of the Prize winner, but all are not necessary. Winning contribution can be a specific campaign communication or a long-career track record of climate communication.

• $25,000 monetary prize
•Engraved award
• Recognition in Eos
• Recognition at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year
• Two complimentary tickets to the Honors Banquet at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year


The prize is for a scientist (as opposed to a person whose primary occupation is communication even if the background is science)

  • There are a variety of definitions for climate science (oceanography, biogeochemical cycles, etc.)
  • We want to cast a wide net but need to limit selection to scientist whose work is in a climate relevant field.
  • Credibility in the wider climate science field is critical.

The prize should emphasize communication to the public in addition to the normal professional communication with the science community.

  • Communicating with the public means communicating with news and other media, lay public, policy and decision makers.
  • Consider how the nominee makes innovative use of communication tools (social media, visualization technology), understanding the psychology of communication.

What does high impact climate communication look like? What are some informal metrics for accessing public communication?

  • Someone who is continually sought out by the media, testing before Congress
  • Someone who has successfully framed climate issues that have been picked up by others (e.g. look at extreme events in the context of climate change)
  • Someone who has changed the dialogue of climate change (e.g. had impact in communities that traditionally don’t consider or accept climate change).

Consider recognizing a sustained record of communication or a specific high impact activity

Frequency: Annual

Career level: All (early career, middle career, and senior scientist)

Nominee eligibility: Active AGU membership is required

Nominator eligibility: Active AGU membership is not required

Conferred Fellowship: No

Section/Focus Group: All (interdisciplinary)

Nomination Process & Requirements

Nomination Eligibility:

1. Eligible Nominee.

  • Active AGU membership required
  • Nominee must be an AGU member-scientist.

To determine a candidate’s AGU member status, please view the Membership Directory via the AGU Member eWeb Portal; or contact the Member Services staff at:

2. Eligible Nominator. Active AGU membership is not required:

3. Eligible Supporters. Active AGU membership is not required:

4. Ineligible Nominees. The following individuals and/or groups are not eligible to be candidates for the Climate Communication Prize during their terms of service:

5. Relationship to a Climate Communication Prize Nominee. AGU policy on the relationship to a nominee is applicable to committee members, nominators, and supporters. The following relationships need to be identified and communicated to the Climate Communication Prize Committee, but will not disqualify individuals from participating in the nomination or committee review process:

  • Current dean, departmental chair, supervisor, supervisee, laboratory director, an individual with whom one has a current business or financial relationship (e.g., business partner, employer, employee);
  • Research collaborator or co-author within the last three years; and/or
  • An individual working at the same institution or having accepted a position at the same institution.

Individuals with the following relationships are disqualified from participating in the Climate Prize nomination or committee review process (i.e., nominator, supporter, or committee member):

  • A previous graduate (Masters or Ph.D.) and/or postdoctoral advisor, or postdoctoral fellow may not write a nomination letter but may write a supporting letter after five years of terminating their relationship with the nominee beginning on 1 January after the year the relationship was terminated.
  • A former doctoral or graduate student, or a former postdoctoral fellow may not write a nomination letter for a former advisor, but may write a supporting letter after five years of terminating their relationship with the nominee beginning on 1 January after the year the relationship was terminated. The only exception to this policy is that this restriction does not apply to early career awards from sections and focus groups.
  • Chairs and members of the Climate Prize selection committee are conflicted with the above-mentioned mentor-mentee relationships and should recuse themselves from participating in the deliberation, evaluation, and voting process for that particular nominee.

Termination of a relationship is defined as follows:

For more details, please review the AGU conflict of interest policy.

6. Additional Conflicts. Members of the Climate Communication Prize Committee may, for other reasons, determine that they have conflicts – or potential conflicts – that require elimination from service and then act on that determination if they believe that service could affect the fairness of the selection process.

Nomination Requirements

Your nomination package should contain the following files, which should be no more than two (2) pages in length per document:

    1. Nomination letter with one-sentence citation (i.e., citation should be 150 characters or less). Letterhead stationary is preferred. Nominator’s name, title, institution, and contact information are required.;
    2. Nominee’s curriculum vitae. List the candidate’s (1) name, (2) mailing and e-mail address, (3) history of employment, (4) degrees, (5) research experience, (6) honors, (7) memberships, and (8) service to the community through committee work, advisory boards, etc.
    3. Nominee’s selected bibliography. Briefly state the total number and types of publications and specifying the number published in AGU publications. For example: Jane Doe is the author of 92 publications, 86 in peer-reviewed scientific journals, 14 of which have been published in AGU journals and books. The following selected list best supports Jane’s nomination for the Climate Communication Prize.
    4. 3 letters of support (total does not include nomination letter). Letterhead stationary is preferred. Supporter’s name, title, institution, and contact information are required.

SUBMISSIONS SENT VIA POSTAL OR COURIER DELIVERY ONLY: Nomination cover sheet – All packages sent via mail or courier delivery should include a completed cover sheet. (The online submission system will generate a cover sheet for nominators.)

Please note that only complete packages will be forwarded to the Climate Communication Prize Committee for review. For detailed information on nomination requirements, please view the AGU Union Awards, Medals and Prize frequently asked questions (FAQ) section.


Submission Process

Nomination Submissions

Climate Prize nominations can be submitted (1) online or (2) by regular mail delivery. However, to expedite the submission process, please use the online submission system. If you have submitted a package online, then please do not send a printed version to AGU headquarters.

To submit a nomination by regular mail delivery, please make sure to include the nomination cover sheet and mail to: American Geophysical Union, Attn: Honors Program, Awards Selection Committee, 2000 Florida Avenue, N.W. Washington, D.C. 20009