Gettelman Receives the 2015 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award

Andrew Gettelman will receive the 2015 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award at the 2015 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “research contributions by exceptional mid-career scientists in the fields of atmospheric and climate sciences.”


Andrew is best known for his powerful contributions to the understanding of exchange processes between the stratosphere and troposphere and the representation of clouds in global climate models. His work led to substantially improved understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the dehydration of air entering the tropical stratosphere. His transformative studies on the tropical tropopause layer helped define a new research area. “Andrew’s studies on tropical tropopause layer, cloud microphysics and aerosol-cloud interactions place him at the top of his field,” stated one of the supporting letters. His nominator pointed out that “Andrew’s work is unique in that it links basic processes and observations with global models. Andrew is an exceptional scientist: I know very few atmospheric scientists at his stage of career whose accomplishments have Andrew’s breadth and depth.”

We congratulate Dr. Andrew Gettelman, winner of a 2015 Ascent Award “for outstanding contributions to the understanding of stratosphere-troposphere exchange and modeling and understanding of cloud effects in the climate system.”

—William K. M. Lau, University of Maryland, College Park, MD



It is a great honor to receive this award. I have been fortunate in my career to have had the support and the opportunity to learn from some fantastic mentors. These include some who are no longer with us. I want to recognize the enduring impact of Professor Jim Holton, my adviser, and Dr. Byron Boville, one of my postdoctoral supervisors and mentors as a young scientist. I learned from them explicitly and by example not just how to do research but to conduct science collaboratively. Their examples taught me how to critically work with data and models together and also how to work with a community of researchers.

Science, particularly atmospheric science, does not take place in a vacuum. I have also been privileged to work with expert collaborators over the years as well, from whom I have learned much, including Qiang Fu, Bill Randel, Phil Rasch, Hugh Morrison, and Vincent Larson. I thank many different other mentors at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and beyond for believing in me and supporting my work and providing an exciting and amazing environment in which to conduct research and a platform for collaborating with and communicating that research to others.

I hope I can justify my colleagues’ confidence in me with high-quality and impactful future research and by instilling in the next generation of scientists some of the things that I have learned from the previous generation.

Finally, I wish to thank my family, especially my wife, Francesca, and our kids, Fiona and Natalie, for their support and willingness to explore new opportunities and new places with me as I have collaborated with other researchers around the world.

—Andrew Gettelman, National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, Colorado