Hall Receives the 2016 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award

Alexander D. Hall will receive the 2016 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award at the 2016 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 12–16 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “research contributions by exceptional mid-career scientists in the fields of atmospheric and climate sciences.”

Citation for Alexander D. Hall

For outstanding contributions to climate feedback studies on global and regional scales, and to public understanding of climate change”

Alex pioneered an approach in using observations to constrain feedback processes in climate models, with profound impacts on the science of climate projection. He laid the foundation for scientific understanding of regional climate of Southern California, addressing such diverse topics as regional modes of variability, land/sea breeze, the Santa Ana winds, and orographic precipitation. Alex has become an outstanding science communicator and public ambassador for climate science, frequently giving lectures at public forums, writing in popular magazines, and testifying at various environment, water, and energy commissions and boards at local and state levels. He was the lead author of a chapter of the 2013 IPCC WG1 5th Assessment Report on climate change science.

An excerpt from one of his support letters reads, “Alex Hall’s pioneering research on emergent constraints initiated an entire field of scientific inquiry. Few climate scientists can claim that their research has had such clear and immediate impact.”

Another one reads, “His article in Playboy magazine is superb—in my opinion simply the best example of a measured, long-term view of the problem facing society. I gave this article to my undergraduate and graduate students for insight, encouragement and inspiration…”

On behalf of the AGU Atmospheric Sciences section, I am pleased to present a 2016 ASCENT Award to Professor Alex Hall.

—William K. M. Lau, President, Atmospheric Sciences section, AGU


Thank you Dr. Lau, for these words and the recognition that goes with them. Thank you to Prof. Kuo-Nan Liou as well, for nominating me for this award. I am deeply honored to receive it. It is amazing to reflect on how many people are involved in developing a person. Too many have helped me to list them all here. But I have to thank my parents and family, for their constant support of me and their consistent encouragement of educational attainment. I have also had some particularly inspiring mentors. My undergraduate advisor Catalin Mitescu introduced me to the wonders of physics, and showed me how satisfying a life of the mind could be. My graduate advisor Suki Manabe introduced me to the exciting world of climate research. He challenged me to meet the highest of scientific standards, and showed me how truly fun climate research can be. I’ve had formative learning experiences working with treasured collaborators, including Amy Clement, Dave Thompson, Steve Klein, and Julien Boé, as well as UCLA colleagues Kuo-Nan Liou, Jim McWilliams, David Neelin, and Katharine Reich. Finally, I’ve surely learned as much from my own graduate students as they’ve learned from me. Thank you Xin Qu, Mimi Hughes, Sarah Kapnick, Neil Berg, Daniel Walton, Alex Jousse, and Marla Schwartz. I’m looking forward to working with many more people and learning from them too, as I continue down this wonderful career path.

—Alexander D. Hall, University of California, Los Angeles