Ralph A. Kahn and Ross J. Salawitch received the 2009 Yoram J. Kaufman Award for Unselfish Cooperation in Research at the 2009 AGU Fall Meeting, held 14–18 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for “broad influence in atmospheric science through exceptional creativity, inspiration of younger scientists, mentoring, international collaborations, and unselfish cooperation in research.”
It is with a sense of pride and humility that I accept the Yoram J. Kaufman Award. It is wonderful to share the award with Ralph Kahn. The award Web page states that Yoram “advised and mentored a large number of students and junior scientists and was known for his quick insight, great heart, deep wisdom, and outreach to national and international collaborators.” These are lofty attributes that I aspire to one day achieve!
Like Yoram, I have been inspired by a large number of young scientists with whom I have been fortunate to collaborate. Our efforts, often led by junior scientists, quantified the effects of human activity on atmospheric composition with tremendous benefit to society. The findings resulted in a sharp decline of anthropogenic emissions of chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), leading to stabilization of stratospheric ozone depletion. Perhaps more important and certainly less appreciated, declining levels of CFCs and related halocarbons have had a beneficial effect on the surface radiative forcing that drives climate change, due to the large global warming potential of these compounds.
Recently, we’ve quantified the “climate penalty factor” for air quality, showing that removal of nitrogen oxide emissions from coal-fired power plants results in significant improvements to air quality downwind of plants as well as a reduction in the likely impact of climate change on air quality. Our next major endeavor is the measurement of CO2 from space with an accuracy and precision sufficient to address outstanding issues in global carbon cycle science and perhaps future treaty verification. It has been a great pleasure to work with so many outstanding young scientists during various field campaigns, satellite mission planning and interpretation meetings, and academic settings. Of course, I am simply “returning the favor” for the outstanding mentorship I was fortunate to receive from so many “senior scientists.”—
Ross J. Salawitch, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry, and Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park