Manzoni Receives 2014 Early Career Hydrologic Science Award

Stefano Manzoni received the 2014 Early Career Hydrologic Science Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for significant early career contributions to hydrologic science.


Manzoni_Stefano-Early_Career_Hydrology_Science_Award_SIZEDI am thrilled to announce Stefano Manzoni as the successful recipient of the 2014 American Geophysical Union (AGU) Early Career Hydrologic Science Award for developing new theories of soil water–biota interactions that unfolded the role of soil moisture fluctuations on plant-microbial structure and function. I have known Stefano since he first arrived at Duke University from Polytechnic of Turin (Italy) in 2003 while working as an undergraduate researcher with Professor Amilcare Porporato. Stefano’s Ph.D. work with Amilcare Porporato began in 2004 with a focus on the coupled water/carbon and nutrient cycling in soils. Stefano presented his first results from global-scale litter decomposition data sets that suggest terrestrial decomposers may react to nutrient shortage by respiring more, a response accurately predicted by his stoichiometric theories for these systems. These results appeared in Science the same day Stefano defended his Ph.D. dissertation.

My own interactions with Stefano commenced when he initiated work on stomatal optimality theory that successfully described leaf gas exchange under different environmental conditions, including highly intermittent light and leaf nitrogen levels. This is the first major theory that bridges water use strategy to stomatal movement in response to its immediate environment. It is quite likely that this theory will be eminently employed in large-scale climate models, where greening of the biosphere continues to resist complete theoretical treatment.

More broadly, Stefano’s research style combines rigor, generality, completeness, and simplicity in ways never attempted before in this interdisciplinary field. He is able to “digest” cutting-edge knowledge from soil science, hydrology, ecology, plant physiology, atmospheric sciences, dynamical systems theory, and stochastic processes so as to provide a comprehensive view of water-material cycling in ecosystems.  All his letter writers agree that he should be awarded the Early Career Hydrologic Science Award for moving ecohydrology from its empirical roots to a field that accommodates many of its spatiotemporal dimensions, thereby allowing this field to address pressing societal problems.

—Gabriel Katul, Duke University, Durham



Thank you, Gaby, for your kind words. I am deeply honored to be here and receive the Early Career Hydrologic Science Award, and I would like to thank AGU, the Hydrology section, and Eric Wood for this recognition. Sometimes I think back to the moment that set in motion the personal and professional trajectory that led me here today. As is often the case, it all started with a simple yes.

I was finishing my master’s at Polytechnic of Turin, and looking for a thesis supervisor, I knocked on Amilcare Porporato’s office door. His answer was positive, but he was moving to Duke University and asked me if I would join him. So I finished my thesis at Duke, thinking that a thesis abroad would not change my life, but it did. I started my Ph.D. with Amilcare, and since then, he has been an advisor, a mentor, and a role model. His contagious enthusiasm, independent way of thinking, and effortless jumping across disciplinary boundaries have all contributed to shaping me as a researcher as well as a person.

While at Duke University, I was fortunate to meet Gabriel Katul. He has been a generous and ever-present supervisor, mentor, and friend. Gaby’s approach is inspiringly pragmatic and focused toward sharply defined objectives—an approach that left a strong mark in my contribution to the field of ecohydrology.

Many other colleagues always supported and encouraged me, in particular Rob Jackson, Josh Schimel, Alberto Montanari, and, more recently, Martin Weih. Finally, my most sincere thanks to Giulia Vico, my wife and among my most supportive research collaborators. As some of you probably know, sharing your life with a scientist is an opportunity and a challenge in its own right—with Giulia it is a fun and engaging adventure. In closing, I hope I will have a chance to continue working in and giving my contribution to the Hydrology section and the wider AGU.

—Stefano Manzoni, Stockholm University, Sweden

Swanson-Hysell Receives 2014 William Gilbert Award

Nicholas Swanson-Hysell received the 2014 William Gilbert Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.


Swanson_Hysell_Nicholas_Gilbert_Award_SIZEDI take a lot of pleasure in presenting Nicholas Swanson-Hysell with the 2014 William Gilbert Award for his impactful, rigorous, and original research in paleomagnetism and its applications to tectonics, paleoclimate, and fundamental rock magnetic studies.

Nick’s dissertation work revisited the basalts of the North American Midcontinent Rift, which were long thought to show evidence of asymmetric reversals. Through meticulous field mapping, Nick was able to place the reversal history within a detailed stratigraphic context and showed that Laurentia was moving rapidly southward toward the equator during the rifting process and that each successive reversal within the sequence was largely symmetric, thereby resolving a decades-old mystery and demonstrating that the geocentric axial dipole (GAD) hypothesis could be extended back in time 1.1 billion years.

Since his Ph.D., Nick has leveraged an incredible scientific toolset that includes rock and paleomagnetism, isotope geochemistry, and sedimentology and stratigraphy to make similarly major contributions to paleogeographic studies, paleoclimatology, impact magnetization, and pure fundamental rock magnetism.  This unusual combination of geophysical and geochemical research skills has allowed Nick to improve our understanding of major events in Earth history ranging from Neoproterozoic glaciations to the Paleocene–Eocene Thermal Maximum.

The thing about Nick that stands out to all who work with him is his generosity of spirit. Whether he’s helping teach the Summer School in Rock Magnetism at the Institute for Rock Magnetism or contributing to the PmagPy code that is the foundation for the MagIC database, Nick makes a genuine effort to give back to our community.  In short, he’s an inspiring fellow to be around, and in a field where there are always fewer honors than people who deserve them, I am exceptionally happy that we can recognize Nick’s past and future scientific work with the William Gilbert Award.

—Joshua M. Feinberg, University of Minnesota, Twin Cities, Minneapolis



I am truly honored to have been chosen to receive the 2014 William Gilbert Award from the American Geophysical Union (AGU). As an early career scientist, I have received so much mentorship and intellectual invigoration from the members of the Geomagnetism and Paleomagnetism section of the Union. It is with great thanks that I accept this recognition from them.

I got started on this path as an undergraduate due to the mentorship of Dave Bice, who sent me off to the North American Midcontinent Rift to obtain samples for a tectonics course at Carleton College. Guided by Mike Jackson, I made my first measurements on a magnetometer at the Institute for Rock Magnetism (IRM). These measurements revealed the asymmetric normal and reversed directions that Josh wrote of above. As I soon discovered in the literature, I had stumbled upon the problem of Keweenawan reversal asymmetry. Around this time, Adam Maloof came through Carleton to give a talk. He had been thinking about ways to more firmly constrain the magnitude of the asymmetry. Talking about the problem with Adam led me to begin geologic and paleomagnetic inquiry as a graduate student at Princeton, where I benefitted immeasurably from his mentorship. That period revealed to me the true generosity of this community as I conducted appreciable lab work during my Ph.D. research in five different paleomagnetism labs. I am deeply grateful to Dave Evans, Joe Kirschvink, Ben Weiss, Dennis Kent, and their students for welcoming me into their labs, enabling the collection of data, and providing mentorship and inspiration.

My time during graduate school as an informal visitor and visiting fellow at the IRM further opened my eyes to rock magnetism. Josh Feinberg and Mike Jackson were unfailingly generous with their time and expertise in helping me craft ways to get at some particularly vexing rock magnetic puzzles. I feel very lucky to have gotten the opportunity to be at the IRM as an National Science Foundation postdoctoral fellow, where interactions with members of the IRM, including Bruce Moskowitz, Julie Bowles, Peat Solheid, and others, as well as the many visiting fellows, made for a quite stimulating environment. And now I have the good fortune of being a part of the geomagnetism and paleomagnetism (GP) community here at the University of California, where I have particularly benefitted from recent interactions with Rob Coe and Lisa Tauxe. Lisa’s open source approach to sharing knowledge, expertise, and software has been inspirational.

Again, thank you to the GP community and AGU for this recognition and for the support you all have given to me and other young scientists.

—Nicholas L. Swanson-Hysell, University of California, Berkeley

Mariotti Receives 2014 Luna B. Leopold Young Scientist Award

Giulio Mariotti received the 2014 Luna B. Leopold Young Scientist Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “a young scientist for making a significant and outstanding contribution that advances the field of Earth and planetary surface processes.”


Mariotti_Giulio-Leopold_Award_SIZEDWe are pleased to honor Giulio Mariotti with the Luna B. Leopold Young Scientist Award for ground-breaking experimental and theoretical work at the intersection of physical and biotic processes in coastal landscapes. Giulio is a geomorphologist who applies his considerable quantitative and observational skills to improve our understanding of Earth surface processes. While keeping a firm grasp on the detailed fluid and sediment dynamics of coastal systems, Giulio has been able to step back from the details and consider how best to pare a problem down to the simplest possible representations and/or observations to get at the underlying system controls and responses.

Through work in the field, the lab, and numerical modeling, Giulio has provided key insights into the interactions of coastal hydrodynamics, morphodynamics, and ecological processes. For example, with a simple dynamic model Giulio showed the existence of a threshold width for tidal flats bordering salt marshes. Once this threshold is exceeded, irreversible marsh erosion takes place even in the absence of sea level rise. He also determined through a series of laboratory experiments how wrinkle structures in siliciclastic deposits can be microbially induced, shedding light on the feedbacks between flow, sediment motion, and microbial growth.

Giulio’s creativity, quantitative skills, and productivity place him in the very top tier of young scientists in Earth and planetary surface processes who have followed in the footsteps of Luna Leopold.

—P. L. Wiberg, University of Virginia, Charlottesville



I would like to thank the Earth and Planetary Surface Processes focus group for this award and for the trust they put I my capabilities. My academic achievements were made possible by my advisor, Sergio Fagherezzi, who distilled in me the art of observing processes and landforms in the field and translating them into mathematical models. I am also in debt to Taylor Perron and Tanja Bosak, who followed me during my off-the-beaten-path adventure in experimental microbial sedimentology.

I confess that when I started working on ecogeomorphology, I thought about biotic processes as an obstacle to the quantitative understanding of geomorphology. This was the view of a freshly graduated engineering student, with a lot of mathematical tools in his bag but with a quite narrow vision of nature. Luckily, interactions with scientists from different backgrounds—biologists, ecologists, paleontologists, and biochemists—taught me to look at life not as an inconvenience, but rather as an opportunity to give purpose to my geomorphology-based research. Such a change of view led my interest toward questions about the origin and evolution of life and the functioning and fate of modern coastal ecosystems.

There are plenty of biotic-driven questions relevant to society that can be addressed using the tools of geomorphology. My wish is to continue along this road, working with old and new colleagues who are the true catalysts for my work. Thanks to all of you.

—G. Mariotti, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Boston

Parker Receives 2014 G.K. Gilbert Award

Gary Parker received the 2014 G. K. Gilbert Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “a scientist who has either made a single significant advance or sustained significant contributions to the field of Earth and planetary surface processes, and who has in addition promoted an environment of unselfish cooperation in research and the inclusion of young scientists into the field.”


Parker_Gary-Gilbert_Award_SIZED“For visionary research on Earth surface processes, advancing the fields of sediment transport and morphodynamics and inspiring a generation of Earth surface scientists.”

—Marcelo H. Garcia, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana




I express my deep thanks to those who supported me in regard to the G. K. Gilbert Award. They are but a subset of a world of fascinating colleagues with whom I have coevolved over my career. The collective phenomena of subaerial and submarine morphodynamics remain irresistibly appealing to me. After all, are there many more beautiful things than a meandering or braided stream, animated using Google Engine? I want to see progress. I want to know more. I want to leave the scene knowing that more progress will be made. Maybe I can continue to contribute by the Method of Inadvertently Littering the Literature with Mistakes. See, he’s wrong again! (Well, I thought I was right at the time…) And may we get closer and closer in our rationality to that which strums so hard on our strings of spiritual aesthetics.

—Gary Parker, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana

Hewitt Receives 2014 Cryosphere Early Career Award

Ian Hewitt received the 2014 Cryosphere Early Career Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award is for “a significant contribution to cryospheric science and technology.”


Hewitt_Ian-Cryosphere_Early_Career_Award_SIZEDDespite his young age, Ian Hewitt is one of the most impressive theoretical glaciologists active today. His work has focused on the interplay between subglacial drainage and ice flow dynamics, a topic that has attracted much attention inside and outside of our discipline ever since the velocity of the Greenland Ice Sheet was observed to speed up in response to surface melting. Evolving channelized drainage systems are key to understanding how more melt is likely to affect ice flow in future. As part of his Ph.D., Ian constructed, to my knowledge, the first mathematical model for how channels interact in two dimensions, setting the stage for a new generation of subglacial hydrology models currently being implemented more widely.

This was followed up with work explaining the physics behind melt-driven velocity changes in ice sheets, complementing the large body of observational work generated by many researchers over the last decade. The novelty of this work lies not only in the sophistication of its drainage model but in finally providing a fully coupled ice flow-drainage modeling framework.

Like many successful theoreticians, Ian’s background lies outside of glaciology, in his case modeling magma migration in the Earth’s mantle and applied mathematics more generally. The culture of applied mathematics does not often lend itself to an easy knowledge transfer between modeling and application, but Ian seems not only to know instinctively how to communicate his own results to the wider glaciological community but also to have as good a grasp of the realities of many areas of glaciology—especially field work and operational numerical modeling—as any theoretician. In fact, he was one of the best field assistants I have ever taken on a glacier.

I cannot think of a more deserving candidate for the Cryosphere Early Career Award at the American Geophysical Union (AGU).

—Christian Schoof, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada



I am extremely grateful to the Cryosphere focus group for selecting me for this award. To say it was a surprise is a great understatement, but it is no less of an honor for that. I can think of many colleagues who I feel are more deserving of this recognition, and that makes me all the more touched to have been chosen. I take the award as encouragement and motivation to continue my work and endeavor to live up to it.

As a mathematician by training, I am particularly honored to have been recognized by AGU. Since starting to research theoretical aspects of glaciers during my Ph.D., I have been constantly inspired by the opportunity to discover and wonder at these amazing forces of nature. The science is unerringly fascinating and challenging, and I feel privileged to have the chance to try and help advance it.

As much as the science itself, I have been constantly uplifted by the opportunity to meet and work with fantastic colleagues. I have found the crysopheric community to be just that—a community—and it has a spirit of shared inquiry which I think sets it apart from other branches of science. It is this lively sense of community which makes glaciology—for me—uniquely fulfilling.

I would like to extend special thanks to those I have worked closely with and those who wrote supporting letters for this award. I would like to highlight my thesis supervisor, Andrew Fowler, who pointed me in the direction of the Alps to begin with; lecturers and fellow students at the Karthaus summer school, who got me hooked on ice; and Christian Schoof, Mauro Werder, and Gwenn Flowers for widening my horizons and for providing constant ideas, support and inspiration.

Thank you!

—Ian Hewitt, University of Oxford, Oxford, UK

Li Receives 2014 Yoram J. Kaufman Unselfish Cooperation in Research Award

Zhanqing Li received the 2014 Yoram J. Kaufman Unselfish Cooperation in Research Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “broad influence in atmospheric science through exceptional creativity, inspiration of younger scientists, mentoring, international collaborations, and unselfish cooperation in research.”


Li_Zhanqi-Kaufman_Award2_SIZEDProfessor Zhanqing Li of the University of Maryland’s Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences Department and Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center is the 2014 recipient of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) Atmospheric Sciences section’s Yoram J. Kaufman Unselfish Cooperation in Research Award. The award was established in 2009 to honor the memory of NASA Goddard’s distinguished scientist, Yoram J. Kaufman, “for broad influence in atmospheric science through exceptional creativity, inspiration of younger scientists, mentoring, international collaborations, and unselfish cooperation in research.”

Professor Li, a specialist in remote sensing of radiation budget, aerosol, cloud, land, and their applications for studying Earth’s climate, worked in China and Canada prior to joining the University of Maryland in 2001. As a scientist at the Canadian Centre for Remote Sensing, Professor Li led a team of scientists to convince the Canadian Space Agency to join the United States on the NASA satellite mission CloudSat to study impacts of clouds on weather and climate. He developed a satellite-based wildfire monitoring system for Canadian forest agencies that is the basis for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s fire products today. At Maryland, over the past decade, Professor Li forged educational ties with China and spearheaded a very successful international field campaign called East Asian Study of Tropospheric Aerosols, a Regional International Experiment (EAST-AIRE), including deployment of the U.S. Department of Energy’s (DOE’s) Atmospheric Radiation Measurement (ARM) Mobile Facility to China. This was a singularly remarkable achievement; in the words of one letter writer, “Only a scientist with extraordinary diplomatic skills and scientific leadership could get these done over Mainland China.” These efforts led to many publications in three special issues in the Journal of Geophysical Research, with lasting contributions to pollution and climate science over East Asia. Possibly the most lasting impact of Professor Li’s scientific research through wide-ranging and unselfish collaboration will be his 201 Nature Geoscience paper (doi:10.1038/ngeo1313) on observations that “verified theories that predicted pollution would inhibit gentle, warm rains that nurture crops while exacerbating severe storms.”

For these reasons, the AGU Atmospheric Sciences section is proud to present the 2014 Yoram Kaufman Award to Professor Zhanqing Li.

—Anne Thompson, Earth Science Division, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Greenbelt, Md.



I am humbled to receive the Yoram J. Kaufman Award, not so much because the award recognizes my personal achievement, which has already been honored by my election as an AGU Fellow this year, but more because it rewards the collective efforts made by a large number of collaborators with whom I have the privilege of working with in the United States, Canada, and China. Living in these great countries is the most valuable treasure of my life. The Chinese cultural tradition of making education a top priority motivated me to build a solid foundation that has been beneficial to my whole career. In Canada, teamwork led to the award-winning project on fire monitoring, mapping, and modeling. In the United States, the unparalleled freedom and ample resources in choosing and pursuing any research topic helped realize my American dreams. In the era of globalization, especially when we are facing such global challenges as climate and environmental changes, international cooperation is the key for the well-being of all mankind. In this regard, I feel particularly fortunate to have been in the right place at the right time to promote two major international cooperative initiatives with ample support by all three countries, namely, CloudSat between the United States and Canada and EAST-AIRE and AMF between China and the United States. These initiatives allowed my team to better understand the impact and interactions between atmospheric environment and climate change on global scales. This would not be possible without unselfish collaborations with scientists and engineers from many institutions, including the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, DOE laboratories, Beijing Normal University, Nanjing University of Information Science and Technology, and the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, among others. I am most indebted to the tens of graduate students and postdoctoral fellows working with me in the past and present.

Winning this award reminds me of how much I miss my dear friend and a genius colleague, the late Yoram J. Kaufman, who helped change the trajectory of my research career. I vividly recall his visit to Canada at a time when my research interests had only a glancing connection with aerosols from the perspective of wild fires and Earth’s radiation budget. His enlightening talk about aerosol-cloud interactions inspired me to shift my research more toward the new frontier of broad aerosol-climate interactions. His spirit of unselfish collaboration during our interactions was infectious and instilled in me the desire to work with others in a similar way.

—Zhanqing Li, Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Science and the Earth System Science Interdisciplinary Center, University of Maryland, College Park; Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China

Merlis Receives the 2014 James R. Holton Junior Scientist Award

Timothy M. Merlis received the 2014 James R. Holton Junior Scientist Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “outstanding research contributions by a junior atmospheric scientist within three years of his or her Ph.D.”


Merlis_Tim-Holton_Award_SIZEDThe Atmospheric Sciences section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) awards the 2014 James R. Holton Junior Scientist Award to Timothy M. Merlis. Dr. Merlis is an assistant professor at McGill University in Montreal, Canada. Dr. Merlis is an atmospheric and climate dynamicist who works on baroclinic instability, the dynamics of extrasolar planets, tropical circulation, volcanic eruptions, and global hurricane frequency.

Timothy Merlis’s accomplishments can best be described by quoting from his nomination letters. “Tim Merlis ranks at or very near the top of his age group in atmospheric science. His contributions to date are first-rate and are among the very best papers in our field over the last decade. His work is marked by an excellent choice of questions to pose and issues to address, a meticulous but creative approach to addressing these issues, and a clear and effective writing and speaking style. He is both broad and deep.” “Tim is the best recent graduate in atmosphere/ocean physics I know. His versatility and familiarity both with large-scale dynamics and mesoscale dynamics is unmatched by anyone else I know at a similar career stage.”

“The common thread to all of his papers is his extraordinary ability to isolate simple physical mechanisms within very complex dynamical systems. In most cases, he has done so by performing elegant numerical simulations with idealized models.” “The breadth of his research interests, together with his desire to tackle fundamental questions, his rigorous thinking, his creativity and originality, all make Tim a truly exceptional young scientist, who promises to be an intellectual leader in his generation.”

For these reasons, the AGU Atmospheric Sciences section is proud to award the 2014 Holton Award to Timothy Merlis.

—Alan Robock, Rutgers University, New Brunswick



am grateful to receive the AGU Atmospheric Science section’s James R. Holton Junior Scientist Award. It is excellent to receive the award in the same years as Elizabeth Barnes, whose research I admire.

This is a wonderful opportunity to acknowledge the support from which I have benefitted greatly. My advisors, Tapio Schneider and Isaac Held, have played an invaluable role in my development. The time I spent as a Ph.D. student with Tapio was truly exceptional. Beyond his scientific insights, Tapio guided my growth in all aspects of the profession. I am deeply appreciative of Isaac’s thoughtful scientific advising. It has been wonderful to discuss a wide range of ideas with him.

I am grateful to the group of early career scientists with whom I have had the opportunity to extensively discuss research and other important topics. I treasure interacting with Paul O’Gorman, Simona Bordoni, Yohai Kaspi, Ian Eisenman, Xavier Levine, Gretchen Keppel-Aleks, Nicole Feldl, and others. I also thank the senior scientists who have generously spent time supporting me: Adam Sobel, George Philander, and Kerry Emanuel, among others.

Last, I thank Shanon Fitzpatrick and the rest of my family.

—Timothy M. Merlis, McGill University, Montreal, Canada

Barnes Receives the 2014 James R. Holton Junior Scientist Award

Elizabeth A. Barnes received the 2014 James R. Holton Junior Scientist Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “outstanding research contributions by a junior atmospheric scientist within three years of his or her Ph.D.”

Barnes_Elizabeth-James-Holton-Junior-Scientist-Award_SIZEDThe Atmospheric Sciences section of the American Geophysical Union (AGU) awards the 2014 James R. Holton Junior Scientist Award to Elizabeth A. Barnes. Dr. Barnes is an assistant professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at Colorado State University. She has already made major contributions to our understanding of midlatitude atmospheric circulation. Although receiving her Ph.D. only 2 years ago, at the time of her nomination she had published 23 papers in high-quality journals and was the lead author on 18 of them.

Elizabeth “Libby” Barnes’s accomplishments can best be described by quoting from her nomination letters. “I cannot think of a more deserving candidate among her peers. She is an extraordinarily good scientist. … The amazing fact is this: the quality of her scientific work matches the quantity.” “Bottom line: Libby Barnes is spectacularly good. I have no doubt she will become a major force in atmospheric and climate science in the next decade. … She is destined for greatness.”

“The diversity of Dr. Barnes’ research interests and skills is impressive, particularly for someone so early in their career. She is equally adept at working with observations and numerical models. She has used both a barotropic model and the dynamical core of a GCM to great effect in her research, and has considerable expertise in the analysis and diagnosis of observations. She is widely sought for and gives very clear presentations. Her physical arguments are lucid and her papers are clearly written. Dr. Barnes is a ‘star’ junior scientist by any measure. She is highly productive, very well known, and has already made fundamental contributions to our understanding of the climate system.”
For these reasons, the AGU Atmospheric Sciences section is proud to award the 2014 Holton Award to Elizabeth A. Barnes.

–Alan Robock, Rutgers University, New Brunswick



I wish to begin by simply saying thank you.

It is an honor to receive this award, but even more so, a humbling experience. I must admit I was surprised to have even been nominated, let alone to have received this award. I suppose that is why one does not nominate oneself!

While there are many people who have helped me along the way, I wish to explicitly express my gratitude to a few key people who supported and guided my enthusiasm for science over the past decade or so: Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, for giving me the opportunity to explore a whole new world of questions; Julia Slingo, for providing me with my very first look at atmospheric science; Dennis Hartmann, for many things, but especially for consistently setting the bar one rung higher than was comfortable while continuing to nurture my scientific development; Lorenzo Polvani, for showing me how to ask interesting questions; and Arlene Fiore, for putting up with me, a dynamicist, while I tried to learn a little bit of chemistry.

Although I received my Ph.D. from the University of Washington, where Jim Holton was a professor for 38 years, I never had the honor of meeting him. I am told he was a wonderful mentor and teacher, and it is, of course, evident that he was also an outstanding scientist. It goes without saying that it is an incredible honor to receive this award bearing his name.

–Elizabeth Barnes, Colorado State University, Fort Collins

Weber Receives the 2014 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award

Rodney Weber received the 2014 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “research contributions by exceptional mid-career scientists in the fields of atmospheric and climate sciences.”

Weber_Rodney-Ascent_Award_SIZEDWe congratulate Professor Rodney Weber, winner of a 2014 Ascent Award, “for outstanding contributions to the modeling of aerosol properties and their impact on climate in the troposphere and lower stratosphere.”

—Peter Webster, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta




I feel very privileged to receive this award from the American Geophysical Union Atmospheric Sciences section and am truly indebted to those who committed their valuable time and effort into putting together my nomination.  Receiving the award is a highlight of my research career and provides motivation to continue to pursue topics of interest to me in my own way.  Of course, what successes I have had are largely due to the people I have worked with and the generosity of the community of scientists in my research area.  This started from Virgil Marple taking me on as new graduate student with dubious background to Peter McMurry, my Ph.D. advisor, who was a role model and provided guidance and opportunities primed for success.  After graduate school it was my many friends and colleagues at Brookhaven National Laboratory who showed by example the effort and rigor needed to do good science.  But having spent most of my career at Georgia Institute of Technology (Georgia Tech), it is the efforts of my graduate students and postdocs and collaborations with Georgia Tech colleagues that have contributed the most.  All of this would have been impossible and meaningless without the support of my family.  I thank you all.

—Rodney J. Weber, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta

Sobel Receives the 2014 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award

Adam Sobel received the 2014 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award at the 2014 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, held 15–19 December in San Francisco, Calif. The award recognizes “research contributions by exceptional mid-career scientists in the fields of atmospheric and climate sciences.”

Sobel_Adam-Ascent-Award_SIZEDWe congratulate Dr. Adam H. Sobel, winner of a 2014 Ascent Award, “for outstanding contributions to the modeling of aerosol properties and their impact on climate in the troposphere and lower stratosphere.”

—Peter Webster, Columbia University, New York




I wish to thank Professor Webster and the Atmospheric Sciences section awards committee for selecting me for this award and also those who nominated me for it. It’s a great honor, and I am humbled to be in the company of previous recipients.

It takes a village, as the cliché goes. I learned the field first and foremost from my Ph.D. advisor, Alan Plumb, and my postdoctoral advisor, Chris Bretherton. Kerry Emanuel, Isaac Held, and David Neelin also stand out as mentors from whom I’ve been privileged to learn over the years. Lorenzo Polvani and Mark Cane have been my most important mentors and colleagues at Columbia, guiding me through academic life since I arrived here 15 years ago. Many more colleagues than I can name at my two Columbia homes—the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory and the Department of Applied Physics and Applied Math in Columbia’s School of Engineering and Applied Sciences—have made this a wonderful place to go from junior to “midcareer.”

I have been especially fortunate, though, to be able to sustain long-term collaborative relationships with several people here in particular, especially Suzana Camargo and Michela Biasutti and, more recently, Michael Tippett and Shuguang Wang as well. Whatever success I have had in research over the last decade is due in large part to them, as well as to an outstanding series of postdocs and graduate students. I consider myself truly fortunate for having had the opportunity to work with scientists of this exceptional caliber. I hope that we are able to keep working together for many more years.

Most of all, I thank my family: my parents and sister; my wife, Marit Larson; and our sons, Eli and Samuel, for their love and support.

—Adam Sobel, Columbia University, New York