Lin Receives 2017 Global Environmental Change Early Career Award


Prof. Jintai Lin of the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences, Peking University, has been a leader in the strategic pursuit of innovative research addressing the intersection of human health, impacts on climate forcing, economic impacts, international negotiations, and the veracity of climate forecast models. His keen sense of how these factors are coupled and how that linkage must be recognized has established an international standard for these critical studies.

He has also made seminal contributions to the mapping of sulfate, black carbon, ozone, and CO satellite retrievals for both China and globally. While many of his published works have had a fundamental influence on the field, perhaps most notable was his Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) paper that won the prestigious Cozzarelli Prize, as one of the six out of 3,500 PNAS papers published in 2014. This was the first time a paper led by Chinese institutions in any field has ever won the award. That worknot only set the gold standard for coupled pollution transport mechanisms using advanced photochemistry and transport processes, but also established Jintai’s leadership analyzing the international impact of nitrate, sulfate, ozone, and carbon emissions. The PNAS paper has been downloaded more than 160,000 times from the PNAS website, and it has been cited 153 times by papers in various research disciplines, including but not limited to atmospheric sciences, environmental sciences, epidemiology, ecological sciences, economics, and management.

It is particularly important that a strong and trusted relationship between scientists in the United States and China become a top priority, because cooperation in science must precede joint public policy progress. Prof. Jintai Lin is a young scientist of such exceptional quality that this opportunity to explicitly strengthen these ties by awarding him the AGU Global Environmental Change Early Career Award will serve both science and society for decades.

—James G. Anderson, Harvard University, Mass.


Thank you, Jim, for your generous nomination and citation. It is my great honor to receive such a prestigious award. This would not be possible without the continuous kind help and support from my mentors, colleagues, and friends. Indeed, learning from my advisers Donald Wuebbles and Michael McElroy and other colleagues like Jim has given me the opportunity to put together perspectives, ideas, and tools from multiple disciplines to address the grand challenge of our times: air pollution.

My research focuses on understanding global air pollution, its impacts on public health and climate, and its interactions with socioeconomic development. My Ph.D. studies with Don took a modeling approach to evaluating ozone pollution and transboundary transport. My postdoc years with Mike further incorporated satellite measurements to quantify China’s fast changing environment and emissions. My work at Peking University has been integrating economic and emissions statistics with modeling and satellite measurements to understand how economic production and consumption are associated with global air pollution and various environmental and climate consequences.

I owe greatly to my colleagues from around the world whose important contributions have made such multidisciplinary studies possible, including Don, Mike, the Harvard modeling team, the Tsinghua emissions team, the CEADs team, Steven Davis, Randall Martin, Folkert Boersma, and many others. Interactions with leading scientists like Jim are inspiring. I have had continuous support from Yongyun Hu, other colleagues at Peking University, and my dear friends. I am grateful to all my students who have effectively turned abstract thoughts into concrete research. In particular, Da Pan’s exceptional work has led to our first study linking global air pollution to consumption and trade, which was published in PNAS.

Last, I would like to thank my wife, my son, and my parents, who have always been my strongest believers and supporters.

—Jintai Lin, Peking University, Beijing, China

Gentine Receives 2017 Global Environmental Change Early Career Award


Pierre Gentine is one of the most thoughtful and intellectually stimulating scientists to start a career in the Earth sciences. His training in applied mathematics and physics allows him to bring new perspectives to challenging theoretical and practical problems at the interface between hydrology, meteorology, and ecology that define the dynamics of the global hydrological cycle. It is remarkable that in a very short time he has been able to conjure up new insights on long-standing problems, such as the nature of vegetation adaptation that leads to the empirical observations that support the Budyko curve, and has also developed a formal theoretical framework for convection, linking cloud dynamics, evaporation, and other surface and boundary layer processes. Together these lines of inquiry, blending physics and appropriate statistical methods, address major sources of uncertainty in the future of Earth’s climate. Though young, he is a leader and a role model in this area, demonstrating the best of the scientific method: Take a complex problem, understand the key aspects of the observational evidence in a theoretical framework, and then develop an appropriate, simple, and elegant theoretical representation of the processes that provides insight into the phenomenon at a fundamental level. He is very worthy of recognition through the Global Environmental Change Award, the first of many that I am sure he will garner.

—Upmanu Lall, Columbia University, New York


Dear Manu,

Thank you for the kind word. I am truly humbled and honored to receive such an award.

I started my academic career as a hydrologist. I had the luck and fortune to be exposed to other fields during my academic journey.

During my Ph.D., I was hosted by the Laboratoire de Météorologie Dynamique. They introduced me to the magic and complexity of moist convection and clouds. It opened a Pandora’s box and an excitement that have never stopped since then. In parallel, I was puzzled by the role of vegetation in regulating the continental water cycle and decided to try and understand how vegetation was functioning.

While learning (and trying to publish some papers!), I was lucky to meet some giants who would be willing to listen to young people: Dara, Manu, Alan Betts, and Joe Berry. I will always remember Alan taking the time to have lunch with me 1 year out of grad school after I had mentioned I had an idea for a new convective parameterization. The stories of Joe from the molecular scale to superparameterization in the Amazon evenings were simply an enchantment.

An award is never a single-person effort, and I sincerely thank all the fantastic people with whom I have collaborated: Adam, Fabio, Kirsten, Ben, Bert, Sonia, Guido, Maria…and my wonderful postdocs and students.

I would like to thank my wife and three children for their constant support. Their smiles always place things in perspective. Looking at my children motivates me to try and understand what our future climate will look like.

Finally, I would like to dedicate this to the memory of my dad, who died during the 2013 AGU Fall Meeting. He was a doctor, a scientist, and a cheerful, honest, and humble individual. I hope I transmit some of his values to my group and colleagues.

—Pierre Gentine, Columbia University, New York

Campbell Receives 2017 Global Environmental Change Early Career Award


We are recognizing Dr. Elliott Campbell for his creative research in multiple areas of global environmental change. His contributions are more than just original research. Elliott’s creative use of the atmospheric trace gas carbonyl sulfide as a chemical analogue of carbon dioxide led him to make a major breakthrough in quantifying the “carbon–climate feedback” problem, which is one of the largest uncertainties in modeling the future trajectory of the greenhouse effect. Elliott did more than use carbonyl sulfide to measure photosynthesis. He also recognized that it could be used to falsify model calculations of the continental-scale carbon cycle.

A second area where Elliott has made brilliant contributions to understanding global environmental change is in life-cycle assessment, a discipline that evaluates the sustainability of policies and products. Most notable was his finding that land use constraints on bioenergy production create critical advantages for bioelectricity over ethanol. He found biomass electricity to be superior for both climate change mitigation and energy security goals, in comparison to the use of land and crops for ethanol production. His papers have become widely cited by science and policy communities, as well as the national and international press, in part because they focus on potential solutions to the land use impacts that are prominent in public discussions. His findings go well beyond solid contributions. They represent fresh insight from someone who digs deeper to link brilliant research with public policy.

The quality of Dr. Campbell’s research and the impact on his field, and on the nation and the global debate, over a sustainable future are exceptional. At a time when developing climate solutions is paramount, it is fitting that we recognize a leader whose pioneering work informs both research and workable policy.

—Roger Bales, University of California, Merced


Thank you, Roger, for your nomination and generous citation. Your remarkable contributions to science, sustainability, and service at UC Merced and beyond are a constant source of inspiration.

I am grateful for the work of the letter writers and the Global Environmental Change award committee for carrying out this honors program. Their selfless efforts help to encourage our scientists and invigorate our community to focus on the most important environmental problems of our time.

My deepest gratitude goes to the advisers who have led me to this point. Jeff Koseff hooked me on research as an undergraduate at Stanford. Jerry Schnoor, Charlie Stanier, and Greg Carmichael were exceptional graduate mentors at the University of Iowa. Chris Field not only offered extraordinary postdoc mentoring at Carnegie Institution but also provided proper refreshments from a bicycle blender.

I would not be here today without the many scientists I have had the great pleasure to work with and learn from. While there are too many to list, I want to make special mention of Joe Berry for sharing his warm spirit and brilliant vision and to the postdocs and students who are advancing science while striving to make AGU a more diverse and welcoming community.

One of the common traits that I’ve noticed in these inspiring scientists is confidence. Their confidence helps them to propose new hypotheses, to commit to a program of research in the face of criticism, to admit mistakes, and to share the credit of discoveries. My attempts to emulate this trait are possible only because of the love and support from my partner, Liz; my children, Hazel and Beatrice; and my parents, Toni and Scott.

Thank you again to AGU for this honor.

—Elliott Campbell, University of California, Santa Cruz

Burney Receives 2017 Global Environmental Change Early Career Award


Jennifer Burney is a master of effective interdisciplinary research. While formally trained in physics, she works on a wide range of issues that are pivotal to environmental health and human development.

Her best known work examines whether intensification of agriculture is good for the environment. While there has been fierce debate on all sides of this topic, Burney led a team that offered some of the first systematic analysis of the full cycle of activities (e.g., fertilizer production, farming, etc.) involved in producing food. Intensification is generally good for the environment, they found. They also figured out just how much intensification costs relative to other strategies aimed at lightening the environmental footprint of agriculture.

My favorite is Jen’s work on rural electrification. She has focused on the ways that renewable energy supplies—with local solar panels connected into miniature grids—might help low-income villages. Her contribution has been to run semirandom control trials in which different villages receive solar-powered drip irrigation and then to compute in detail the effects of these systems—on production of food, on incomes, and on public health.

In the past, researchers have focused on particular interventions—for example, an aid project to build a microgrid—but have not been able to pin down whether those interventions actually affected welfare, because donors and villages tended to select themselves for such projects.  Burney has cut through that bias with randomized trials, a standard method for the best research on development yet rare in studying energy interventions. Not only does she show that these solar grids have large local benefits, but also she has helped to demonstrate a viable technology that is now taking off on its own with private financing in parts of Africa. She is settling important scientific questions and helping humanity as well.

—David Victor, University of California, San Diego


Thank you, David, for your kind words. It’s a deeply touching honor to receive this award and to share it with three scientists whose work I admire very much. I’d like to thank AGU and the Global Environmental Change (GEC) focus group for all the work they do to support and encourage scientists throughout their careers. I first came to the AGU Fall Meeting during my inaugural quarter as a physics graduate student, and I can truthfully say that exposure to GEC sessions that week changed my life. I am perpetually inspired by all of the work showcased here and always come away from the meeting reenergized by both the cutting-edge science and the first-rate people doing it.

I am so grateful to the many people who have, at various times, taken a chance on me. My Ph.D. adviser, Blas Cabrera, took me on sight unseen when my intended adviser passed away; Blas was the kindest supporter imaginable of my intellectual exploration. Robert Freling, Jeff Lahl, and Walt Ratterman from the Solar Electric Light Fund risked a scientific collaboration to evaluate their work. Roz Naylor, Wally Falcon, and David Lobell at Stanford welcomed me to the new Earth System Science Department as a postdoc in an experiment that no one would have possibly foretold would go so well. Ram Ramanathan taught me countless hard and soft skills. Finally, David Victor and colleagues at the School of Global Policy and Strategy at UC San Diego made a totally unconventional choice to hire me. It still feels like I won the lottery because I have an incredible group of colleagues, postdocs, and students from whom I learn daily.

Finally, I’d like to thank my parents; my partner, Claire Adida; and our children, Gabi and Mina, for being the best possible companions on this journey.

—Jennifer Burney, University of California, San Diego

Eltahir Receives 2017 Hydrologic Sciences Award

Elfatih Eltahir will receive the 2017 Hydrologic Sciences Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award is for “outstanding contributions to the science of hydrology over a career, with an emphasis on the past five years.”


How do hydrology, climatology, entomology, and immunology come together to address an age-old problem? Malaria is not a new disease; it was discovered more than 4,000 years ago. Yet one child dies every minute from malaria today. What makes Dr. Elfatih Eltahir’s work creative and transformational is the recognition to synthesize disparate knowledge of malaria outbreaks, transmission, and propagation to develop a predictive model that will save lives.

In his work, hydrology meets entomology and immunology to create new knowledge that is innovative and transformational. His research group at MIT along with a diverse group of international partners have developed a new computer model to analyze different methods of trying to control the spread of malaria. Seed magazine recently highlighted Prof. Eltahir’s malaria research in an article profiling “the most promising and innovative approaches to fighting malaria.”

Dr. Eltahir is one of the finest hydrologists of our time, a curious intellectual and a pathbreaker whose work is rooted in theory and practice with significant societal relevance. In addition to his pathbreaking work in malaria, his most recent work—in Nature Climate Change in 2016 and Nature Geophysics in 2015—on heat waves predicted for Southwest Asia and rainfall enhancement due to irrigation in East Africa—are not only intellectually fascinating but also likely to have tremendous policy and societal implications.

I know Fatih from graduate school days and consider it a blessing to call him a friend. He is a quiet scholar. He is not a self-promotor. He pursues academia the hard way, using rigorous and imaginative approaches with unapologetic intellectual leadership. This Hydrologic Sciences Award not only recognizes his impeccable intellectual achievements but also provides the impetus for national and international prominence of this timely and humane work.

—Shafiqul Islam, Tufts University, Medford, Mass.


Thank you, Shafik, for your generous words. I appreciate it. I am grateful to those who supported my nomination and all my colleagues in the Hydrology section of AGU. I have enjoyed your collegiality for more than 25 years.

This award is very special to me, not only offered by colleagues I appreciate and deeply respect, but also coming after a long journey starting from a remote corner of Africa, nurtured there by a loving family and dedicated teachers. I am proud of my roots in the Nile valley where I learned that the purpose of rivers is to irrigate fields, until I landed in Ireland to discover that the real purpose of Irish rivers is actually to drain the soil so crops may grow! Nash and Dooge taught me that all hydrology is deterministic, and blessed my move to other side of the Atlantic to MIT, where I shared with Ignacio and Rafael their fascination with Random Functions and Hydrology!! Rafael has been more than an advisor; I have been very lucky to have him as a mentor and friend.

One secret I learned at MIT is the value of exploring new areas of research, fulfilling curiosity, and renewing excitement. So my hydrologic journey took me from understanding the role of forests in the Amazon to studying aquifers and soils in Illinois, and from predicting floods of the Nile to explaining droughts in the Sahel, and more recently, exploring malaria in Africa before exposing dangers of heat waves in Asia. My latest exciting project is hydrology of the human body! Accompanying me in this journey is a long list of excellent students from whom I learned a great deal. To all who shared and enjoyed this journey, I am happy to acknowledge you with deep gratitude. This award is for all of us!

—Elfatih Eltahir, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge

AghaKouchak Receives 2017 Hydrologic Sciences Early Career Award

Amir AghaKouchak will receive the 2017 Hydrologic Sciences Early Career Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award “acknowledges early career prominence and the promise of continued contributions to hydrologic science.”


It is a great pleasure for me to announce Amir AghaKouchak as the successful recipient of the 2017 AGU Hydrologic Sciences Early Career Award for developing new methods for the study of hydrological extremes by combining societal relevance and scientific novelty.

Societal relevance has consistently characterized Amir’s work. One of the most striking examples is provided by his work on anthropogenic drought. Amir led a multidisciplinary team of scientists, and drawing from California’s drought, he developed key insights that are not only scientifically important but also relevant for water resources management in a changing climate. Studies of drought impacts on water resources primarily focus on large-scale atmospheric conditions and ignore the human dimension. Amir’s work has outlined a solid methodological framework for assessing water availability while explicitly considering anthropogenic water demand scenarios and water supply infrastructure designed to cope with climatic extremes.

Scientific novelty has also been an important part of Amir’s work. Amir has developed seminal studies advancing statistical hydrology. In the most recent papers, for example, he co-developed new methods to deal with nonstationary processes. Moreover, throughout his career, he has demonstrated the value of remote sensing data for the study of hydrological extremes and proposed new tools to exploit new sources of information. Amir’s work has been groundbreaking. This is demonstrated by his remarkable publication record, which includes papers in multidisciplinary journals such as Nature, Science, and Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The impact of Amir’s work has accelerated exponentially over the past few years, speaking to the importance and relevance of his studies. Many scholars have built on his work in many areas of the world. This is also demonstrated by the fact that his research has been well funded by prestigious sources, speaking again to its rigorous character and significance. As a result, only a few years after his Ph.D., Amir has received by the community a solid reputation.

Exceptional productivity, extraordinary outreach, and tireless dedication to students and postdocs did not prevent Amir from providing service to the scientific community. Amir has been an editor and associate editor of various journals including Earth’s Future. He has also been very active within AGU and the International Association of Hydrological Sciences by serving on committees, such as AGU’s Horton Research Grant and Graduate Student Award, and organizing conferences.

In conclusion, groundbreaking research, original ideas, and societal relevance along with unselfish service to the scientific community make Amir AghaKouchak the most deserving candidate for the 2017 AGU Hydrologic Sciences Early Career Award.

—Giuliano Di Baldassarre, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden


Thank you, Giuliano, for your generous citation and for leading the nomination! My sincere thanks to Efi Foufoula-Georgiou, Vijay Singh, and Balaji Rajagopalan, who supported the nomination. I am also grateful to the AGU Hydrology section and its president, Jeffrey McDonnell, and the honors committee for this recognition. Receiving this award is certainly a humbling pleasure. But this is not an individual recognition. I believe it reflects the work of my amazing collaborators, students, and postdocs.

Studying and working on three continents and interacting with exceptional scientists from around the world have made my journey very exciting! I was incredibly lucky to work with Andras Bardossy and Emad Habib, who introduced me to statistical hydrology and radar science. I am indebted to both of them for building my analytical skills. Joining Soroosh Sorooshian’s group as a postdoctoral fellow was a life-changing and inspiring experience! Soroosh introduced me to the world of remote sensing and changed my perspective toward research. I could not have imagined a more generous mentor and role model, and I cannot thank him enough for his unwavering support, encouragement, and mentorship over the years. During my postdoc, I had the privilege of collaborating with amazing scientists including Kuolin Hsu, Bisher Imam, Xiaogang Gao, and Jialun Li—a great team with endless ideas!

I thank the University of California, Irvine for taking the leap of faith to appoint me as a faculty member, where I have had the good fortune of working with a diverse group of exceptional colleagues. Special thanks go to Brett Sanders and Stan Grant for integrating me into their interdisciplinary projects and broadening my research; to Richard Matthew and David Feldman for their insights on the broader relevance of our work; to Steven Davis for sharing his brilliant mind and stimulating ideas; to Jim Randerson for his thought-provoking views; to Bill Cooper and Phu Nguyen for their stunningly positive attitude; and to Efi Foufoula-Georgiou for her critical thoughts and the opportunities she has created.

Over the past 7 years, I have had the pleasure of working and publishing with nearly 200 phenomenal scientists. I cannot possibly mention everyone here, but I would like to acknowledge the amazing interactions and stimulating discussions that I have had with Upmanu Lall, Kaveh Madani, Tom Phillips, Ghassem Asrar, Andy Wood, Ali Nazemi, Marty Hoerling, Shrad Shukla, Ali Mirchi, Hamid Norouzi, Travis Huxman, Nasrin Nasrollahi, Jay Lund, Mark Svoboda, Marzi Azarderakhsh, Brian Tarroja, Gianfausto Salvadori, Chiyuan Miao, Farshid Vahedifard, Thomas Wahl, Hamid Moradkhani, Jasper Vrugt, Qingyun Duan, Brian Skahill, and Salvatore Grimaldi. I have learned much from and been influenced by many more scientists than I can list here.

I owe much of this recognition to my current and former students, postdocs, and visiting scholars. I accept this honor with humility and gratitude on their behalf: Linyin Cheng, Ali Mehran, Elisa Ragno, Alireza Farahmand, Omid Mazdiyasni, Charlotte Love, Felicia Chiang, Hassan Anjileli, Alexandre Martinez, Aneseh Alborzi, Austen Nelson, Mohsen Niknejad, Lisa Damberg, Qiaohong Sun, Samaneh Ashraf, Carlos Lima, Zengchao Hao, Shahrbanou Madadgar, Hamed Moftakhari, Mojtaba Sadegh, Iman Mallakpour, Simon Papalexiou, and Laurie Huning. I wholeheartedly appreciate their hard work and dedication and want to thank them for their patience with me!

Finally, I am grateful for the tremendous support I have received from my parents. Heartfelt thanks go also to my lovely wife, Nasrin, who has remained an infinite source of support over the past 12 years; my son, Kian; and soon his little sister, who often have to deal with my time away from home. I owe them so much!

—Amir AghaKouchak, University of California, Irvine

Lisabeth and Townsend Receive 2017 Mineral and Rock Physics Graduate Research Award

Harrison Lisabeth and Joshua Townsend will receive the 2017 Mineral and Rock Physics Graduate Research Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. This award is given annually to “one or more promising young scientists for outstanding contributions achieved during their Ph.D. research.” Recipients of this award are “engaged in experimental and/or theoretical studies of Earth and planetary materials with the purpose of unraveling the physics and chemistry that govern their origin and physical properties.”


Harrison Lisabeth received his A.B. in geological sciences from Brown University in 2010 and a Ph.D. in geology under the supervision of Wenlu Zhu at the University of Maryland in College Park in 2016. He is currently working at Stanford University as a postdoctoral researcher with the Stanford Center for Carbon Storage under the mentorship of Mark Zoback and Sally Benson. His research interests include the interaction of chemical and physical stresses in deforming materials, the intersection of rock mechanics and petrology, and science communication.


Joshua Townsend received his B.S. in geology from Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis in 2010. He completed his Ph.D. in Earth and planetary sciences from Northwestern University in 2016 under the supervision of Steven Jacobsen and Craig Bina. Joshua is currently working as a postdoctoral researcher in the High Energy Density Physics Theory department at Sandia National Laboratories. His research interests include computational mineral physics and thermodynamics.

Miyagi Receives 2017 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award

Lowell Miyagi will receive the 2017 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award is given to an early-career scientist “in recognition of outstanding contributions in the broadly defined area of mineral and rock physics.”


The Mineral and Rock Physics (MRP) focus group of AGU is privileged to honor Dr. Lowell Miyagi as the recipient of the 2017 Mineral and Rock Physics Early Career Award. Lowell earned a B.A. at Oberlin College and his Ph.D. from Berkeley working with Rudy Wenk. Following his Ph.D., Lowell moved to Yale University as a Bateman Postdoctoral Fellow, where he collaborated with Shun Karato and Kanani Lee. Lowell is currently an assistant professor at the University of Utah.

Lowell’s research on deformation and texture development in deep Earth mineral phases, and the consequences for seismic anisotropy and dynamics, is at the forefront of rock and mineral physics. In a series of papers, Lowell has produced important experimental results on the deformation of major mineral phases in Earth’s transition zone, lower mantle, and core. In collaborations with seismologists and geodynamicists, he has contributed outstanding insights interpreting geophysical observations in the context of deformation mineral physics. Lowell’s stellar research and service establish him as not just a leader among early-career scientists but also a leader throughout all of mineral and rock physics. Congratulations, Lowell, on this well-deserved award!

—Andy Campbell, University of Chicago, and President, Mineral and Rock Physics Focus Group, AGU


Thank you for these kind words. It is an honor to receive the MRP Early Career Award. I am grateful to the MRP section and my nominators for this recognition. I would not be where I am if not for superb mentors along the way. I was fortunate to discover my interest in rock deformation at Oberlin, where I studied fault rocks with Steve Wojital. I likely would not have pursued this career path without this experience. I am grateful to my Ph.D. advisor, Rudy Wenk, who taught me so much about plasticity and texture and whose enthusiasm and insight continue to inspire me. I am indebted to Sébastien Merkel and Sergio Speziale, who as postdocs took the time to teach me to use the diamond anvil cell and synchrotron diffraction. As a Bateman Fellow, my interactions with Kanani Lee and Shun Karato gave me a much deeper understanding of mineral physics and rheology. From Dave Mogk at Montana State University I gained a greater appreciation for teaching and pedagogy. I hope I have become not only a better teacher but a better student as well.

At the University of Utah I have had the pleasure of working with remarkable colleagues who support me and students who continue to challenge and inspire me. In particular, I would like to acknowledge the Rock and Mineral Physics group at the University of Utah; their congeniality and creativity make the lab a wonderful place. To my many collaborators around the world, I could not accomplish what I have without your help.

Finally, I would like to thank my family and friends for their support. In particular, my wife and children bring joy and balance to my life, and somehow they put up with my many trips abroad and to the synchrotron.

—Lowell Miyagi, Department of Geology and Geophysics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City

Neelin Receives 2017 Bert Bolin Global Environmental Change Award

David Neelin has been selected as the 2017 Bert Bolin awardee and lecturer of the American Geophysical Union’s Global Environmental Change focus group. He will receive the award and present this lecture at the 2017 AGU Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award recognizes an Earth scientist for “groundbreaking research or/and leadership in global environmental change through cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary research in the past 10 years.”


Dr. Neelin’s research spans a number of subfields on climate processes that are germane to global environmental change. He has made groundbreaking contributions to understanding tropical climate dynamics and the impact of anthropogenic forcing on precipitation, drying, circulation, and extremes. It is noteworthy that he has developed concepts to effectively explain his results to the general public. His work has produced key contributions to understanding how small-scale moist convection interacts with large-scale motions to produce dramatically different moist dynamics. With originality and deep insights, his work on tropical atmospheric dynamics and tropical climate interactions has advanced our understanding of dynamics and predictability of the El Niño–Southern Oscillation phenomenon and tropical intraseasonal variability as well as a better understanding of the moist dynamical feedback and the vegetation–climate feedback that affect the response of precipitation to global warming. Recently, he and his colleagues have undertaken a combination of observational work, melding tools from statistical physics and moist thermodynamics with recent large satellite and in situ data sets, along with theoretical approaches to understand the relationships among fast timescale fluctuations. Together these address the critical need to better constrain parameterizations used in climate models in a manner that includes variations that yield extreme events. Dr. Neelin’s groundbreaking research in global environmental change stems from his mixture of cross-disciplinary, interdisciplinary, and transdisciplinary approaches to addressing complex and critical issues.

—Fei-Fei Jin, University of Hawaii, Manoa


I am grateful to the AGU Global Environmental Change focus group for selecting me as the second recipient of the Bert Bolin Award. In a field where many have contributed, I view this choice as a recognition of the close connections among the diverse aspects of studying the global climate system. Our understanding of natural climate variability such as El Niño–Southern Oscillation, of fundamentals of mechanisms connecting cloud-scale processes to global climate, and of how the interwoven parts of the climate system change under anthropogenic influence all form part of an inseparable continuum. It has been a delight to have the opportunity to work with many across these areas, and to see methods that we had initiated for one purpose picked up and used by the next generation for unanticipated applications. Thanks are due numerous colleagues but particularly Isaac Held, George Philander, Mark Cane, and Kerry Emanuel for early and ongoing mentorship; Michael Ghil, Jim McWilliams, and all my wonderful colleagues at UCLA; and Fei-Fei Jin for nominating me. I hope that I have passed on some of the joy of piecing together the fascinating workings of our Earth system to my own grad students and postdocs. I have also greatly enjoyed interactions with hundreds of undergraduates across multiple science disciplines that I’ve had the opportunity to introduce to climate science. I hope I have communicated to them an appreciation of the full breadth of this field, from the natural workings of the system to the anthropogenic changes that we are part of. With understanding of these quantitative science tools, I’ve been encouraged by the levelheaded sense of urgency students come to in carrying them into societal application.

—J. David Neelin, University of California, Los Angeles

Booker Receives 2017 William Gilbert Award

John R. Booker will receive the 2017 William Gilbert Award at the 2017 American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award recognizes “outstanding and unselfish work in magnetism of Earth materials and of the Earth and planets.”


The 2017 William Gilbert Award is given to Prof. John Booker in recognition of his outstanding leadership and service to the Geomagnetism, Paleomagnetism, and Electromagnetism (GPE) community and of the impact of his work in elucidating lithospheric and mantle structure.

Prof. Booker has made diverse contributions to geophysics using electromagnetic (EM) methods, magnetotellurics (MT), in particular, as tools to illuminate the physical, chemical, and rheological state of the lithosphere. Over the course of his career, Prof. Booker has made important contributions in theory, methodology, application, and the implications for Earth processes. He led development of “the gold standard of EM data processing” and of inversion codes that have been freely distributed to the community and that have had enormous impact in the reduction and inversion of EM/MT data. In the early 1980s, he led the first large-scale community MT experiment, EMSLAB, which imaged the resistivity structure of the subducting Juan de Fuca plate and provided the first concrete evidence for sediment subduction and the accompanying release of dehydration fluids. Prof. Booker went on to be the instigator (and later principal investigator) of the first community-use MT instrument facility (EMSOC) that laid the groundwork for the incorporation of EM/MT into the National Science Foundation’s EarthScope program. Even while devoting incredible energy to bringing MT into the limelight as a major, and necessary, component of regional geophysical investigations, Prof. Booker’s own research program has been vibrant and active. The work from his group has continued to elucidate lithospheric and mantle structure, in particular, at compressional plate boundaries and along major transform faults. Finally, Prof. Booker has been a strong supporter of the GPE section and of students and junior scientists throughout his career.

—Catherine Johnson, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada


I feel very honored to be receiving the William Gilbert Award. My work in geomagnetism and EM geophysics began as a first-year grad student when I worked with one of the pioneers in this field, Ted Madden, who was then on sabbatical at Scripps. I then spent nearly 5 years working on time variations of Earth’s main field with George Backus, one of the truly outstanding scientists in our field. However, after my Ph.D., I was waylaid into fluid mechanics and seismology, and it was more than a decade later that my research on thermal convection confined me to a room with no windows. Lawrie Law of the Pacific Geoscience Center suggested that I should get back into geomagnetic induction, get out in the woods, and offered to loan me equipment.

I then had the great good fortune to have two extraordinary graduate students: Gary Egbert and Torquil Smith. It is they who deserve the real credit for the advances outlined in the citation that have had a major impact on magnetotellurics. EMSLAB came to be as result of serving on an NSF panel where I realized that to make real progress we would need a major community effort to justify increased funding for fieldwork and equipment. Colleagues including Alan Jones and Phil Wanamaker were very much responsible for the success of EMSLAB. This led to further projects in Tibet, on San Andreas Fault, and in Argentina, which all sharply increased the visibility of our field. I am no longer heavily involved in the largest U.S. effort in MT as part of Earthscope, but I take great pride in how far MT has come in little more than two decades. Thank you for this honor.

—John R. Booker, University of Washington, Seattle