Randerson Receives 2017 Piers J. Sellers Global Environmental Change Mid-Career Award

James Randerson is the inaugural honoree of the Piers J. Sellers Global Environmental Change Mid-Career Award of the American Geophysical Union’s Global Environmental Change focus group. He will receive the award at the 2017 AGU Fall Meeting, to be held 11–15 December in New Orleans, La. The award recognizes a scientist or team of midcareer scientists “for outstanding contributions in research, educational, or societal impacts in the area of global environmental change, especially through interdisciplinary approaches.”


Jim Randerson is the perfect candidate for the Piers J. Sellers Global Environmental Change Mid-Career Award. Over the nearly 20 years between completing his Ph.D. at Stanford to his current position as Chancellor’s Professor of Earth System Science at UC Irvine, Jim’s professional ascent and scientific contributions have been nothing short of phenomenal, not unlike those of Piers in the period between completing his Ph.D. and entering the NASA astronaut program.

Jim’s research focuses on the interactions between the terrestrial biosphere and Earth’s climate system, investigating the effects of climate on ecosystems and also the feedbacks of terrestrial ecosystems on global and regional climate as mediated by processes such as disturbance, albedo, and carbon dioxide exchange. The breadth of his research ranges from fine-scale controls on wildfire in southern California, Alaska, and Brazil, to continental-scale patterns of wildfire emissions as radiative forcings on climate and energy budgets, to global models and syntheses of the Earth’s terrestrial carbon exchange.

He is prolific, influential, and broadly engaged in a range of interdisciplinary Earth system science research endeavors around the world. He has accomplished this through the excellence of his own research as well as an extensive set of collaborations with the very best scientists working to understand and quantify the changing biosphere. This is very much like Piers’s legacy in bringing together a broad team of top-notch scientists to rapidly advance interdisciplinary research of the Earth system in the 1980s and 1990s. Also like Piers, Jim has been a mentor to many students and early-career scientists who have gone on to excel in their own careers.

Having had the good fortune and pleasure to work with Piers, I am certain he would be pleased to have an award in his name being conferred upon Jim.