Scaife Receives 2016 Atmospheric Sciences Ascent Award

Adam Scaife 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 Adam Scaife

For his insightful studies in the coupling of diverse components of the climate system, and in improving climate predictions from monthly to decadal scales

Adam’s research cut across many areas including ocean-atmosphere coupling, stratosphere-troposphere interaction, long-range prediction, solar-atmosphere effects, and climate impacts. His publication record is impressive. Since getting his Ph.D. in 1998, he has published over 100 peer-reviewed papers, with many in highly impactful journals such as Nature, Nature Climate Change, Nature Geosciences, Nature Communications, Geophysical Research Letters, and Quarterly Journal of the Royal Meteorological Society, with more than 10 papers already cited over 100 times.

Adam is well recognized for his research achievements and scientific leadership. He has headed the UK Met Office of Monthly to Decadal Prediction since 2008, and served as principal investigator for several major national and international climate research projects since 2012. He has also led many international programs including, among others, co-chairing the World Meteorological Organization’s international Working Group on Seasonal to Interannual Prediction, and is currently co-chairing the World Climate Research Programme Grand Challenge on Near Term Prediction. Besides research, Adam has an outstanding record in the public communication of science, ranging from lectures to the public and learned societies, to numerous television and radio interviews, and writing popular science books.

Adam’s research talents are best summarized by a statement in his nominating letter: “His work combines a deep scientific insight, a strong background in dynamical climatology, a strong practical outlook and excellent leadership skills—a highly effective combination.

On behalf of the AGU Atmospheric Sciences section, I am pleased to present a 2016 ASCENT Award to Prof. Adam Scaife

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


Thank you so much for this kind citation. It is a great honor to receive the AGU ASCENT Award and the acknowledgement that this implies, and I am truly delighted. Thank you also to the prominent scientists that made and supported my nomination—I am extremely grateful for the time they put aside from their busy schedules.

I am indebted to the Met Office in the UK for giving me the chance to pursue a career in atmospheric science, which I think it’s fair to say is one of the most vibrant areas of terrestrial physics. There is also a whole series of key influential people I would like to thank. Ian James, my Ph.D. supervisor and my colleague Neal Butchart taught me the importance of simplifying apparently complex problems down to their dynamical bare bones, and how careful and concise scientific description feeds back on our understanding to aid progress. Of course there are also the seminal giants of our field like Michael McIntyre who provide a strong background source of inspiration. Just listening to them give talks, or being party to their conversations at meetings sent an enormous cascade of key knowledge my way.

I must also give my deep thanks to Chris Folland, who pulled me out of a pack of keen young scientists and first gave me the opportunity to guide and steer my own research group. I thrived on his enthusiasm, knowledge, and simple straightforward encouragement to think boldly about our research. Similarly, Chris Gordon and Julia Slingo had the vision to see the potential for improving climate models and delivering climate predictions from months to years ahead. They gave me the opportunity and resource to lead this initiative in the Met Office Hadley Centre which was an opportunity that I eagerly took and has since proved successful. Finally, I am indebted to the members of my research group; they make it a pleasure to arrive at work each day and I feel truly privileged to work with such a driven, genuine, and hardworking bunch of down-to-Earth people.

I therefore accept this award with deep gratitude to all of the colleagues I have worked with over the years. As well as the excitement and joy of scientific discovery, it is the great fun I’ve had with the many inspiring and interesting characters over the years that I am particularly grateful for.

—Adam Scaife, Hadley Centre, Met Office, Exeter, U.K.