Researchers at CU-Boulder's Snow and Ice Data Center Share in 2007 Nobel Peace Prize Recognition of IPCC

October 12, 2007

A research associate of the National Snow and Ice Data Center at the University of Colorado at Boulder was a co-author in the groundbreaking international report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which was named today to receive the Nobel Peace Prize along with former Vice President Al Gore.

Tingjun Zhang, an NSIDC research associate, was the lead author for a chapter of the Working Group I portion of the IPCC report titled "Observations: Changes in Snow, Ice and Frozen Ground." The full Working Group I report is titled "Climate Changes 2007: The Physical Science Basis."

Zhang worked in association with co-authors from around the world on the groundbreaking report, which was issued last February in Paris. The report was issued in three sections over the last several months.

Susan Solomon, a world-renowned Boulder NOAA researcher who was co-chairwoman on the IPCC study, is a CIRES fellow at CU-Boulder and also a professor adjoint in the department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences. CIRES is the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, a cooperative effort of CU-Boulder and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The 'Summary for Policymakers' introduction to the IPCC report "may be the best synopsis of global climate change ever written, and one of the most thoroughly researched and carefully documented scientific publications ever as well," said Ted Scambos, lead scientist for NSIDC. "This report has had the biggest impact of any report of its kind because it draws on six years worth of data that has been closely studied and analyzed," he said.

The first phase of the IPCC report, which includes the chapter on snow, ice and frozen ground that Zhang led, provides a strong scientific basis for detection of global climate change, Scambos said. The second portion covers future regional impacts and vulnerabilities of global climate change. A third section addresses how to moderate the impacts of global climate change.

In addition to Zhang, NSIDC researchers Bruce Raup, James McCreight, Mark Serreze, Richard Armstrong, Walt Meier, Oliver Frauenfeld and Roger Barry also contributed to portions of the report. NSIDC Research Associate Andrew Slater was a contributing author to chapter 8, titled "Climate Models and Their Evaluation," of the IPCC Report.

"The participation of several University of Colorado research faculty from our National Snow and Ice Data Center is a tribute to the visionary work of all of CU-Boulder's climatologists and climate researchers," said Stein Sture, vice chancellor for research and dean of the graduate school at CU-Boulder. "Our faculty are at the forefront of the research effort in global warming, and their work is informing the message of public policy leaders like former Vice President Gore, who are sounding the alarm on global climate change."

Zhang's areas of expertise include permafrost and seasonally frozen ground; remote sensing of near-surface soil freeze/thaw cycle; snow cover and soil thermal dynamics. He has worked at NSIDC for 10 years.

The IPCC was established by the United Nations Environmental Programme, or UNEP, and the World Meteorological Organization, or WMO, in 1988 to assess the scientific, technical and socioeconomic information relevant for the understanding of human-induced climate change, its potential impacts and options for mitigation and adaptation.

The IPCC has completed three full assessment reports, guidelines and methodologies, special reports and technical papers. For more information on the IPCC, visit the IPCC home page at http://www.ipcc.ch/.

For more information on the National Snow and Ice Data Center at CU-Boulder go to nsidc.org.

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