Ask NASA Climate | October 31, 2011, 17:00 PDT

Walking the walk, talking the talk

NASA climate scientist honored for communication

Dr. Gavin Schmidt, a climatologist based at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York City, has received the inaugural Climate Communications Prize from the American Geophysical Union, the largest association of Earth and planetary scientists in the world. The $25,000 prize will be awarded at the group’s Fall Meeting in San Francisco this December.

Despite the rancor that often surrounds public discussions of climate change science, Schmidt has become one of NASA’s most valued and relentless scientific communicators. He is regularly quoted by leading newspaper and magazine journalists, frequently offers his time and expertise at public events, and has appeared on numerous television programs. In his spare time, he writes for the widely read blog RealClimate and has published a popular book about climate change.

"The value of science is only fully realized when it has been effectively communicated," said NASA Chief Scientist Waleed Abdalati, an Earth scientist who specializes in studying the frozen regions of the planet. "For years, Gavin has been committed to communicating facts about an area of science that is of enormous societal importance. In an environment that is often laden with inaccurate and hyperbolic claims, Gavin has been a clear, consistent, and honest voice."

Schmidt’s research centers on understanding what drives variability in the climate system. He often uses large-scale models of the atmosphere and ocean to simulate past and future climate conditions.