Climate Science Community Loses Giant in Jerry Mahlman
I was deeply saddened when I learned today of Jerry Mahlman’s passing on November 28th in Buffalo Grove, Ill. Jerry was a friend, a mentor and a true giant in the climate science community. Among his many awards, Jerry received the U.S. Department of Commerce Gold Medal, the Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal from the American Meteorological Society and the Presidential Distinguished Rank Award — the highest honor awarded to a federal employee.
Jerry worked at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory here in Princeton from 1970 to 2000, and served as GFDL’s Director from 1984-2000. He was also a Professor of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences at Princeton. His research focused on modeling how our atmosphere responds to the buildup of greenhouse gases.
For me, Jerry represents everything that is good about science. As he came to understand the grim significance of climate change and what it would mean for future generations, he saw no choice but to speak out. He was one of our first, and one of our best, climate science communicators. His voice will be greatly missed.
My colleagues at NOAA’s Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory tell me that there are plans for a formal obituary notice in science news journals and a possible AMS/AGU symposia. Details to come.