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Susan Solomon, a senior scientist at NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory in Boulder, Colo., has been selected as the 2007 William Bowie Medalist of the American Geophysical Union. The AGU is a professional society of over 45,000 scientists worldwide. The award will be presented at the society’s fall meeting in San Francisco in December.
The William Bowie Medal is the AGU’s top honor. Bowie medalists are recognized for “outstanding contributions to fundamental geophysics and for unselfish cooperation in research,” according to the AGU award letter sent to Solomon.
From 2002 to 2007 Solomon served as co-chair of Working Group I of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which has been the leading source of authoritative scientific assessments on climate change since its inception in 1990. The fourth scientific assessment, released last February, communicated to the world the scientific consensus that climate change is real and humans are its primary cause. The report garnered unprecedented global attention.
Earlier in her career, Solomon was the leading scientist in identifying the cause of the Antarctic ozone hole, an unexpected geophysical phenomenon that began in the early 1980s. Solomon and her colleagues suggested that chemical reactions involving human-produced chlorine interacting with icy clouds in the cold polar stratosphere could be responsible for the unprecedented losses of ozone during the Antarctic springtime. She led two U.S. scientific expeditions to Antarctica in 1986 and 1987 that provided key observations showing that this theory was correct. The findings ultimately led to an international agreement to ban the chemicals responsible for ozone loss.
In addition to many scientific accomplishments, Solomon’s career has been characterized by her tireless efforts to communicate science to educators, the public, and decision makers; to foster the next generation of atmospheric scientists; and to advance women in science.
The Bowie Medal is the latest in a string of prestigious awards bestowed on Solomon. In March 2000, she received the National Medal of Science, the United States' highest scientific honor. In 2004, she was awarded the Blue Planet Prize, and last year she was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Solomon was elected to the U.S. National Academy of Sciences in 1992. She is a foreign associate of the French and European academies of science.
Solomon has worked at NOAA since earning her doctorate in chemistry at the University of California at Berkeley. The federal agency recently named her one of its top 10 “history makers” of the past two centuries. The honor recognizes staff members for exerting the most far-reaching and compelling influence on NOAA and society as a whole.
The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, an agency of the U.S. Commerce Department, is celebrating 200 years of science and service to the nation. From the establishment of the Survey of the Coast in 1807 by Thomas Jefferson to the formation of the Weather Bureau and the Commission of Fish and Fisheries in the 1870s, much of America's scientific heritage is rooted in NOAA.
NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and information service delivery for transportation, and by providing environmental stewardship of our nation's coastal and marine resources. Through the emerging Global Earth Observation System of Systems (GEOSS), NOAA is working with its federal partners, more than 70 countries and the European Commission to develop a global monitoring network that is as integrated as the planet it observes, predicts and protects.
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