No. 974 - WMO Honours Scientists for Outstanding Contributions

No. 974 - WMO Honours Scientists for Outstanding Contributions



4 June 2013
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Geneva, 4 June 2013 (WMO) - The World Meteorological Organization’s Executive Council has awarded its most prestigious prize to DrTillmann Mohr of Germany, and honoured several distinguished scientists for their outstanding work in meteorology, climatology, hydrology and related sciences.

Dr Mohr won the IMO Prize, the highest award, for his life-long contribution to meteorology, and especially his promotion of instrumental satellite meteorology for both research and operational work.

Dr Mohr’s involvement with satellite activities started in 1971 and continued for the rest of his career. He was President of the German Weather Service and Permanent Representative of Germany with WMO from 1992 until 1994. He was Director-General of EUMETSAT from 1994-2004.

During a long relationship with WMO dating back to 1970 he chaired a number of key committees. He has been serving as a special advisor to the WMO Secretary-General on space matters and until 2012 on the Global Framework for Climate Services. From 2005-2010 he was a member of the Joint Committee for International Polar Year. He is a member of the Space Advisory Group of the European Commission.

Dr Mohr led several ground-breaking initiatives in satellite meteorology and global earth observations, and promoted their use in developing countries. He was instrumental in the launch of the so-called PUMA programme – the first pan-African technology project to be funded by the European Union - to equip African National Meteorological and Hydrological Services with satellite receiving and processing facilities. PUMA and follow-on efforts are helping African weather services develop applications for water management and food security, thereby contributing to sustainable development.

For many years Dr Mohr worked successfully to turn contingency plans of the Coordination Group for Meteorological Satellites into concrete agreements under which one organization nation steps in to help another if a satellite fails.

Dr Mohr is the 58th IMO prize winter. The IMO prize originates from WMO's predecessor, the International Meteorological Organization.


Interview with Dr Mohr in WMO Bulletin January 2005

Norbert Gerbier-Mumm International Award

The Executive Council awarded the Norbert Gerbier-MUMM International Award for 2014 to a paper that examined response of the climate to increased carbon dioxide and solar activity. The paper by DrsLong Cao, GovindasamyBala, and Ken Caldeira, “Climate response to changes to atmospheric carbon dioxide and solar irradiance on the time scale of days to weeks” was published in Environmental Research Letters in 2012, Volume 7.

Dr Cao is with the Department of Earth Sciences from the ZheJiang University in China, Dr Bala is with Divecha Center for Climate Change and Center for Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences in Bangalore, India and DrCaldeira is with the Department of Global Ecology from the Carnegie Institution in the USA.

The authors of this study investigated the climate response on the time scale of days to weeks to a quadrupling of atmospheric CO2. Their simulations show that signi?cant climate effects occur within days of a stepwise increase in both atmospheric CO2 content and solar irradiance. Over the ocean, increased atmospheric CO2 warms the lower troposphere more than the surface, increasing atmospheric stability, moistening the boundary layer, and suppressing evaporation and precipitation. In contrast, over the ocean, increased solar irradiance warms the lower troposphere to a much lesser extent, causing a much smaller change in evaporation and precipitation. Over land, both increased CO2 and increased solar irradiance cause rapid surface warming that tends to increase both evaporation and precipitation. However, the physiological effect of increased atmospheric CO2 on plant stomata reduces plant transpiration, drying the boundary layer and decreasing precipitation. This effect does not occur with increased solar irradiance. Therefore, differences in climatic effects from CO2 versus solar forcing are manifested within days after the forcing is imposed.

The  Norbert-Gerbier – Mumm International Award  rewards an original scientific paper on the influence of meteorology on the physical, natural or human sciences, or conversely, to stimulate research on the influence of these sciences upon meteorology, thereby contributing to WMO Programmes and activities.  The award is named after Norbert Gerbier, who was president of the WMO Commission for Agricultural Meteorology from 1979 to 1985.


Research Award for Young Scientists

Executive Council conferred the 2013 WMO Research Award for Young Scientists upon FlavioLehner (Switzerland) for the paper entitled “The freshwater balance of polar regions in transient simulations from 1500 to 2100 AD using a comprehensive coupled climate model”, published in 2012 in the journal Climate Dynamics.


The Executive Council held its annual session from 15 to 23 May 2013.


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