Dennis L. Hartmann, professor of atmospheric sciences at the University of Washington, is the 2013 recipient of the prestigious Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal—meteorology’s highest honor. Dr. Hartmann is receiving this distinctive award for his significant contributions to the synthesis of knowledge of radiative and dynamical processes leading to a deeper understanding of the climate system.
The Front Page spoke with Dr. Hartmann to learn about his research and how it has evolved and become more interdisciplinary as climate change has grown increasingly important. He explained that he now focuses more on trying to understand Earth’s climate system, blending the traditional disciplines in the atmospheric sciences—radiation, dynamics, and cloud physics and chemistry—because, he said, “they are so interconnected on the long time scales associated with climate change.” With advances in technology, Dr. Hartmann utilized more and better remote sensing data from satellites to make improvements in modeling Earth’s climate—in particular, the approximate interactions between clouds and the global circulation.
“The one thing that I’ve tried to do is to look for simple, fundamental explanations for how things work and that gives us more confidence in the rather complex simulations that we do with global models.”
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