Thank you Manabe


October 20, 2021

Syukuro Manabe or Shukurō Manabe (Japanese: 真 鍋 淑 郎; Shingū, September 21, 1931) is a naturalized American Japanese climatologist and physicist known for his pioneering studies on the use of computers for climate simulations. In 2021 he received the Nobel Prize in Physics (together with Klaus Hasselmann and separately from Giorgio Parisi) "for the physical modeling of the Earth's climate, quantifying variability and reliably predicting global warming." In particular, it was the first assignment of this prize for topics related to climatology, and geophysics in general.


Born in 1931, Manabe earned his Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo in 1958 and then moved to the United States to work in the General Circulation Research Section of the United States Meteorological Office, which later became the laboratory of NOAA geophysical fluid dynamics, continuing until 1997. From 1997 to 2001 he worked at the Frontier Research System for Global Change in Japan as director of the global warming research division. In 2002, he returned to the United States as a guest research fellow at the Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science at Princeton University. He currently holds the position of senior meteorologist at that university.

Scientific results

Working at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, first in Washington and later in Princeton, Manabe worked, together with Joseph Smagorinsky, in the development of three-dimensional models of the atmosphere. As a first step, Manabe and Richard Wetherald in 1967 developed a one-dimensional, single-column model of the atmosphere in radiative-convective equilibrium, taking into account the positive feedback effects of water vapor. Using the model, they found that, in response to changes in the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, there is an increase in temperature on the Earth's surface and in the troposphere, and a decrease in the stratosphere. The development of the radiative-convective model was a step of fundamental importance towards the development of a complete model of general circulation of the atmosphere. They used this three-dimensional model to simulate for the first time the response of temperature and the hydrological cycle to rising carbon dioxide. In 1969 Manabe and Kirk Bryan published the first climate simulations with coupled ocean-atmosphere models, in which the general circulation model of the atmosphere is combined with that of the ocean. During the 1990s and early 2000s, Manabe's research team used coupled atmosphere-ocean models to study the climate response over time to changes in the concentration of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. They also applied the model to the study of past climate changes, for example the role of the introduction of a large mass of fresh water into the North Atlantic Ocean as a cause of the so-called observed climate change (the so-called recent Dryas) in the paleoclimate record. He was also one of the authors of the first and third IPCC reports on climate change.

Awards and acknowledgments

Syukuro Manabe has been awarded numerous awards over time, such as the Rossby Medal of the American Meteorogical Society, the Bowie Medal of the American Geophysical Union, the Milutin Milenkovic Medal of the European Geophysical Society in 1998, the Crafoord Prize in 2018 and, above all , the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2021. Syukuro Manabe is a member of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States and a foreign member of the Academy of Japan, the Academia Europaea and the Royal Society of Canada.


Other projects

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