Global warming and climate change: 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics announced

    06 Oct 2021

    Three laureates received this year’s Nobel Prize in Physics “for groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of complex systems”.

    These are Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi, according to the award’s website.

    The winners were announced on October 5 during a conference in Stockholm.

    Syukuro Manabe of Princeton University in the United States and Klaus Hasselman of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology in Hamburg, Germany received the award for “Physical Modeling of the Earth’s Climate, Quantitative Assessment of Variability, and Reliable Global Warming Forecasting.”

     Giorgio Parisi of the University of Rome was awarded for discovering the interaction of disorder and oscillations in physical systems from the atomic to the planetary scale.

    “The findings recognized this year demonstrate that our knowledge of climate is based on a solid scientific foundation based on careful analysis of observations.

    This year’s winners helped us to better understand the properties and evolution of complex physical systems, “said Thors Hans Hansson, chairman of the Nobel Committee on Physics.

    Syukuro Manabe and Klaus Hasselman laid the foundation for knowledge of the Earth’s climate and how humanity affects it, according to the website of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.

    Syukuro Manabe demonstrated how an increase in the level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere leads to an increase in temperature on the Earth’s surface.

    In the 1960s, he led the development of physical models of the Earth’s climate and was the first person to study the interaction between radiation balance and vertical transport of air masses.

    His work laid the foundation for the development of modern climate models.

    About ten years later, Klaus Hasselmann created a model that links weather and climate, thus answering the question of why climate models can be reliable despite the changing and chaotic weather.

    His methods have been used to prove that elevated atmospheric temperatures are associated with human emissions of carbon dioxide.

    Giorgio Parisi was awarded for his revolutionary contribution to the theory of disordered materials and random processes.

    In the 80’s Giorgio Parisi discovered hidden patterns in intricate disordered materials. His discovery is one of the most important contributions to the theory of complex systems.

    Complex systems are characterized by randomness and disorder, and are difficult to understand. This year’s award recognizes new methods of describing them and predicting their long-term behavior.

    One of the complex systems that is extremely important to humanity is the Earth’s climate.

    The discovery makes it possible to understand and describe many different and, perhaps, completely random materials and phenomena not only in physics, but also in other fields, such as mathematics, biology and neuroscience.

    It will be recalled that last year three laureates also received the Nobel Prize in Physics for discoveries related to the same exotic phenomenon in the universe – a black hole.

    Roger Penrose showed that the general theory of relativity leads to the formation of black holes.

    Reinhard Hansel and Andrea Gez have discovered that an invisible and extremely heavy object affects the orbits of stars in the center of our galaxy. A supermassive black hole is the only known explanation.

    On October 4, the Nobel Committee announced the winners of the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. The award went to David Julius and Ardem Pataputian “for discovering temperature and touch receptors”.

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