The New York Times has called him "a scientist on the frontier of climate research and an expert par excellence on El Niño." In 1984, he and a colleague devised the first numerical model able to simulate an El Niño event, a turning point in the science of the climatologically important phenomenon.
Mark Cane of Columbia University has been selected to receive the 2003 Robert L. and Bettie P. Cody Award in Ocean Sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego.
Cane will present a public lecture at 1 p.m. on Tuesday, May 20, in Sumner Auditorium on the campus of Scripps Institution, 8602 La Jolla Shores Drive in La Jolla (Sumner Auditorium is one-half block south of Naga Way). His lecture, "Predicting El Niño," is free and open to the public. Cane's presentation will include a discussion of the development of ocean-atmosphere prediction systems, recent advances in forecasting El Niño events, and future limits to improving prediction capabilities.
The Cody Award, which consists of a gold medal and a $10,000 prize, recognizes outstanding scientific achievement in oceanography, marine biology, and earth science. It was established by an endowment from the late Robert and Bettie Cody, and a substantial contribution from Capital Research & Management Company, in recognition of Mr. Cody's service to the Los Angeles-based firm.
A native of Brooklyn, N.Y., Cane has written nearly 200 papers on a broad range of topics in oceanography and climatology. He is the G. Unger Vetlesen Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences at Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, a research division of Columbia University in New York City.
Following the success of his 1984 groundbreaking El Niño numerical model, Cane and colleague Stephen Zebiak extended the model in 1985 to make the first physically based forecasts of El Niño. Over the years the "Zebiak-Cane model," as it is now known, has been the primary tool used by many researchers to enhance science's understanding of El Niño events.
Cane also has worked extensively on the impact of El Niño on human activity, especially agriculture. A 1994 paper he authored showing the strong effect that El Niño has on the maize crop in Zimbabwe has been influential in prompting decision-makers to factor climate variability into their deliberations.
Cane received bachelor's (1965) and master's (1966) degrees from Harvard University, and a doctorate degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1976).
He has served on numerous international and national committees. In 1992 Cane received the Sverdrup Gold Medal of the American Meteorological Society (a prize named after the renowned Scripps director Harald Ulrik Sverdrup). Cane is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.