Pioneering Scripps Earth Scientist Awarded by the European Geosciences Union

Meinrat Andreae to receive Alfred Wegener Medal & Honorary Membership for groundbreaking research in geosciences

Meinrat “Andi” Andreae, a geoscientist at Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego, has been selected to receive the 2018 Alfred Wegener Medal & Honorary Membership of the European Geosciences Union (EGU). 

The Alfred Wegener Medal & Honorary Membership of the EGU are prestigious honors awarded annually to scientists who have achieved exceptional scientific achievements and international standing in atmospheric, hydrological, or ocean sciences.

Andreae is being recognized by the EGU for his “pioneering research, ground-breaking work and outstanding achievements in the atmospheric, biogeochemical, climate, and Earth system sciences.” He will receive the medal and be honored at the EGU 2018 General Assembly, which will take place in Vienna, Austria from April 8-13.

The medal is named after Alfred Wegener (1880-1930), a German polar researcher, geophysicist, and meteorologist best remembered as the originator of the theory of continental drift, which he hypothesized in 1912.

“I feel very honored and grateful for receiving Europe’s most prestigious award in my field, especially since Alfred Wegener is one of my heroes as an explorer scientist,” said Andreae, a Scripps research associate. “It’s also great that it gives recognition to work in biogeochemistry, which is still one of the youngest disciplines in the earth sciences.”

Andreae, a German native, is an alumnus of Scripps Oceanography, having received his PhD in oceanography in 1978. He is also director emeritus of the Max Planck Institute for Chemistry in Mainz, Germany, where he has worked for the past three decades.

Among Andreae’s major scientific discoveries and research themes are the close coupling of the atmospheric and the marine sulfur cycle and its role in climate, the global importance of gas and aerosol emissions from biomass burning and vegetation fires, and the unravelling of aerosol effects on clouds, precipitation, and climate – especially over tropical rainforests and oceans.

In particular, Andreae has pioneered and greatly advanced the investigation and characterization of near-pristine atmospheric conditions at remote locations, which can be taken as a proxy for pre-industrial conditions and are crucial for understanding the influence of human-influenced pollution on climate and global environmental change. He has worked in six continents to conduct scientific research.

The EGU recognized Andreae “for his exceptional ability to grasp the big picture, to identify key scientific questions, and to propose and implement viable pathways to answer them.” They also applauded “his approach and deep scientific understanding of the Earth system” and “leading roles in many successful international geoscientific projects, programs, assessment studies, and long-term collaborations between scientists around the world.”

A prolific author, Andreae has published more than 500 scientific research papers and his work has been cited nearly 39,000 times.

About Scripps Oceanography

Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California San Diego is one of the world’s most important centers for global earth science research and education. In its second century of discovery, Scripps scientists work to understand and protect the planet, and investigate our oceans, Earth, and atmosphere to find solutions to our greatest environmental challenges. Scripps offers unparalleled education and training for the next generation of scientific and environmental leaders through its undergraduate, master’s and doctoral programs. The institution also operates a fleet of four oceanographic research vessels, and is home to Birch Aquarium at Scripps, the public exploration center that welcomes 500,000 visitors each year.

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