Scripps' Ralph Keeling, Michael Dettinger Elected as AGU Fellows


Two scientists from Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego, have been elected 2014 fellows of the American Geophysical Union (AGU). Geochemist Ralph Keeling and climate scientist Michael Dettinger are among 62 researchers who will be honored at AGU’s Fall Meeting in December.

Additionally, Scripps alumni Michael McPhaden, a student of oceanographer Myrl Hendershott and former Associate Director Bob Knox who received his Ph.D. in 1980, and Meinrat Andreae, a student of geochemist Ed Goldberg who received a doctorate in 1978, also were elected fellows.

In describing the fellowship, AGU states that “nominated fellows must have attained acknowledged eminence in the Earth and space sciences. Primary criteria for evaluation in scientific eminence are major breakthrough/discovery and paradigm shift. This designation is conferred upon not more than 0.1 percent of all AGU members in any given year. New fellows are chosen by a Committee of Fellows.”

Dettinger, who has a dual appointment with Scripps and with the U.S. Geological Survey, was cited by AGU “for insightful, societally relevant research in understanding how climate and weather affect the variability of hydrologic systems.”

A member of Scripps programs such as the Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes and California-Nevada Climate Applications Program, Dettinger works closely with municipal, state, and federal authorities on water management and other issues at the interface of hydrology and climate.

Born Jan. 22, 1955, in Milwaukee, Wis., Dettinger received a Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences from UCLA in 1997 and has master’s degrees in atmospheric sciences (1991 from UCLA) and civil engineering (1979 from Massachusetts Institute of Technology). He received a bachelor’s degree in physics from UC San Diego in 1977.

AGU cited Keeling “for observations and modeling studies that have advanced our understanding of the ocean and land carbon cycles and their anthropogenic perturbations.”

Ralph Keeling took over leadership of the Scripps CO2 Program from his father Charles David Keeling, who founded the iconic measurement of atmospheric CO2 that has come to be known as the “Keeling Curve.” Ralph Keeling also makes complementary measurements of atmospheric levels of oxygen and his research has advanced the understanding of the cycling of both gases through natural systems.

Born Jan. 2, 1957, in La Jolla, Calif., Keeling received a B.S. in physics, summa cum laude, from Yale University in 1979, and a Ph.D. in applied physics from Harvard University in 1988.

Former Scripps physical oceanographer Detlef Stammer, now at the University of Hamburg in Germany, was named an AGU International Fellow.

The new AGU fellows will be honored at the 2014 AGU Fall Meeting in San Francisco in December.

- Robert Monroe

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