Congratulations to Michael Mann

Michael Mann is one of the key climate scientists of the day. History will crown Mann as one of the great heroes who defended the freedom to do science rationally despite constant attacks from mean spirited and ignorant, self interested, politically motivated, oil-money-soaked climate science denialists. You know of Michael Mann as the coiner of the term “hockey stick” to refer to the alarming uptick in temperature and related measures connected to the human caused release of copious quantities of fossil Carbon into the Earth’s atmosphere, causing one of the greatest disasters this planet has seen in tens of thousands of years.

If you want to know more about Mann’s work and the complex and difficult world of being a sincere climate science in an age when such science if often found inconvenient by the powers that be, have a look at his book: The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines.

Michael Mann, together with his colleague, Long-Qing Chen, was awarded the status of Distinguished Professor in Penn State’s college of Earth and Mineral Sciences:

Chen and Mann were recommended to EMS Dean William Easterling by a selection committee consisting of highly regarded faculty from across the college that screened faculty candidates nominated by faculty, staff and students of the college.

Chen, professor of materials science and engineering, has earned world-wide recognition and acclaim for his leadership in computational materials science. He is attributed with pioneering the development of phase-field models to explain grain growth, domain evolution, interactions between defect and phase microstructures, and strain-dominated microstructure evolution in cutting-edge elastically inhomogeneous systems.
Mann, professor of meteorology and director of the Earth Systems Science Center, is an acknowledged leader in the climate change community. He has achieved research breakthroughs in the area of climate change science, especially the reconstruction of global temperatures over the past 1,000 years. His work has garnered national and international recognition, including his most recent election, by his peers, as a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society; as well as the 2012 Hans Oeschger Medal and Fellow of the American Geophysical Union.

“These are both outstanding and highly accomplished members of the College of Earth and Mineral Sciences faculty,” said Bill Easterling, dean. “I am delighted that we are able to honor them both with the distinguished professor designation.”

According to Penn State Policy HR10, the number of distinguished professors in each college may not exceed 10 percent of the number of faculty members who hold standing academic appointments at the rank of full professor. With the recent retirement of Digby Macdonald, distinguished professor of materials science and engineering, and the awarding of an Evan Pugh Professorship to James Kasting, professor of geosciences, the college had two prospective appointments available this year.

Again, congratulations Michael.

Comments

  1. #1 dave s
    January 25, 2013

    Great news, and congratulations to Michael Mann!

    A couple of points: he wasn’t the coiner of the term “hockey stick”, that was the climatologist Jerry Mahlman discussing a graph from the 1999 paper of which Mann was lead author, and it refers more to the long low handle of proxy averages than to the known uptick of thermometer measurements which was shown in context by that handle.
    The context that carbon dioxide was causing global warming had already been established to the extent that the Kyoto Protocol had been agreed. The ‘hockey stick’ gave a simple graphical demonstration that this recent measured warming was exceptional, showing a correlation rather than cause. What tends to be forgotten is that Mann was investigating long term climate cycles, and has made a significant contribution to that field.

    It also seems rather premature to say that carbon in the atmosphere is “causing one of the greatest disasters this planet has seen in tens of thousands of years”, given that we’ve only had about a decade so far of effects emerging from natural variability and in theory the trend could be halted.
    In practice, that looks unlikely, due in no small part to the denial of science exemplified by the attacks on Mann’s work.
    Mann’s fightback against the deniers is well covered in his book “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars” which is an excellent read.

  2. #2 Greg Laden
    January 25, 2013

    Thanks for the correction on the origin of the term, you may be correct.

    But, I’m not sure why you think the effects of climate change are limited to the last decade, and I’m pretty sure we are talking about a disaster. Hurricane Sandy was not a pleasant summer storm, and that was just one item.

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