The Nobel Prize for physics goes to climate scientists


Computer modeling of behavioral systems that directly and indirectly informed the world on the complex science and a demonstration of similar changes in metal mixes together won the Nobel Prize for physics in 2021.


Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselmann and Giorgio Parisi were announced as the winners at an event in Stockholm.


With predicting long-term behaviour of complex systems such as climate extremely difficult, it is crucial to have computer models that can show how the climate can be impacted by such phenomena as greenhouse gas emissions and further our understanding of this global crisis.


It is a sharp, directional commitment on the part of the Nobel Committee with the crucial COP26 just around the corner and very heartening to the greens because it will be crucial evidence that bolsters the findings of the IPCC’s WG1 and acts as a base level proof of their more direct claims.


The 90 year old Syukuro Manabe, senior meteorologist at Princeton demonstrated first back in the 1960s that increased levels of carbon dioxide could increase tempratures and his findings eventually led to the development of climate models while Kalus Hasselmann, the 89 year old from the Max Planck Institute of Meteorology created the computer model that linked weather and climate and importantly, proved why such modelling can be reliable despite the chaotic and changeable nature of weather. The work of Professor Parisi from the University of Rome is a bit off beat but his demonstration of how the magnetic properties of spin glass which has a grid of copper atoms that was significantly and puzzlingly altered by the addition of a few atoms of iron proved to the Nobel committee in a microcosm the behaviour of earth’s climate. Parisi, 73, found that there were hidden rules that influence seemingly random behaviour of solid metals and also found a way to describe them mathematically.

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