The 2020 Lewis Fry Richardson Medal is awarded to Valerio Lucarini for his outstanding contributions to the fields of extreme value theory and climate science in general, with particular applications to climate modelling and prediction.
The award of the Lewis Fry Richardson Medal to Valerio Lucarini recognises his systematic, original contributions to improving the understanding and methodology of climate forecasting and to exploring and evaluating the potential and limitations of various statistical mechanical and dynamical systems approaches to studying climate change.
Lucarini has made significant contributions to nonlinear geophysics – e.g., in applying nonlinear dynamical systems methodologies to a broad range of problems from atmospheric blocking and climate change to palaeoclimate. He studies the climate system from the point of view of basic physics while relying on the most advanced mathematics, combining the principles of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics with the tools of dynamical systems theory. This striking combination has led to original and penetrating insights and in applying extreme value theory to weather and climate modelling techniques. It has indeed been a significant achievement to advance our understanding of both the physics of the atmosphere or the oceans, and of the new mathematics of smooth dynamics that can apply to these systems.
Lucarini has been able to fundamentally broaden the understanding of the global stability of the climate system by constructing edge states and studying their properties. He takes advantage of sophisticated mathematical ideas and concepts, adapts and improves them in creative ways, and uses them in order to address fundamental problems in the physical and geophysical sciences.
Finally, Lucarini is also extremely active in the dissemination of these tools and concepts by organising workshops and summer schools around the world. He devotes enormous skill and energy in supporting international collaborations in the nonlinear geosciences.