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Bert R.J. Bolin

Bert R.J. Bolin
Bert R.J. Bolin

The 1993 Milutin Milankovic Medal is awarded to Bert R.J. Bolin in recognition of his overall contribution to climate research and his leading role in world climate initiatives.

Bert Bolin was born in Sweden in 1925. He received his education at Uppsala and Stockholm Universities finishing with the degree Fil.Dr. 1956. His first publication (with R. Berggren and C.-G. Rossby) contained a synoptic investigation of the development of a blocking situation but his interest soon turned to the field of dynamic meteorology and numerical weather prediction. He studied under Jule G. Charney, at the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, New Jersey, USA, and published an important paper on the influence of orography in a westerly current. After his return from the USA he worked at the International Institute of Meteorology in Stockholm under Dr. Rossby. During the following years he was one of the leaders of the Numerical Weather Prediction Project, which Rossby had created. During this period (1951-56) he published many papers on numerical models of barotropic or baroclinic atmospheres. These papers were partly a theoretical formulation of models and partly an extensive testing of the various models on actual situations. At the same time, he was interested in the problem of geostrophic adjustment and he expanded the theory to the adjustment of geostrophy in baroclinic atmospheres. It should be mentioned that he also formulated the so-called balance equation, from which the non-divergent wind can be computed. He tested the differences between the balanced and the quasi-geostrophic models in actual situations. The research described above formed the content of his doctoral dissertation.

After Rossby’s death in 1957, he became the Director of the International Institute in Stockholm and a little later a Professor at the University of Stockholm. While he has travelled widely, he has maintained the University of Stockholm as the home base. His research interests changed radically over the years and he gradually became one of the world experts on atmospheric chemistry and the interplay between the atmosphere and the biosphere. A long sequence of papers on these aspects of the atmosphere and the climate system followed. During the 1960’s, he became involved in the international aspects of atmospheric sciences. He was one of the founders of the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP) and the Chairman of the Joint

Organizing Committee for this program for many years. The major result of this program was the Global Weather Experiment, with all its sub-programs, carried out in 1978-79. He has also been an active participant in the World Climate Program which is still continuing. His latest accomplishment has been the production of the scientific part of the Climate Change Report, the so-called IPCC-Report, where he chaired the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

In 1991, he reached the retirement age for professors in Sweden but he continues to make important contributions as the ScientiTic Adviser to the Swedish Prime Minister. He has, for many years, been a member of the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences and he has received several honours from international and national bodies. He is the recipient of the International Meteorological Organization Medal, of the Rossby Medal given by the American Meteorological Society as its highest honour, the Tyler Prize from the University of Southern California for his environmental work, Che Celsius Medal from the Royal Society of Sciences in Sweden, the Rossby Prize from the Swedish Geophysical Society and other honours. He has also been invited to deliver the World Meteorological Organization’s Special Lecture.

Newsletter 51, 27, 1994