The 2011 Milutin Milankovic Medal is awarded to Andrey Ganopolski for his pioneering contributions to the development of Earth system models of intermediate complexity and to the understanding of the role of climate system feedbacks and the link between Milankovich forcing and global glaciation.
Andrey Ganopolski was instrumental in developing the concept of a new class of modelling tools, now widely known as Earth system models of intermediate complexity (EMICs). He proposed the development of the CLIMBER model family (CLIMate-BiosphERe models) and was the principal designer of the model CLIMBER-2. The CLIMBER model is used in a number research groups in many countries worldwide.
Using the CLIMBER model, Andrey Ganopolski together with his collaborators performed many pioneering studies, such as the first simulations of the Last Glacial Maximum climate with a coupled climate system model, the first simulation of mid-Holocene climate. In a series of papers Andrey Ganopolski was lead author in developing a theory of abrupt glacial climate changes (Dansgaard-Oeschger and Heinrich events) that is now widely recognized. Andrey Ganopolski also known for his seminal work in constraining the climate sensitivity with paleoclimatic data, using a large ensemble of glacial climate simulations, and his modelling of the long-term Atlantic thermohaline response to anthropogenic climate change.
Furthermore, Andrey Ganopolski provided an important contributions to understanding Milankovich cycles. This includes a conceptual model that is able to explain the link between Milankovich forcing and global glaciations, an explanation of the lag of CO2 behind Antarctic temperature during glacial cycles, the mechanism of the glacial CO2 drawdown and the first coupled climate-ice sheet model simulation of the past glacial cycle, and the past eight glacial cycles.
In summary, Andrey Ganopolski has made pioneering contributions both to climate system model development and to the understanding of the climate system. Thanks to his work we know more about the role of different climate feedbacks in past and future climate change, the non-linear aspects of the Earth system, the stability properties of the Atlantic thermohaline circulation and the mechanisms of abrupt glacial climate changes and of the glacial cycles.