The 2013 Vilhelm Bjerknes Medal is awarded to John Burrows in recognition of his outstanding scientific contributions and leadership in atmospheric photochemistry, spectroscopy and kinetics, and in satellite remote sensing and in situ measurement of atmospheric composition.
John Burrows is a scientist of considerable ability and international renown who has made major contributions to atmospheric science in photochemistry, spectroscopy and kinetics, and through satellite remote sensing and field measurements of atmospheric composition, for more than three decades.
John Burrows has built and led an outstanding team in the Institute of Remote Sensing/Environmental Physics at the University of Bremen in Germany. He motivated and mentored a generation of European scientists in his field whilst continuing to make distinguished personal contributions both to our knowledge of fundamental atmospheric chemistry and to the implementation and application of space-based measurement of atmospheric composition. His contributions to the latter have covered all stages of the process, from initial proposals and designs though garnering support to retrieval of information on species and interpretation of the data to provide insights into key tropospheric and stratospheric processes. Most noteworthy perhaps was his pioneering work on the Global Ozone Monitoring Experiment (GOME) on ESA’s Remote Sensing (ERS-2) satellite, an instrument that has provided invaluable information on many atmospheric constituents in addition to ozone, and whose GOME-2 successor now flies on Europe’s first operational polar-orbiting meteorological satellite system. John Burrows also proposed the development of the SCIAMACHY (Scanning Imaging Absorption Spectrometer for Atmospheric Chartography) instrument on ESA’s subsequent Envisat mission, which provided data for some ten years until April 2012. He remains a passionate and informed advocate for new and ingenious instruments for atmospheric measurement.
In addition to successful international collaborations, John Burrows has been an active and passionate member of many international societies, groups and committees. This includes lengthy spells of service on the Scientific Steering Group of the World Climate Research Programme’s core project on Stratospheric Processes and their Role in Climate (SPARC), as Vice Chair of Commission A of the Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) and on the steering committee of the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) core project of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme. The award of the COSPAR’s William Nordberg Medal and his election as a Fellow of the AGU are testimonies to the high esteem in which John Burrows is held by colleagues. His current activities include serving as President of the International Commission on Atmospheric Chemistry and Global Pollution (iCACGP). For all these achievements, John P. Burrows is a worthy recipient of the Vilhelm Bjerknes Medal.