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Nobel Prize in Physics 2021 Goes to Three Laureates for Climate Work

October 6, 2021

Three Laureates share the 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics: Syukuro Manabe, Klaus Hasselman, and Giorgio Parisi. Photo Source:  Niklas Elmehed © Nobel Prize Outreach

The 2021 Nobel Prize in Physics has been awarded to three Laureates "for groundbreaking contributions to our understanding of complex physical systems" and whose work improved the understanding of the Earth's changing climate. The announcement was made on October 5, 2021.

Syukuro Manabe demonstrated how increased levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere lead to increased temperatures at the Earth's surface. In the 1960s, Manabe led the development of physical models of the Earth's climate and his work laid the foundation for the development of current climate models.

Ten years later, Klaus Hasselmann created a model that links weather and climate together, thus answering the question of why climate models can be reliable despite weather being changeable and chaotic. He also developed methods for identifying specific signals, fingerprints, that both natural phenomena and human activities imprint on climate. His methods have been used to prove that the increased temperature in the atmosphere is due to human emissions of carbon dioxide. Around 1980, Giorgio Parisi discovered hidden patterns in disordered complex materials. His discoveries are among the most important contributions to the theory of complex systems.

For more details, read the press release from The Nobel Prize.

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