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Richard Somerville

Climate Scientist

Richard Somerville is an internationally recognized climate scientist and an expert on communicating clearly to the public what scientists have learned about climate change.

His interests include all aspects of climate, including climate science outreach and the interface between science and public policy. Somerville has commented frequently on climate and environmental issues for the media. He has also testified before the United States Congress, briefed United Nations climate change negotiators, and advised government agencies on research, education and outreach.

Among many honors, Somerville has been named a Fellow of three scientific societies: the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), the American Geophysical Union (AGU), and the American Meteorological Society (AMS). He has also received awards from the American Meteorological Society for both his research and his popular book, The Forgiving Air: Understanding Environmental Change.

In 2015, Somerville was awarded the Climate Communication Prize of the American Geophysical Union. This prize recognized him for his work in promoting scientific literacy, clarity of message, and efforts to foster respect and understanding of science-based values as they relate to the implications of climate change.

In 2017, Somerville won the Ambassador Award of the American Geophysical Union. This award is given for outstanding contributions in the areas of societal impact, service to the Earth and space community, scientific leadership, and promotion of talent and the career pool.

Somerville's research has been focused on critical physical processes in the climate system. This work has led to many innovations and important improvements in computer models of the climate. Somerville is an authority on the prospects for climate change in coming decades. He is an author, co-author or editor of more than 200 scientific publications.

Richard Somerville is Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Research Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. He has been a professor at Scripps since 1979. He received a B. S. in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University in 1961, and a Ph. D. in meteorology from New York University in 1966.

Somerville is a Coordinating Lead Author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize equally with Al Gore. Somerville is also a science advisor of Climate Communication, a nonprofit project dedicated to publicizing climate change science and assisting scientists and journalists in making this science available and comprehensible. More is at and