Ferrari receives Ally of Nature Fund Award from the School of Science.
The world is continually changing and evolving—but avid hikers Audrey Buyrn '58, SM '63, PhD '66 and her late husband Alan Phillips '57, PhD '61 felt humanity was asking too much from our planet—that anthropogenic activity was pushing the world toward extremes, imperiling the beautiful landscapes and biodiversity they had come to love and appreciate on their treks.
Raffaele Ferrari, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Oceanography, investigates anthropogenic influence on climate, focusing on the role ocean circulation plays in setting the rate at which the ocean takes up heat and carbon from the atmosphere, demonstrating through theory and observation that small-scale turbulent motions play a crucial part in shaping this uptake.
The Ferrari group is contributing to the creation of a next generation climate model leveraging machine learning and data assimilation techniques to better represent these important, small-scale turbulent motions to increase certainty in climate predictions—leading to better-informed decisions by communities and policymakers to ensure sustainability for the Earth and environment.
For this work, the School of Science selected Ferrari for the 2019 Ally of Nature Fund Award, bestowed annually to support exploratory projects aimed to prevent, reduce, and repair the impacts of humanity on the natural environment.
"When Alan and I established the Ally of Nature Fund in 2007, it was still possible to be an intelligent skeptic of climate change and to think that catastrophic environmental degradation was far off in space and time. This is no longer possible," said Buyrn. "The evidence is in front of our eyes, over and over again from every part of the world."
Through their fund, Buyrn and Phillips have supported the research of other EAPS professors—Andrew Babbin, Kristin Bergmann, Tim Cronin, John Marshall, David McGee, and Ron Prinn—on topics ranging from reconstructing past climates and the evolution of early life on Earth to the physics of our oceans and atmosphere and their effects on climate.
"Although it is a cliché to say 'more research is needed', more research is needed," says Buyrn, in order to understand Earth's intricacies and the value of what could be lost to anthropogenic environmental degradation and climate change.
Audrey Buyrn '58, SM '63, PhD '66 and Raffaele Ferrari
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