30 September 2016
Dr. Erik Larson of CSD receives the Early Career Poster Presentation Award at the International Global Atmospheric Chemistry (IGAC) Conference in Breckenridge, Colorado. Erik won the best poster in the Atmospheric Chemistry and Climate Change category.
Erik's research investigates Earth's energy budget – the flow of energy into and out of Earth, whether it's absorbed at Earth's surface, absorbed in the atmosphere, or reflected back to space. Direct measurements of the budget are difficult because there are many complex processes involved. Instead, models can be used to understand how much energy has come into the Earth system since preindustrial times and the fate of that energy – whether it has warmed the oceans or been radiated back to space.
Erik's research for "Estimating Earth's energy budget with the CMIP5 models" used the latest version of a series of climate model intercomparison projects, CMIP5, to predict the historical trends and magnitudes of climate change. Erik was able to correct for biases and errors in the models to provide credible predictions of future Earth that align with observations and historical patterns. His work concluded that in the 21st century, greenhouse gases will dominate the energy balance.
IGAC was founded in 1990 as a community of scientists working in the field of atmospheric chemistry to build a sustainable world. It has expanded and currently includes almost 4,000 scientists from six continents. The 14th IGAC Project Science Conference was held 26-30 September in Breckenridge, Colorado, marking the first time that the IGAC conference has ever been held in the United States.
One important part of IGAC is its Early Career Program, which builds a network of researchers at the start of their careers (within 3 years of completing their PhD) and facilitates future international research and partnerships. Erik is a part of this program and at the conference, he participated in poster sessions, special tours of research labs, networking events with senior scientists, and social activities, all of which serve to build connections.
Erik was presented with his award at the closing ceremonies of the IGAC Conference on September 30th.