Schmittner receives AGU Early Career Award


CORVALLIS, Ore. – Andreas Schmittner, an assistant professor in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University, is one of two recipients of the American Geophysical Union’s Ocean Science Section Early Career Award of 2006.

Schmittner will be recognized at the annual AGU conference in San Francisco next week for his pioneering contributions to modeling ocean-atmosphere-cryosphere-biosphere interactions.

“Schmittner is making fundamental contributions in paleoceanography and climate dynamics,” said Peter Clark, OSU professor of geosciences, in his nomination letter.

A primary focus of Schmittner’s research has been the relationship of the ocean’s slow turnover, known as thermohaline circulation, and the carbon cycle, which has become part of common knowledge about global warming scenarios.

“Schmittner’s modeling provided scientific rigor to help understand this important feedback and its possible socioeconomic ramifications,” Clark said.

Schmittner’s early work showed that the responses of the atmosphere and oceans to future greenhouse warming depend critically on how fast carbon dioxide levels rise. The publication of his research in the journal Science illustrated important feedbacks between the ice sheets and the thermohaline circulation that explain millennial-scale climate change.

He also demonstrated that future reduction in formation of deep water in the North Atlantic, a possible result of greenhouse warming, could affect marine ecosystems on a global scale, including surprisingly rapid reduction of productivity – and by inference, fisheries – in the northeast Pacific off Oregon.

Also receiving the Award will be Claudia Benitez-Nelson from the University of South Carolina.