|Dessler awarded for research|
Atmospheric sciences professor Andrew Dessler was honored at this year's College of Geosciences awards ceremony with the Dean's Distinguished Achievement Award for Faculty Research. This recognition is given each year to a faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to the scientific community.
Dessler came to Texas A&M in 2005 and since then has done extensive research on climate feedback mechanisms, bringing in over $2 million in research funding from NASA and the National Science Foundation. He has written several papers focusing on how water vapor and clouds feed back into the climate system as the plant warms. "These notable findings will have a significant impact on the direction of future climate research," says Gerald North, distinguished professor of atmospheric sciences.
His recent work on climate feedback systems has changed the view of how clouds affect climate. Earlier studies showed water vapor being a negative feedback that could cancel much of carbon dioxide's effect on climate, but Dessler's research shows that water vapor feedback is positive and could play a significant role in climate change.
National Academy of Sciences member and U.S. National Medal of Science Laureate Susan Solomon says Dessler's research is highly influential. "Dessler is poised to continue these contributions through new and innovative approaches to the analysis of a breadth of new satellite measurements," she says.
In addition to outstanding research, Dessler is also a noted educator. During a visit several years ago, William Randel, director of the atmospheric chemistry division of the National Center for Atmospheric Research, sat in on Dessler's climate change policy course. "He was enthusiastic and effective in engaging the students and has a keen ability to communicate in a lecture setting," Randel says.
Dessler's ability to communicate also applies outside the classroom. "He has taken on significant responsibility in educating a wide audience on the science and politics of climate change," Randel says. Dessler has been recognized for his communication skills, receiving a Sigma Xi award for science communication, and was named a Google Science Communication Fellow earlier this year.
Dessler received his Ph.D. in chemistry from Harvard University in 1994. His dissertation research focused on atmospheric chemistry and Solomon says his early papers helped shape our understanding of how water vapor reaches the stratosphere, which she says is important for both ozone depletion and climate change.
By George Hale