Indian scientist Veerabhadran Ramanathan Rare photos. Dr. Ramanathan is a Distinguished Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD. In the 1970s, he discovered the greenhouse effect of CFCs and numerous other manmade trace gases and forecasted in 1980, along with R. Madden that the global warming would be detectable by the year 2000. He, along with Paul Crutzen, led an international team that first discovered the widespread Atmospheric Brown Clouds (ABCs).
Dr. Ramanathan showed that ABCs led to large scale dimming, decreased monsoon rainfall and rice harvest in India and played a dominant role in melting of the Himalayan glaciers. His team developed unmanned aerial vehicles with miniaturized instruments to measure black carbon in soot over S Asia and to track pollution from Beijing during the Olympics. He has estimated that reduction of black carbon can reduce global warming significantly and is following this up with a climate mitigation Project Surya which will reduce soot emissions from bio-fuel cooking in rural India. He chaired a National Academy report that calls for a major restructuring of the Climate Change Science Program and it was received favorably by the Obama administration.
His numerous awards include the 2009 Tyler prize, the Volvo Prize, the Zayed prize, the Rossby Medal and the Buys-Ballot Medal for pioneering studies in climate and environment. He has been elected to the American Philosophical Society, the US National Academy of Sciences, the Pontifical Academy by Pope John Paul II and the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences.
Ramanathan has been among the most prominent scientific voices calling for collective action to cut emissions of short-lived climate pollutants to slow the pace of global warming, and achieve multi-billion dollar health benefits.
A major UNEP study in 2011, on which Ramanathan acted as vice-chair and senior contributor, presented 16 actions to cut black carbon and methane emissions, which, if implemented, would save close to 2.5 million lives a year through reduced respiratory illnesses, avoid crop losses amounting to 32 million tonnes annually, and deliver near-term climate protection of about 0.5 °C by 2050.
The prize is awarded annually to leaders from government, civil society and the private sector, whose actions have had a significant and positive impact on the environment. Other winners to receive Champions of the Earth award are Google Earth; Carlo Petrini, the founder of the Slow Food Movement; Izabella Teixeira, Minister of Environment, Brazil; Jack Dangermond, founder of the Environmental Systems Research Institute (ESRI), and Martha Isabel Ruiz Corzo from the Sierra Gorda Biosphere Reserve in Mexico.
The name Veerabhadran Ramanathan may not sound familiar, but this atmospheric scientist of Indian origin has been doing wonders around the globe for many years and has recently been nominated to receive ‘Champions of the Earth award’, the UN’s highest environmental award, United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) announced on Tuesday.
Ramanathan, who hails from Madurai, India received his bachelors degree in engineering from Annamalai University, India in 1965 and his masters degree from Indian Institute of Science, India in 1970. Later he completed his Ph.D. from State University of New York at Stony Brook on Planetary Atmospheres in 1974.
Dr. Ramanathan is a Distinguished Professor of Atmospheric and Climate Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego. He currently chairs an international science team from Asia, Africa and Latin America under the Atmospheric Brown Clouds Program sponsored by the United Nations Environmental Programme.
For over 30 years, he has been conducting original research in Climate and Atmospheric Science. As Director of the Center for Clouds, Chemistry, and Climate at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, he conducts International field campaigns, develops unmanned aircraft platforms for tracking atmospheric brown cloud (ABC) pollution worldwide, and educates and trains the next generation of scientists.
His major focus now is on developing practical solutions for mitigating global climate change and slowing down the retreat of the Himalayan glaciers. Project Surya, a cook-stove project which attempts to eliminate climate warming pollutants from traditional bio-mass cooking, is his first climate mitigation project. His landmark research showed that cutting emissions of ‘black carbon’ or soot can significantly lessen the impacts of climate change, improve the health of millions of rural poor, and avoid crop losses.