Richard C. J. Somerville head shot

Richard C. J. Somerville

Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Research Professor, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California

Richard Somerville is Distinguished Professor Emeritus and Research Professor at Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California, San Diego, U. S. A. He is a theoretical meteorologist and an expert on computer simulations of the atmosphere. He received a B. S. in meteorology from Pennsylvania State University in 1961 and a Ph. D. in meteorology from New York University in 1966. He has been a professor at Scripps since 1979.

Somerville works with graduate students and with more senior colleagues. Their research is focused on critical physical processes in the climate system, especially the role of clouds and the important feedbacks that can occur as clouds change with a changing climate. This work has led to many innovations and important improvements in climate models. Somerville is an authority on the prospects for climate change in coming decades. He is an author, co-author or editor of more than 200 scientific publications. His broader interests include all aspects of climate, including climate science outreach and the interface between science and public policy. He was an organizer and signer of the Bali Climate Declaration by Scientists, in which more than 200 climate scientists from more than 20 countries urged climate change negotiatorsto agree on large and rapid reductions in global greenhouse gas emissions. He is also a co-author of The Copenhagen Diagnosis, a report by 26 climate science experts from 8 countries, summarizing important new research results.

Somerville comments frequently on climate and environmental issues for the media. He has also trained schoolteachers, testified before the United States Congress, briefed United Nations climate change negotiators, and advised government agencies on research, education and outreach.

He has received awards from the American Meteorological Society for both his research and his popular book, The Forgiving Air: Understanding EnvironmentalChange, a new edition of which was published in 2008. Among many honors, he is a Fellow of both the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the American Meteorological Society.Richard Somerville is a Coordinating Lead Author of the Fourth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize equally with Al Gore.

More information is available at On this site, available downloads include lists of Richard Somerville’s publications, a curriculum vitae, contact information, sample writings, and ordering information for The Forgiving Air: Understanding EnvironmentalChange. This web site also provides many links, including links to streaming video of recent lectures by Richard Somerville.

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