Hero of the week: Dr. Wallace Broecker (1931-2019)

Dr Wallace Broecker in 2010.

Photo: Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Wallace Broecker, a climate scientist at Columbia University who brought the term “global warming” into the public and scientific lexicon, died on Monday at the age of 87.

NPR reported that as a professor in the department of earth and environmental science at Columbia, Broecker was among the early scientists who raised alarms about the drastic changes in the planet’s climate that humans could bring about over a relatively short period of time. His 1975 paper “Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?” predicted the current rise in global temperatures as a result of increased carbon dioxide levels — and popularized the term “global warming” to describe the phenomenon.

In a testament to his impact on the field, Broecker came to be known by his peers as the “grandfather of climate science” and “dean of climate scientists.” But to his many friends, he was just “Wally.”

Thank you, Dr. Broecker, for your tireless dedication to our planet, may you rest in peace. 

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