BERT BOLIN MADE numerous contributions to the field of meteorology and its impact on the science of global warming and climate change. He was a Swedish meteorologist who worked globally and served on many international committees. Bolin was born in Nykoping, Sweden, on March 15, 1925, to two schoolteachers. He obtained his B.Sc. from the University of Uppsala in 1946, followed by an M.Sc. in 1950.
Bolin continued to study meteorology, receiving a Ph.D. from Stockholm University in 1956, at the age of 31. One of his mentors, Carl-Gustav Rossby, played an influential role in Bolin's career, when he encouraged the young scientist to enter the field of geochemistry. Bolin rapidly gained expertise on carbon dioxide and its role in biology and chemistry. From 1952-57, he served as executive editor of Tellus, a scientific journal publishing investigations in the atmospheric and oceanic sciences. In 1961, he returned to Stockholm University as a professor of meteorology, where he remained until 1990, and then became professor emeritus at that institution.
In 1967, the International Council of Scientific Unions (ICSU) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) joined forces to organize the Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP), of which Bolin served as chair from 1968-71. GARP synthesized a new science that incorporated atmospheric physics, oceanic physics, mathematics, engineering, and other related fields, to study the weather and climate across the globe. Later, the WMO, along with the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), formed the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), of which Bolin was chairman 198897. In 1990, he led the IPCC in its first assessment of climate change. The IPCC acts to review all relevant scientific investigations and observations regarding the climate and any human impact on the climate.
Between 1983 and 1986, Bolin acted on the Scientific Advisory Board, which advised the government of Sweden. He then became scientific advisor to the prime minister of Sweden until 1988, and then advised the vice prime minister until 1991. Bolin also served as the scientific director of the European Space Agency, as well as having membership in nine academies of science in different nations. In 1995, Bolin earned the Blue Planet Prize, established by the
Asahi Glass Foundation in 1992 as "an international award that recognizes individuals and organizations who have made major contributions to solving global environmental problems." While Bolin's initial studies were on mathematics of atmospheric circulation, he is now recognized for his knowledge of greenhouse gases and his efforts to educate people about global warming.
SEE ALSO: Global Atmospheric Research Program (GARP); Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC); Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI); Sweden.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. C.D. Ahrens, Meteorology Today: An Introduction to Weather, Climate, and the Environment (Brooks Cole, 2006); Bert Bolin et al., eds., Greenhouse Effect, Climatic Change, and Ecosystems (John Wiley & Sons Ltd., 1990); A.E. Dessler and E.A. Parson, The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change: A Guide to the Debate (Cambridge University Press, 2006); C.J. Jepma et al., Climate Change Policy: Facts, Issues, and Analyses (Cambridge University Press, 1997); Syukuro Manabe et al., Better Future for the Planet Earth: Lectures by the Winners of the Blue Planet Prize (Asahi Glass Foundation, 1997); Henning Rodhe, "Bert Bolin and his Scientific Career," Tellus (August, 1991); S.R. Weart, The Discovery of Global Warming (Harvard University Press, 2003).
Claudia Winograd University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
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