MIKHAIL IVANOVICH BUDYKO was an environmental scientist who was internationally recognized for his pioneering work on the Earth's energy balance, surface hydrology, and climate change, and the role of climate in regulating Earth's biosphere. His work brought about the scientific discipline termed physical climatology, which, in contrast to empirical climatology, is based on the first principles quantitative analysis. Budyko strongly emphasized the importance of the Earth's surface and atmosphere thermal balances, which are at the heart of all scientific problems related to climate change. His approach allowed fast and successful development of the mathematical tools for analysis of recent climate changes, interpretation of past ones, and prediction of future changes.
Budyko was born January 21, 1920, in Gomel, a small Belorussian town (then in the Soviet Union), and before World War II moved to Leningrad (now St. Petersburg), Russia, to pursue his higher education. He received his Master of Science degree in Hydro-AeroDynamics in 1942 from the Division of Physics of the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute. Immediately following, he was employed as a scientific researcher in the Voeikov Main Geophysical Observatory (MGO), the oldest Russian meteorological research institution, which during World War II was evacuated from Leningrad to Sverdlovsk (near the Ural Mountains). Within two years (in 1944), Budyko earned his Candidate Degree (Ph.D.), and, in 1951, he defended his Doctoral Degree, the highest scientific degree in Russia.
In 1954, he became a head of the MGO, where he remained for the following 21 years. He was the youngest MGO head since its founding in 1849. His fast ascent in the scientific community gained Budyko a high level of scientific recognition both within and outside Russia, and inspired a new generation of scien tists in seeking careers in climate change and radiative transfer.
Among Budyko's scientific achievements is the development of a procedure to calculate the components of the thermal balance of the Earth's surface. His method allowed for calculating the components of the heat balance from measurements of the lapse rate of atmospheric temperature and humidity of the surface layer of the atmosphere. Using these techniques, Budyko compiled the first maps of the annual thermal balance components in the southern area of the European part of Soviet Union, determined the latitudinal distribution of the thermal and moisture balance components of land and ocean surfaces for the Northern Hemisphere, and established the factors governing the characteristics of this distribution.
In his follow-up research, Budyko developed a method for calculating the radiation balance of land from data on the water balance. Based on this research, he introduced the "Budyko aridity index," which gathers and analyzes information on hydrothermal regimes of a particular Earth region. In 1956, with other Russian scientists, Budyko developed a "periodic law of climatic zonality," that the same values of the aridity index can be met in different geographical zones. For his work on thermal balance, Budyko was awarded the Lenin National Prize in 1958, the first among climate scientists.
In 1961, Budyko recognized anthropogenic(human-induced) global warming. Primarily through analysis and interpretation of observational data, Budyko developed a quantitative relationship between surface temperature and incoming solar radiation, using it to formulate the energy-balance global change model, one of the earliest developed. Using it, he deduced that the Earth's climate might be sensitive to small disturbances in the radiative balance.
In 1964, Budyko became a Corresponding Member of the Academy of Sciences of the Soviet Union. In 1970, Budyko became interested in understanding interactions among the climate system, biosphere, and human agricultural activities. He and his colleagues carried out theoretical and experimental investigations to explore the dependence of the pho-tosynthetic productivity of agricultural crops on the principal meteorological factors. Also, he was interested in how to calculate the thermal balance of a person's body when adjusting to the thermal condi tions in different climates. For this research, Budyko received the Professor Lithke Gold Medal of the Russian Geographical Society in 1972.
global warming, snowball earth, AND nuclear winter
Beginning in 1972, Budyko played an important role in studies of the greenhouse effect under the auspices of Working Group VIII of the U.S.-Soviet Union Bilateral Agreement on the Protection of the Environment. He believed that, in spite of the then observed cooling, an increase in greenhouse gases would bring the climate system back to the warming tendency because, as he showed, the formation of the Earth's ecosystems is strongly connected to periodic changes in atmospheric concentrations of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Based on this, he pushed for the development of three important concepts: global warming, snowball earth, and nuclear winter. The latter played an important role in understanding of global consequences from possible nuclear war and helped in accelerating the process of ending the Cold War.
In 1975, Budyko moved his research to the State Hydrological Institute (Leningrad), where he created a new department for Investigating Climatic Changes and the Hydrologic Cycle of the Atmosphere. In 1980, he took the lead in applying the paleoanalog approach to project future anthropogenic global warming. Thus, he introduced the possibility of estimating climate sensitivity via reconstruction of greenhouse gas radiative forcing and retrieving past global temperature changes for the same periods.
In 1987, Budyko was awarded the International Meteorological Organization (IMO) Prize by the World Meteorological Organization. In 1989, the Russian Academy of Sciences awarded him the A.P. Vinogradov Prize, and, in 1991, he received a Diploma of the First Degree from the Russian Knowledge Society. In 1992 Budyko become an Academician of the Russian Academy of Sciences and, in 1995, he won its A. Grigoryev Prize. In 1994, Budyko received the Professor R. Horton Medal of the American Geophysical Union for his contribution to the study of the hydro-logic cycle, and, in 1998, he was awarded the prestigious Blue Planet Prize.
In 1998, Budyko became a scientific leader of the Research Center for Interdisciplinary Environmental Cooperation (INENCO) of the Russian Academy of
Sciences, which was established to promote basic scientific research in the fields of environmental protection, rational exploitation of natural resources, and relevant ecological issues. Mikhail Ivanovich Budyko died in 2001, at the age of 81, in St. Petersburg, Russia.
SEE ALSO: Global Warming; History of Climatology; Russia; Snowball Earth.
BIBLIOGRAPHY. Asahi Glass Foundation Blue Planet Prize, "Dr. Mikhail I. Budyko," www.af-info.or.jp (cited November 2007); M.I. Budyko, "Climatic Change" (American Geophysical Union, 1977); M.I. Budyko, The Earth's Climate: Past and Future (Academic Press, 1982); M.I. Budyko, A.B. Ronov, and A.L. Yanshin, History of the Earth's Atmosphere (Springer-Verlag, 1987); M.I. Budyko, G.S. Golitsyn, and Y.A. Izrael, Global Climatic Catastrophes (Springer-Verlag, 1986).
Natalia Andronova University of Michigan
Was this article helpful?
Your Alternative Fuel Solution for Saving Money, Reducing Oil Dependency, and Helping the Planet. Ethanol is an alternative to gasoline. The use of ethanol has been demonstrated to reduce greenhouse emissions slightly as compared to gasoline. Through this ebook, you are going to learn what you will need to know why choosing an alternative fuel may benefit you and your future.