The IRC 2008 Gold Medal was awarded to Graeme L. Stephens of Colorado State University.
Professor Stephens completed his B.S. degree with honors from the University of Melbourne in 1973 and received his Ph.D. degree in 1977 from the same university. His Ph.D. work was published as the three papers (Stephens, 1978a,b and c, J. Atmos. Sci.) with other two preceding papers (Stephens, 1976a, J. Atmos. Sci.; 1976b, Contr. Atmos. Phys.). Today these pioneering papers, that quantify the cloud radiative properties by inherent cloud parameters, have become legacy papers for many researchers and students in the atmospheric science. After this dramatic debut to the atmospheric science society, he has been contributing to the society with several milestone works, such as Stephens (1984, Month. Weath. Rev.) and Stephens and Webster (1981, J. Atmos. Sci.) for studying the basic roles of clouds on climate to provide a major advance in understanding of cloud influences on climate; Stephens (1986, JQSRT; 1988a and b, J. Atmos. Sci.) for radiative transfer theory through arbitrarily shaped optical media under collaboration with Prof. Rudolph W. Preisendorfer; Stephens and Tsay (1990, Q.J.R. Meteorol. Soc.; 1994, Nature) for the cloud absorption anomaly issue; and many other subjects. Through these studies he established the knowledge and tools for quantitative evaluation of cloud properties as they affect the earth's radiation budget, which have influences many researchers in various fields in the atmospheric science and remote sensing communities.
He also raised, encouraged and mentored many young scientists, as a faculty of the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University, having more than 20 phD students who produced important results of their own, such as on the scattering properties and non-spherical scattering theory (e.g., Flatau and Stephens 1990), on pioneering of sub-millimeter radiometery to observe ice clouds (Evans et al., 1995), global observations of water clouds (Greenwald et al., 1995), advancing the assimilation of new observations in cloud models (Benedetti et al, 2003), quantifying the effects of clouds on radiation balance of the planet using modern global satellite observations (LfEcyer and Stephens, 2003), introduction of novel uses of A-band spectroscopy for the study of aerosol and clouds (Heidinger and Stephens, 2000) and in advancing the use of infrared measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide (Englen and Stephens, 2004;Christi and Stephens, 2004). Thus it is needless to say that many young scientists and students of the world, who are in the middle of difficult research works and thesis studies, have been guided and encouraged by Prof. Stephens' papers and meeting presentations. His open minded attitude and attractive characters have been drawn these young generation people as well as his close colleagues. All people know that Graeme is a good artist who draw several cartoons to add a colorful impact to his presentation.
As above, Dr Stephens has made important contributions across a range of areas that include the development and analysis of models of all types (from climate models to cloud process models) to understand how cloud affect our climate to pioneering applications of remote sensing information and this range of effort converges on the focus of seeking a better understanding the physical processes that define the Earth's atmosphere and climate system.
Dr. Stephens has published over 180 peer-reviewed articles, numerous book chapters and is the author of Remote Sensing of the Lower Atmosphere: An Introduction (Oxford Univ. Press, 1994). This text book has become one of standard textbooks for graduate students in world's universities.
He also has been contributing to the science community through his membership and chairmanship of a number of national and international committees including AMS Committee on Atmospheric Radiation and WMO Joint Scientific Committee Working Group on Radiation Fluxes and chairman of the WCRP GEWEX radiation panel . He is currently the PI of NASA's CloudSat Mission and has had an important influence on other satellite missions such as the CALIPSO mission and the upcoming orbiting carbon observatory (OCO) mission. He is currently a University Distinguished Professor and is the recipient of the American Meteorological Society's Houghton and Jule Charney Awards. He is also the recipient of the CSU Halliburton New Faculty Research Award, the CSU Abel Outstanding Faculty Research Award and the NASA public service medal.
Considering the above mentioned numerous contributions to the society, he definitely represents one of most active and most influential scientists in the atmospheric science society, especially in the atmospheric radiation and remote sensing societies, and hence IRC presents the IRS Gold Medal Award in 2008 to Prof. Graeme L. Stephens.
August 6, 2008