Kevin Trenberth
Distinguished Senior Scientist

Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water

The prize is awarded to Dr. Trenberth and his team, which includes Dr. Aiguo Dai, for ground-breaking work that provides a powerful estimate of the effects of climate change on the global hydrological cycle, with a clear explanation of the global water budget.

Surface Water Prize: The team led by Dr. Kevin Trenberth, NCAR-CGD

If we are going to talk about hydrology in the 21st century, and the challenges hydrologists face, clearly the overwhelming challenge is to understand hydrologic variability, and the likely impact on hydrology of anticipated climate change. Dr. Kevin Trenberth and his team have made a unique contribution through the investigation of climate variability and trends in the past, and through the use of models and other creative efforts to reconstruct river discharge into the oceans across the planet for almost 1000 river basins. They use climate models to understand likely changes in the future and the uncertainty associated with those predictions, and explain their findings using such popular indicates as the Palmer drought index. As a result, they have provided an exemplary account of the global water budget that is being used in textbooks and encyclopedias.

They have made pioneering contributions to understanding the past with real data, and evaluating the future prospects within the context of what we know of the global climate and hydrology. They have provided a much better understanding of hydrologic responses to climate change, which in turn will provide tremendous guidance for future planning.

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