US climatologist gets China's top honour on scientific cooperation

Indo Asian News Service

Washington, May 3 (IANS) US climatologist and professor of the University of Wisconsin-Madison John Kutzbach has received here China's top science honour for foreigners, the International Science and Technological Cooperation Award.

"I am honoured to receive this international science cooperation award... It's a great honour," Xinhua news agency quoted the 80-year-old as telling a special ceremony in the Chinese embassy here.

Kutzbach was granted the 2016 award, along with four other foreign scientists and one international organisation, for helping hasten the development of China's research in global climate changes.

He could not attend the award ceremony held in January in Beijing because of health reasons.

An emotional Kutzbach recalled that his 30-year cooperation with China started with a visit by two Chinese scientists to his university during a cold winter in the 1980s.

"You can't see the future very well. So I had no dream that our work together would lead to so much scientific accomplishment involving so many US and Chinese scientists and also deep friendships," he said.

Kutzbach said this cooperation was "not something that has a beginning and an end" and should continue under the Trump administration.

"We are doing this not for our generation, but for the future of our two countries," he said. "It's my hope the strong scientific cooperation between our two countries will strengthen and grow."

Cen Jianjun, Minister Counsellor for Education of the Chinese embassy, spoke very highly of what Kutzbach has done for China's research on paleoclimate, or ancient climate on Earth.

Cen praised the professor as an internationally recognized first-class scientist on climate numerical simulation and one of the pioneers and founders in paleoclimate modelling.

"In the last 30 years, Kutzbach has made a great contribution in promoting bilateral cooperation in scientific technologies and selflessly passes his knowledge and wisdom to our Chinese scientists," he said.

"I would like to represent the Chinese government to express our heartfelt thanks to Kutzbach."

Kutzbach, born in 1937, is a long-term director of Centre for Climate Research at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He was elected a member of the US National Academy of Sciences in 2006.

As one of the forerunners of paleoclimate modellers, he has studied the responding and feeding back mechanisms in the simulation of changing Earth process through groundbreaking connections of climatology, geology and ecology sciences with numerical method of physics and bio-geochemistry.

He has successfully revealed the mechanism and driving force of climatic environmental changes at various tectonic to orbital time scales.

His findings have opened up a new direction for a deeper understanding of the past, present and future changes of Earth system.