Colorado State University atmospheric science professor Graeme Stephens has been named a Fellow in the American Geophysical Union. Stephens received the honor for his pioneering work in understanding the Earth’s climate system.
The fellowship is awarded annually only to scientists who have attained acknowledged eminence in one or more areas in the geophysical sciences. Selection as a Fellow of AGU is an honor bestowed on no more than .1 percent of its approximately 38,000 members in any given year. Stephens will be formally presented with the AGU Fellowship at the organization’s meeting in Nice, France, in early April.
"Dr. Stephens is renowned in the scientific community throughout the world as a leader in research regarding the role of hydrological processes in climate change and in the use of satellites to study the atmosphere," said Steven Rutledge, professor and head of Colorado State’s Department of Atmospheric Science. "He is very deserving of this prestigious fellowship and recognition among his peers."
Stephens’ current research focuses on atmospheric radiation and on the application of remote sensing in climate research, with particular emphasis on understanding the role of hydrological processes in climate change. He has examined cloud properties from the ground, the air and from space, and used this information to better understand the physical processes that define Earth’s atmosphere.
Other recent research activities include the development of advanced inversion methods for extracting information from measurements as well as in developing novel techniques to examine the role of clouds in the Earth’s climate processes.
Stephens is currently the principal investigator of NASA’s CloudSat mission, a more than $100 million satellite project that will launch into orbit the world’s most advanced research radar designed to measure properties of clouds that are essential for accurate understanding of Earth’s weather and climate processes. CloudSat will improve weather and climate prediction and develop critical new space technologies.
"The CloudSat project will provide the first global measurements of cloud thickness, height, water and ice content and a wide range of precipitation data linked to cloud development," said Stephens. "These measurements will improve weather forecasting and advance scientific understanding of key climate processes."
Stephens joined the faculty of Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State as an associate professor in 1984 and was promoted to full professor in 1991. He previously served as senior research scientist at the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organization, Division of Atmospheric Research, in Victoria, Australia. Stephens earned his bachelor’s degree with honors from the University of Melbourne in 1973 and received his doctoral degree in 1977 from the same university.
Among his many accolades, Stephens is a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society and a Fellow of the Cooperative Institute for Research in the Atmosphere. He has served on numerous prestigious committees of the National Academy of Sciences and the World Climate Research program of the World Meteorological Organization. Stephens also has been awarded the Henry G. Houghton Award from the American Meteorological Society, the Halliburton New Faculty Research Award at Colorado State and other honors for his work.
Stephens has authored or co-authored more than 130 reviewed journal articles and seven book chapters in his areas of expertise, and is the author of "Remote Sensing of the Lower Atmosphere: An Introduction," published by Oxford University Press.
AGU’s activities are focused on the organization and dissemination of scientific information in the interdisciplinary and international field of the geophysical sciences in four fundamental areas: atmospheric and ocean sciences, solid-Earth sciences, hydrologic sciences and space sciences. From its beginnings in 1919, AGU has evolved into an active community of scientists from 117 countries and now stands as a leader in the geophysical sciences.