RIP Jerry Mahlman

Dr. Mahlman was a longtime director of the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton NJ, an exemplary physical scientist, and a stalwart defender of climate science.

There’s an excellent obituary at Climate Science Watch, whence:

Scientists, federal research program executives, and members of Congress alike tended to emphasize the development of a predictive understanding of global change in the Earth system as a precondition for rational policymaking. This formulation was useful to scientists who preferred to stick to basic research and avoid the challenge of public communication. It was useful to feds who wanted to keep their programs funded while avoiding political controversy on global warming. And it was useful to politicians who could avoid taking action by pointing to scientific uncertainties and the limits of climate change prediction.

But it was an inadequate formulation, which needed to evolve toward talking in terms of an ongoing relationship between advancing scientific understanding and the ongoing policy process, the need for decisionmaking in the face of uncertainty, and climate change as a risk assessment and risk management problem. We needed scientists who would step up to learning how to communicate, and who didn’t shrink from giving policymakers a push. We had Steve Schneider, Bob Watson, Jim Hansen, and precious few others, one of whom was Mahlman.

Ricky Rood has a personal reflection at Wunderground.

The image is shamelessly hotlinked from Wunderground.

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