Kevin E. Trenberth

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Kevin E. Trenberth
Born (1944-11-08) November 8, 1944 (age 69)
Christchurch, New Zealand
Residence New Zealand
United States
Fields Meteorologist
Atmospheric Scientist
Institutions New Zealand Meteorological Service
University of Illinois
National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR)
Alma mater Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Sc.D. 1972)
Thesis Dynamic coupling of the stratosphere with the troposphere and sudden stratospheric warmings. (1972)
Known for

Climate models
IPCC Lead Author 1995, 2001, 2007

Diagram showing the Earth's energy balance[1]

Kevin Edward Trenberth (born November 8, 1944) is part of the Climate Analysis Section at the USA National Center for Atmospheric Research.[2] He was a lead author of the 2001 and 2007 IPCC Scientific Assessment of Climate Change (see IPCC Fourth Assessment Report) and serves on the Scientific Steering Group for the Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) program. In addition, he serves on the Joint Scientific Committee of the World Climate Research Programme, and has made significant contributions[3] to research into El Niño-Southern Oscillation.

He was made an Honorary Fellow of the Royal Society of New Zealand in 2000, awarded the Jule G. Charney Award from the American Meteorological Society and the NCAR Distinguished Achievement Award in 2003.

Climatic Research Unit email controversy[edit]

In the Climatic Research Unit email controversy, one of Trenberth's emails was widely quoted. The quote being cited was "The fact is that we can't account for the lack of warming at the moment and it is a travesty that we can't." With regard to the email being touted as evidence that Trenberth secretly acknowledging that the Earth wasn't warming as expected, Trenberth stated: "It is amazing to see this particular quote lambasted so often. It stems from a paper I published this year bemoaning our inability to effectively monitor the energy flows associated with short-term climate variability. It is quite clear from the paper that I was not questioning the link between anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions and warming, or even suggesting that recent temperatures are unusual in the context of short-term natural variability."[4]

Trenberth's works on the "missing heat" and the "pause" in global warming[edit]

In a 2013 article in Geophysical Research Letters, Trenberth and collaborators argue that the ‘missing’ heat is sequestered in the ocean, below 700 m. [5] In a second 2013 paper, Trenberth and Fasullo said that the strong 1997-98 El Niño event may have triggered the current warming pause. But the pause "can't keep going on forever" – and, he suspects, not "much longer", Trenberth said. [6] [7]

"The 1997 to ’98 El Niño event was a trigger for the changes in the Pacific, and I think that’s very probably the beginning of the hiatus,” says Kevin Trenberth, a climate scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colorado. According to this theory, the tropical Pacific should snap out of its prolonged cold spell in the coming years.“Eventually,” Trenberth says, “it will switch back in the other direction.” [8]

Trenberth's theoretical explanation of the "pause" in global warming attracted wide attention in the press. [8] [9] [10] Climate scientist Judith Curry has criticized the Trenberth et al. GRL paper as "inconclusive". [11]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "FAQ 1.1 Fig 1 – Estimate of the Earth’s annual and global mean energy balance", IPCC AR4 WG I, IPCC, 2007, p. 96 
  2. ^ Pearce, Fred, The Climate Files: The Battle for the Truth about Global Warming, (2010) Guardian Books, ISBN 978-0-85265-229-9, p. XII–XIII.
  3. ^ The Weather Factory: El Nino and Global Warming
  4. ^ Kevin Trenberth on Hacking of Climate Files and "Climategate"
  5. ^ Distinctive climate signals in reanalysis of global ocean heat content, by Magdalena Balmaseda, Kevin Trenberth, Erland Kallen. Geophysical Research Letters, Volume 40, Issue 9, pages 1754–1759, 16 May 2013. Full text online
  6. ^ An apparent hiatus in global warming?, by Kevin E. Trenberth & John T. Fasullo. Earth's Future Volume 1, Issue 1, pages 19–32, December 2013
  7. ^ Global Warming 'Pause' Isn't What Climate Change Skeptics Say It Is by Terrell Johnson, The Weather Channel, Jan 13, 2014
  8. ^ a b Climate change: The case of the missing heat, Nature (journal) , Jan. 15, 2014
  9. ^ Oceans continue to warm, especially the deeps, Ars Technica, Apr 1 2013
  10. ^ Mystery of the 'Missing' Global Warming , Bloomberg News, Oct 23, 2013
  11. ^ Has Trenberth found the ‘missing’ heat? by Judith Curry, March 29, 2013

External links[edit]