Katherine Calvin

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Katherine Calvin
Alma materUniversity of Maryland, Stanford University
Known forContributions to US National Climate Assessment and IPCC special reports on climate change
Scientific career
FieldsEarth science, Integrated assessment, Land use, Climate science
InstitutionsJoint Global Change Research Institute, Pacific Northwest National Laboratory, University of Maryland, US Energy Information Administration

Katherine Calvin is an earth scientist at the Joint Global Change Research Institute (JGCRI). She researches human use of global resources using Earth modeling systems at JGCRI under the direction of Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) and the University of Maryland. She has contributed to the third US National Climate Assessment as well as two special reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC).


Calvin attended the University of Maryland in 1998 where she earned bachelor's degrees in computer science and mathematics. She then attended Stanford University where she earned her master's degree and PhD in management science and engineering.[1] While earning her PhD, Calvin worked at the US Energy Information Administration for two years as an international energy analyst.[2] She completed her thesis, titled "Participation in international environmental agreements : a game-theoretic study" in 2008.[3]

Career and research[edit]

After completing her PhD in 2008, Calvin began working at PNNL.[4] She works in College Park Maryland with JGCRI's Global Change Assessment Model, a system for exploring and analyzing the relationships between Earth systems in response to global climate change.[5][1] Her research simulates the interaction between global resources, focusing on the impact of land, water, and energy use through an environmental and socioeconomic lens.[1][2] In her eleven years at PNNL, Calvin has co-authored over 90 PNNL publications, 20 of which she was the primary author. Her recent publications have investigated growing populations against agriculture and water scarcity in the face of climate change.[6][7][8]

In 2015, Calvin was selected to serve on a National Academy of Sciences research committee on models of the world.[9] The committee was commissioned by the National Geospatial Intelligence Agency to create various models for interrelated global systems such as economics, politics, and environment. The committee successfully concluded its research the following year, and its findings were published under the National Academies Press.[2][10]

National Climate Assessment[edit]

Calvin was a lead author on the "Mitigation" chapter of the United States' third National Climate Assessment in 2014.[11] The chapter describes the degree that which reduced global carbon dioxide emissions would alleviate the effects of climate change and concludes that the world's governments would need to heavily reduce the amount of global carbon dioxide emissions by the end of the century in order limit the global increase in temperature to 3-5 °F (1.6-2.7 °C). The chapter closes by offering potential measures to reduce the United States' greenhouse gas emissions.[12]

IPCC Special Reports[edit]

Calvin has contributed to two IPCC special reports on climate change. In 2018 the IPCC used Calvin's research on its Special Report on Global Warming of 1.5°C.[13] Calvin was a contributing author on chapter two of the report, which offered strategies to mitigate the effects of climate change in order to prevent a global average temperature increase of 1.5 °C. The article cited Calvin's research on land use and its relationship with socioeconomic and environmental effects.[14]

Calvin also contributed to the IPCC's Special Report on Climate Change and Land in 2019.[15] This report examines the effect that elevated greenhouse gasses will have on the planet from a perspective of human land usage. Calvin was a coordinating lead author in the report's sixth chapter, in which her research was used extensively throughout. Chapter six offers pathways of mitigating the harmful effects of global climate change on land use, such as reduced deforestation and agricultural diversification.[16]


Notable articles by Calvin include:

  • The RCP greenhouse gas concentrations and their extensions from 1765 to 2300. Meinshausen et al., Climatic Change, 2011.
  • RCP4. 5: a pathway for stabilization of radiative forcing by 2100. Thomson et al., Climatic Change, 2011.
  • Implications of limiting CO2 concentrations for land use and energy. Wise et al., Science, 2009.
  • The shared socioeconomic pathways and their energy, land use, and greenhouse gas emissions implications: an overview. Riahi et al., 2017.
  • 2.6: Limiting climate change to 450 ppm CO2 equivalent in the 21st century. Calvin et al., Energy Economics, 2009


In 2015, Calvin was awarded PNNL's Ronald L. Brodzinski Early Career Exceptional Achievement Award. She was nominated by Ghassem Asrar, director of JGCRI.[4]


  1. ^ a b c "PNNL: Atmospheric Sciences & Global Change - Staff Information Kate Calvin". www.pnnl.gov. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  2. ^ a b c "Project: Models of the World for the National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency". www8.nationalacademies.org. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  3. ^ Calvin, Katherine (2008). Participation in international environmental agreements : a game-theoretic study /.
  4. ^ a b "PNNL: Katherine Calvin Honored for Early Career Exceptional Achievement". www.pnnl.gov. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  5. ^ "Global Change Assessment Model | Joint Global Change Research Institute". www.globalchange.umd.edu. Retrieved 2019-09-13.
  6. ^ Fitton, N.; Alexander, P.; Arnell, N.; Bajzelj, B.; Calvin, K.; Doelman, J.; Gerber, J. S.; Havlik, P.; Hasegawa, T. (2019-09-01). "The vulnerabilities of agricultural land and food production to future water scarcity". Global Environmental Change. 58: 101944. doi:10.1016/j.gloenvcha.2019.101944. ISSN 0959-3780.
  7. ^ Turner, Sean W. D.; Hejazi, Mohamad; Calvin, Katherine; Kyle, Page; Kim, Sonny (2019-07-10). "A pathway of global food supply adaptation in a world with increasingly constrained groundwater". Science of the Total Environment. 673: 165–176. Bibcode:2019ScTEn.673..165T. doi:10.1016/j.scitotenv.2019.04.070. ISSN 0048-9697. PMID 30986676.
  8. ^ Huang, Zhongwei; Hejazi, Mohamad; Tang, Qiuhong; Vernon, Chris R.; Liu, Yaling; Chen, Min; Calvin, Kate (2019-07-01). "Global agricultural green and blue water consumption under future climate and land use changes". Journal of Hydrology. 574: 242–256. doi:10.1016/j.jhydrol.2019.04.046. ISSN 0022-1694.
  9. ^ "PNNL: Kate Calvin Appointed to National Research Council Study Team". www.pnnl.gov. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  10. ^ Read "From Maps to Models: Augmenting the Nation's Geospatial Intelligence Capabilities" at NAP.edu. 2016. doi:10.17226/23650. ISBN 978-0-309-44991-5.
  11. ^ "National Climate Assessment". National Climate Assessment. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  12. ^ Jacoby, H. D., A. C. Janetos, R. Birdsey, J. Buizer, K. Calvin, F. de la Chesnaye, D. Schimel, I. Sue Wing, R. Detchon, J. Edmonds, L. Russell, and J. West, 2014: Ch. 27: Mitigation. Climate Change Impacts in the United States: The Third National Climate Assessment, J. M. Melillo, Terese (T.C.) Richmond, and G. W. Yohe, Eds., U.S. Global Change Research Program, 648-669. doi:10.7930/J0C8276J.
  13. ^ "Mitigation pathways compatible with 1.5°C in the context of sustainable development". IPCC. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  14. ^ J. Rogelj, D. Shindell, K. Jiang, S. Fifita, P. Forster, V. Ginzburg, C. Handa, H. Kheshgi, S. Kobayashi, E. Kriegler, L. Mundaca, R. Séférian, M. V. Vilariño, 2018, Mitigation pathways compatible with 1.5°C in the context of sustainable development. In: Global warming of 1.5°C. An IPCC Special Report on the impacts of global warming of 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels and related global greenhouse gas emission pathways, in the context of strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change, sustainable development, and efforts to eradicate poverty.
  15. ^ "IPCC Authors (beta)". apps.ipcc.ch. Retrieved 2019-09-12.
  16. ^ Smith, Pete & Nkem, Johnson & Calvin, Katherine & Campbell, Donovan & Cherubini, Francesco & Grassi, Giacomo & Korotkov, Vladimir & Hoang, Anh & Lwasa, Shuaib & McElwee, Pamela & Nkonya, Ephraim & Saigusa, Nobuko & Soussana, Jean-François & Taboada, Miguel & Arias-Navarro, Cristina & Cavalett, Otavio & Cowie, Annette & House, Joanna & Huppmann, Daniel & Vizzarri, Matteo, 2019, Ch. 6: Interlinkages between Desertification, Land Degradation, Food Security and GHG fluxes: synergies, trade-offs and Integrated Response Options. In: Climate Change and Land. An IPCC special report on climate change, desertification, land degradation, sustainable land management, food security, and greenhouse gas fluxes in terrestrial ecosystems.