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European Geosciences Union

Meinrat O. Andreae

Meinrat O. Andreae
Meinrat O. Andreae

The 2018 Alfred Wegener Medal & Honorary Membership is awarded to Meinrat O. Andreae for his pioneering research, ground-breaking work and outstanding achievements in the atmospheric, biogeochemical, climate, and Earth system sciences.

Meinrat O. Andreae is an outstanding scholar and world leader in geoscientific research. He has greatly contributed to scientific progress through his pioneering research, ground-breaking results, and outstanding service to the global scientific community.

Among Andreae’s major scientific discoveries and research themes are the close coupling of the atmospheric and the marine sulphur cycle and its role in climate, the global importance of gas and aerosol emissions from biomass burning and vegetation fires, and the unravelling of aerosol effects on clouds, precipitation, and climate – especially over tropical rainforests and oceans. In particular, Andreae has pioneered and greatly advanced the investigation and characterisation of near-pristine atmospheric conditions at remote locations, which can be taken as a proxy for pre-industrial conditions and are crucial for understanding the influence of anthropogenic pollution on climate and global environmental change.

A characteristic feature of Andreae’s work is his exceptional ability to grasp the big picture, to identify key scientific questions and to propose and implement viable pathways to answer them. This approach and his deep scientific understanding of the Earth system brought him to play leading roles in many successful international geoscientific projects, programmes, assessment studies, and long-term collaborations between scientists around the world. In particular, Andreae is among the initiators and main drivers of the Integrated Land Ecosystem-Atmosphere Processes Study (iLEAPS), the South African Fire-Atmosphere Research Initiative (SAFARI), the Large-Scale Biosphere Atmosphere Project in Amazonia (LBA), the Amazon Tall Tower Observatory (ATTO), and other large-scale field experiments and measurement campaigns in Africa, Asia, the Americas, and Europe.

Andreae’s ground-breaking studies and outstanding scientific achievements are reflected in a large number of highly cited publications and scientific honours. He has mentored numerous graduate students and postdoctoral researchers, many of whom are now in faculty or senior scientist positions and continue to serve and promote geoscientific research and international collaboration building on his great achievements and big picture of Earth system science. In particular, Andreae practiced, taught, and spread a truly interdisciplinary, open-minded, and inclusive approach of scientific research and collaboration. Last but not least, Andreae and his co-workers have greatly contributed to the success of the interactive open access journals and international conferences of the European Geosciences Union and other leading geoscientific organisations.