The 2014 Vilhelm Bjerknes Medal is awarded to Urs Baltensperger for his outstanding contributions to atmospheric aerosol science, in particular to the experimental characterisation of the anthropogenic and biogenic sources, properties and effects of organic aerosols.
Urs Baltensperger is one of the most prominent, influential and successful scientists in the field of atmospheric aerosol research. Over the past decades he has made major contributions to the progress of atmospheric science and to the development of the European and global research community.
Aerosol particles and their interactions with radiation, clouds, precipitation and public health are among the most important and most uncertain elements in our understanding of the atmosphere, climate and global change. In this field, Baltensperger and his team in the globally renowned research laboratory he established at the Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland, achieved many major discoveries and advanced many major developments. These are focused on – but not limited to – organic aerosols and include: the identification of organic oligomers as important components of atmospheric aerosols, carbon-14 analysis to distinguish between biogenic and anthropogenic organic aerosol sources, and source attribution of organic aerosols using positive matrix factorisation. He has also demonstrated the role of organic compounds in atmospheric particle formation, established the atmospheric aerosol long-term monitoring site, Jungfraujoch (3580 metres above sea level), and developed major European and global aerosol research and teaching networks and programs.
Besides excellent scientific research, Baltensperger has provided strong leadership and support for the European and global geoscientific community. He continues to serve and promote the World Meteorological Organisation’s Global Atmosphere Watch programme as well as the scientific meetings and journals of the European Geosciences Union. The Vilhelm Bjerknes Medal honours the outstanding scientific achievements of Urs Baltensperger as well as his great service to the scientific community.