An Oregon State University-trained climate scientist is the co-winner of the 2019 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement, an honor often referred to as the Nobel Prize of the environment, OSU announced on Tuesday.
Warren Washington, a Portland native who earned a bachelor’s degree in physics from Oregon State in 1958 and a master’s degree in general science from the university in 1960, collaborated on the first computer models of the earth’s climate, later expanding on his initial work to incorporate data on ocean conditions, sea ice and carbon dioxide levels.
The model was instrumental in the findings of the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which won a Nobel Peace Prize.
Washington, who also holds a doctorate from Penn State, is the first African-American to win the Tyler Prize in the award’s 46-year history.
He began his professional career at the National Center for Atmospheric Research at Boulder, Colorado, and went on to become a climate change adviser to six U.S. presidents. He was awarded the National Medal of Science by President Barack Obama in 2010.
Washington will share the Tyler Prize — and the $200,000 cash award that goes with it — with Michael Mann, who developed the well-known “hockey stick graph” illustrating the pace of global warming.
The two will give a lecture about their work on May 2 at the University of California-San Francisco and will receive their awards the following day.