Prof Michael E Schlesinger

Prof Michael E Schlesinger
University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign
Department of Atmospheric Science
105 South Gregory Ave.
MC 223
Fields of interest
Climate Research
Description of scientific projects
Michael E. Schlesinger, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, received his Ph.D. in 1976 from the University of California, Los Angeles. Professor Schlesinger directs the Climate Research Group (CRG) within the Department of Atmospheric Sciences. He is an expert in the modeling, simulation and analysis of climate and climate change, with interests in simulating and understanding past, present and possible future climates, climate impacts and climate policy. He carried out the first detailed comparison of climate and climate changes simulated by different atmospheric general circulation models (GCMs). His CRG has two tropospheric GCMs - one with interactive photochemistry, two stratospheric/tropospheric GCMs - one with interactive photochemistry, a mesospheric/stratospheric/tropospheric GCM, three oceanic GCMs, three coupled atmosphere-ocean GCMs, and a variety of simpler climate models, including the energy-balance climate/upwelling-diffusion ocean model with which he made projections of global temperature change to the year 2100 for the 1990 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. Results from doubled and quadrupled carbon-dioxide simulations from one of the tropospheric GCMs have been used in many climate-impact assessments, including that for the United States published by the EPA in 1989, wherein the results are called the OSU (Oregon State University) simulation, as well as in contemporary integrated-assessment models. In 1991 Professor Schlesinger investigated the urgency of climate-change mitigation and found that "the penalty for a 10-year delay in initiating the transition to a reduced-greenhouse-gas scenario is small." In 1994 he discovered a 65-70 year temperature oscillation in observed surface temperatures for the North Atlantic Ocean and its bordering continental regions, a finding that was reported in Discover magazine as one of "The Top 75 Science Stories" of 1994. His research currently focuses on: (1) estimating the temperature sensitivity of the earth's climate system; (2) determining the effects on past and future climate of the sun, sulfate aerosols - both of volcanic and anthropogenic origin - and natural variability; (3) performing integrative assessment of climate change, including the impacts of climate change and adaptation and mitigation responses; and (4) simulating and understanding the interactions between chemistry and climate. He is an active participant in international efforts to simulate and understand past and future climate changes; has directed NATO and other conferences in England, Italy and the United States; has edited three books; and has contributed to many assessments of climate change, including the IPCC and the Energy Modeling Forum (EMF). In this regard, equilibrium climate-change results simulated by the CRG 11-layer atmospheric general circulation/mixed-layer ocean model are being used to create geographical climate-change scenarios for the impact analyses of the EMF-14 Integrated Assessment of Climate Change and for the latest IPCC non-intervention and mitigation and stabilization emissions scenarios. Professor Schlesinger is a leading participant in activities arising from the U.S./Russian Cooperative Agreement on the Protection of the Environment. Additional information is located on the CRG Homepage at: