Public Release: 

Michael Mann awarded the 2019 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement

Penn State

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IMAGE: Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science with with fellow climate scientist Warren Washington, distinguished scholar at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Penn State alumnus. view more 

Credit: Tyler Prize

Michael Mann, distinguished professor of atmospheric science, Penn State, has been awarded the 2019 Tyler Prize for Environmental Achievement. Founded in 1973, the Tyler Prize -- often referred to as the "Nobel Prize for the Environment" -- remains the premiere international award for environmental science.

Mann shares this honor with fellow climate scientist Warren Washington, distinguished scholar at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and Penn State alumnus.

"One of the things that makes this award special for me is sharing it with a personal hero of mine, Warren Washington, an illustrious graduate of our program here at Penn State who has contributed fundamentally to the field of climate modeling," said Mann.

Mann is honored with this award not only for his research in reconstructing the Earth's past climate and placing modern climate change in a long-term context, but also for his communication and outreach efforts.

"This award means a lot to me because it recognizes the two things that are most near and dear when it comes to my work and that's contributing both to the advancement of our science and the effort to communicate that science to the public and policymakers," Mann said.

Mann is a recognized expert and is often called upon by the U.S. media to answer questions about complicated climate science topics.

"Dr. Mann is an effective and courageous public leader in climate science and in the response to this human-induced existential crisis. He is dedicated to education in all settings -- academic, political, scientific and for children. Dr. Mann sets an example for all scientists in the climate field for clarity of communication and courage of conviction," said former California Gov. Jerry Brown.

Mann has received many awards for science communication. In 2018, he received the Climate Communication Prize from the American Geophysical Union and the Award for Public Engagement with Science from the American Association for the Advancement of Science. In 2017, he received the Stephen H. Schneider Award for Outstanding Climate Science Communication from Climate One.

"Dr. Mann has constantly evolved his approach to climate communication as new avenues for discourse emerged in our global digital public sphere," said former U.S. Vice President Al Gore. "We are all indebted to Dr. Mann's work as a pioneering researcher and climate communicator."

Mann says Penn State has been very supportive of both his climate science research and communication efforts.

"If you are in the field of climate science, it's hard to think of a better place to be than Penn State. We have this amazing community of academics and researchers who are focused on every component of climate science -- from the fundamental physical science to the projected impacts to the ethical and national security dimensions to matters of policy and politics -- we have it all. It's great to be at a university that supports so many researchers who are committed to advancing our understanding of what is arguably the greatest challenge we face as a civilization -- the challenge to avert, mitigate and adapt to human-caused climate change," said Mann.

The Tyler Prize consists of a $200,000 cash prize and a gold medallion. Previous Tyler Prize recipients include American biologist and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward O. Wilson, primatologist and animal conservationist Jane Goodall, and conservation biologist Paul Ehrlich. Penn State's Richard Alley, Evan Pugh University Professor of Geosciences, won the Tyler Prize in 2009.

Mann and Washington will be officially presented with the Tyler Prize on May 3 during a ceremony at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in San Francisco.

Mann, director of Penn State's Earth System Science Center, also is a faculty associate with Penn State's Earth and Environmental Systems Institute and holds a joint appointment in the Department of Geosciences. He received his undergraduate degrees in physics and applied math from the University of California at Berkeley, his master of degree in physics and his doctorate in geology and geophysics, both from Yale University.

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