RIP Wally Broeker – Climate Giant

February 18, 2019

Wally Broeker, someone I wish I could have met.  Known for being right before almost anyone else.

“We play Russian roulette with climate .. no one knows what lies in the active chamber of the gun.” – Wally Broeker, Nature, 1987

Science, August 1975:

Climatic Change: Are We on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?


If man-made dust is unimportant as a major cause of climatic change, then a strong case can be made that the present cooling trend will, within a decade or so, give way to a pronounced warming induced by carbon dioxide. By analogy with similar events in the past, the natural climatic cooling which, since 1940, has more than compensated for the carbon dioxide effect, will soon bottom out. Once this happens, the exponential rise in the atmospheric carbon dioxide content will tend to become a significant factor and by early in the next century will have driven the mean planetary temperature beyond the limits experienced during the last 1000 years.


Interview here with Broeker’s Granddaughter, Filmmaker Anna Keyes:

Obit below:

Detroit News, AP:

New York – A climate scientist who popularized the term “global warming” has died. Wallace Smith Broecker was 87.

Columbia University said the longtime professor and researcher died Monday at a New York City hospital. A spokesman for the university’s Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory said Broecker had been ailing in recent months.

Broecker brought “global warming” into common use with a 1975 paper that correctly predicted rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere would lead to pronounced warming.

Broecker was also first to recognize what he called the Ocean Conveyor Belt, a global system of ocean currents circulating water and nutrients.

Broecker was born in Chicago in 1931 and grew up in suburban Oak Park.

He joined Columbia’s faculty in 1959 and was known in science circles as the “Grandfather of Climate Science.”

4 Responses to “RIP Wally Broeker – Climate Giant”

  1. grindupbaker Says:

    Wally Broeker was recently interviewed on-line by one of those “doomer” types who asked him a question and Wally replied “Listen Buddy…….”. Anyway,

  2. indy222 Says:

    A great character and scientist. We need more, not fewer, like him. I have a regret on that graph showing WB’s prediction vs actual since it’s missing the recent years post 2010, when temperature rocketed upward after slowing since 1999.

  3. Jean Swan Says:

    Wow, Ocean conveyor belt

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