Kim Cobb is one of 49 recipients of the 2020 awards and medals of the European Geoscience Union (EGU). A professor in the Georgia Tech School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences (EAS), Cobb will receive the 2020 Hans Oeschger Medal. The medal recognizes scientists “for their outstanding achievements in ice research and/or short-term climatic changes (past, present, future).”
“It’s wonderful to be recognized by colleagues,” says Cobb, who is also the ADVANCE professor in EAS. “It helps us remember that science is a very human endeavor. It’s really about building community and supporting each other.”
Cobb’s research aims “to uncover the mechanisms of global climate change, both natural and anthropogenic, in order to inform projections of future climate change.” Her group generates new high-resolution records of past tropical Pacific climate variability from corals and cave stalagmites, with emphasis on the last decades to centuries. Her lab seeks to characterize natural climate variability in the tropical Pacific and identify climate trends associated with anthropogenic climate change.
The award acknowledges Cobb’s work in developing the climate record of the tropical Pacific over the last millennia and beyond, says Greg Huey, EAS chair and professor. “Obtaining and interpreting these data is a magnificent achievement that has required demanding field work in remote locations, exacting laboratory measurements, as well as sophisticated computer modeling.”
“This award is so well-deserved,” says College of Sciences Dean Susan Lozier. “All of us in the College of Sciences are delighted by this international recognition. Kim is a leading researcher on past climate change and is providing an important voice on our current climate challenges.”
Cobb’s work extends beyond her lab. Cobb is the director of Georgia Tech’s Global Change Program, which aims to train new leaders who will seek solutions to the interconnected challenges of climate change, environmental pollution, water resources, human health, and clean energy. She is also a lead author of the chapter on Framing, Context, and Methods of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Sixth Assessment Report.
Hans Oeschger was a Swiss nuclear physicist and a pioneer of ice core research. According to EGU, “His contributions to paleoclimatology made this initially descriptive field a quantitative science, in which changes of environmental conditions are given numbers and units.”