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Doctor Dorthe Dahl-Jensen.

Dr. Dorthe Dahl-Jensen

Discovering messages in the ice: UM researcher recognized for climate change finding

January 11, 2024 — 

Dr. Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, a Canada Excellence Research Chair in Arctic Ice, Freshwater-Marine Coupling and Climate Change in the Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS) at the Clayton H. Riddell Faculty of Environment, Earth, and Resources at the University of Manitoba has been named a recipient of the prestigious BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the climate change category.

“Congratulations to Dr. Dahl-Jensen on receiving this international award for her invaluable research into climate change and its impacts around the globe,” said Dr. Mario Pinto, Vice-President (Research and International) at UM. “The University of Manitoba is proud to advance research excellence to increase scientific understanding of society’s most pressing issues while providing solutions for the betterment of future generations.”

Dahl-Jensen, along with French scientists Jean Jouzel and Valérie Masson-Delmotte and Swiss scientists Jakob Schwander and Thomas Stocker have received this award discovering of the link between greenhouse gases and rising global temperatures enclosed within the polar ice through their analysis of ice cores in Greenland and Antarctica.

“It is an honour to receive this award for research that is fundamentally significant to the sustainability of our global climate,” said Dahl-Jensen.

Dahl-Jensen and her colleagues’ research involved examining concentrations of carbon dioxide (CO2) trapped within layers of polar ice over time. Their research on the natural variability of the earth’s climate contextualizes current GHG concentrations in the midst of human-induced global warming.

“My research has been primarily concerned with reconstructing past climates by studying polar ice cores in Greenland,” said Dahl-Jensen. “These ice cores can tell us what temperatures were like when they were formed, as well as CO2 concentrations in the atmosphere at the time. I found that, even though we had warm periods over the last 800,000 years, CO2 concentrations were never as high as they are today. These findings signify the potential impacts of escalading temperatures and rising sea levels if measures are not taken to further reduce GHG emissions.”

This year is the sixteenth edition of the BBVA Foundation Awards, which has honoured the likes of Noam Chomsky, Philip Glass, and Stephen Hawking.

Research at the University of Manitoba is partially supported by funding from the Government of Canada Research Support Fund.

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