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UM Researcher Wins Frontiers of Knowledge Award

Ceremony on June 20 honours winners

June 27, 2024 — 

Dr. Dorthe Dorthe Dahl-Jensen, along with four colleagues, won the prestigious BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Climate Change category. Dr. Dahl-Jensen and her team were lauded for their work on using ice cores in Greenland to track the relationship of greenhouse gas concentrations to changes in climate over the past 800,000 years.    

In her speech at the presentation ceremony last week, the Environment & Geography professor explained how they use air bubbles trapped in the ice to determine methane and carbon dioxide levels when the ice was formed through history, and they use stable isotope markers in the ice to determine what the temperature was at the same time. Tracing those interactions over time shows how positive feedback loops have created instability and rapid change in climate. 

Their work shows that carbon dioxide levels are 35% higher than any time in the last 800,000 years, and that the planet’s temperature and climate systems are inextricably tied to greenhouse gases. Dr. Dahl-Jensen summarized the situation with, “this knowledge really calls for us to reduce emissions in the future. At present, humans are playing with the global climate system in an experiment where we are all trapped inside.”

Dr. Dahl-Jansen holds a Canada Excellence Research Chair (CERC) housed in the Centre for Earth Observation Science (CEOS).

Dr. Dorthe Dahl-Jansen, 5th from the left in the back row, with other BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Winners

Dr. Dorthe Dahl-Jansen, 5th from the left in the back row, along with other Frontiers of Knowledge Winners, representatives of the BBVA and the Spanish National Research Council (CSIC).

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