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The Bjerknes Centre is a collaboration on climate research, between the University of Bergen, Uni Research, the Institute of Marine Research, Nansen Environmental and Remote Sensing Centre.

Award to Richard Davy

Richard Davy has been awarded the Outstanding Young Scientist Award in Atmospheric Science by the European Geophysical Union.

Davy´s research aims to clarify and quantify the role of the planetary boundary layers (PBLs), their small-scale dynamics and turbulence-driven physics) in the earth’s climate system. The PBL is the part of the system where processes in the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and biosphere are interacting in a complex, non-linear manner across a vast multitude of temporal and spatial scales. Moreover, it is in this thin and variable layer where 99% of the anthropogenic activity and impact are concentrated with the strongest effect on the life quality standards and broadly on sustainability of human civilization.

The PBL problem is known for its formidable difficulties related to complexity of the turbulent processes as well as to limited ability to simulate those small-scale processes in climate models.

Standing on his previous research of the PBL role in Martian climate, Davy proved the hypothesis that the thin stably stratified PBLs, previously underappreciated and hence poorly modelled, play a key role in formation of cold climates due to their asymmetric respond on the positive and negative heat flux perturbations in the forcing. This finding, now fully quantified, explains from a common physical platform the amplification of the climate variability and trends in the regions and seasons dominated with stably stratified PBLs such as the polar amplification of the climate change, the changes in the diurnal and seasonal temperature range, large variability in the high-latitude climates etc. Moreover, it predicts amplification of the climate variability in the areas dominated by the atmospheric subsidence – the effect, which has been independently confirmed with the observational data analysis.

Davy took his doctoral degree in physics and astronomy entitled “Studies of the Martian boundary-layer” at York University in Toronto, Ontario, Canada in September 2009. He then became a postdoc at the GC Rieber Climate Institute at Nansen Center in 2011, where he is now a project scientist. Davy is affiliated with the Bjerknes Research through his membership in Research Group 5: Atmosphere, Cryopshere and ocean processes lead by Igor Ezau (NERSC) and Lars H. Smedsrud (UiB).