Dr. Qin Dahe.
On October 21, Volvo Environment Prize Foundation formally announced Chinese glaciologist and climate scientist Dr. Qin Dahe has been awarded the Volvo Environment Prize 2013. He is the first Chinese laureate.
Throughout his very distinguished career, Dr. Qin Dahe has made outstanding contributions to the scientific understanding of the climate, both in China and at the global level. He has generated an exceptional body of research on the dynamics of glaciers and ice sheets, an important component of the climate system.
Dr. Qin’s scientific research record is remarkable. He has published 170 articles in English and another 230 in Chinese, comprising a major advance in our understanding of glacial processes. He has participated in or led many scientific expeditions to the Antarctic, Arctic, Qinghai-Tibetan plateau and Western China. His research on snow- to-glacier processes in Antarctica and in the Himalaya has been ground-breaking, and his innovative leadership in the use of ice cores in the Mount Qomolangma (Everest) region and in the mapping of Himalayan glacier resources has provided the basis for understanding the evolution of these resources and the baseline for assessing contemporary environmental change in the region.
Beyond its scientific importance, Dr. Qin’s research on the Himalayan glaciers is critical for the future welfare of over a billion people, whose water supplies ultimately depend on a reliable source of water from these high altitude glaciers. Understanding how and why the dynamics of these glaciers are changing underpins the development of adaptive responses to ensure continuing water supplies.
Building on this impressive scientific base, Dr. Qin has played a leading role the pre- eminent assessment body for climate change, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). He first became involved in the IPCC with its Third Assessment Report, published in 2001, and then assumed the prestigious leadership role of co- Chair of Working Group 1 (Science) of the Fourth Assessment Report, released in 2007. He has continued in this role in the Fifth Assessment Report, due to be released in October 2013.
One of Dr. Qin’s most important contributions to climate policy was his leadership role in the IPCC’s Special Report on Climatic Extremes, published in 2012. This thorough, well-grounded assessment was a game-changer. The report demonstrated for the first time a clear link between climate change and many extreme events, an issue of immediate relevance for human well-being in many parts of the world.
Dr. Qin has worked tirelessly to build an impressive climate science capability in China and to link it in to the international community. During his period as the head of the China Meteorological Administration, Dr. Qin was instrumental in building a policy of free and open access to scientific data for environmental studies in China. He has strongly supported the integration of China’s rapidly growing scientific capability into the international community, to the benefit of both.
Dr. Qin is a leader in international organizations and programs. He chaired the working group on glaciers of the Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research (SCAR), served on the scientific committees of the International Geosphere- Biosphere Programme (IGBP) and of the Earth System Science Partnership (ESSP), and participated in the planning and implementation of the International Polar Year (IPY).
The Volvo Environment Prize is awarded for "Outstanding innovations or scientific discoveries which in broad terms fall within the environmental field", and is awarded by an independent foundation, which was instituted in 1988. Laureates represent all fields of environmental and sustainability studies and initiatives. (Oct.22)
Editor Shi Long