Stevens congratulates Cazenave, Church and Gregory on winning BBVA Climate Change Award

This year´s recipients of the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Climate Change Category

This year´s recipients of the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Climate Change Category

Prof. Anny Cazenave; credit: BBVA Foundation

Prof. John Church; credit: BBVA Foundation

Prof. Jonathan Gregory; credit: BBVA Foundation

This year´s recipients of the BBVA Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Climate Change Category are Prof. Anny Cazenave (France), Prof. John Church (Australia) and Prof. Jonathan Gregory (UK). The laureates were announced by Prof. Bjorn Stevens at a press conference in Madrid on Wednesday (Jan 9) in recognition of their achievements in detecting, understanding and projecting sea-level rise due to climate change.

Profs. Cazenave, Church and Gregory “pioneered the integration of satellite observations with in situ measurements and innovations in numerical modeling to develop an accurate and consistent depiction of sea-level change globally. […] Their findings have been instrumental in testing our understanding of how the Earth system works, enabling better grounded projections” states the award jury.

The extent of sea-level rise is particularly hard for scientists to pin down, due to the large natural variability this magnitude has shown throughout Earth’s history, because it is influenced by many factors, and has enormous regional variations. “It is a tremendous scientific challenge,” coincides the jury. Prof. Cazenave, Prof. Church and Prof. Gregory did not only identify the effect of human action on sea-level rise, their work has also revealed that the rate of increase is accelerating over time. Forecasts incorporating their findings warn that failure to curb greenhouse gas emissions could result in a sea-level rise exceeding one full meter by the end of this century. This would affect hundreds of millions of people living in coastal areas.

About the scientists
Prof. Cazenave is Director for Earth Sciences at the International Space Science Institute in Bern, Switzerland, and an emeritus scientist at the Laboratoire d’Etudes en Géophysique et Océanographie Spatiales (LEGOS), belonging to French space agency CNES. Prof. Church is a professor in the University of New South Wales in Sydney (Australia), while Prof. Gregory is a professor in the Department of Meteorology at the University of Reading (United Kingdom) and a senior scientist in the National Centre for Atmospheric Science (USA).

About the BBVA Foundation and the Frontiers of Knowledge Awards
The BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Awards were established in 2008 to recognize outstanding contributions in a range of scientific, technological and artistic areas, and knowledge-based responses to the central challenges of the 21st century. The main objectives of the BBVA Foundation are the promotion of scientific knowledge and the transfer of it to society.

The International Prize Jury in the Climate Change Category is chaired by Prof. Bjorn Stevens, Director of the “Atmosphere in the Earth System” of the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology, in Hamburg.

More information

BBVA press release

Research on Sea-level rise Sea-level rise is also one of the World Climate Research Programmes Grand Science Challenges, an effort led by Prof. Detlef Stammer, Director of the Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability at the University of Hamburg. More formation on present research efforts to better assess sea level rise is provided on the web page of this initiative


Prof. Dr. Bjorn Stevens
Max Planck Institute for Meteorology
Phone: +49 40 41173 422 (Assistant Angela Gruber)
Email: bjorn.stevens@we dont want

Prof. Dr. Detlef Stammer
Center for Earth System Research and Sustainability (CEN)
Universität Hamburg
Phone: + 49 40 42838 5052
Email: detlef.stammer@we dont want