Veerabhadran Ramanathan is a distinguished professor emeritus of Atmospheric and Climate Sciences at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UC San Diego. In 1975, he discovered the super greenhouse effect of Chlorofluorocarbons (also known as 'freons' used as refrigerants). Along with R. Madden, he predicted in 1980 that global warming would be detected by 2000. In 1989, he led a NASA study that used satellite instruments to show that clouds had a large global cooling effect. He led an international field experiment with Paul Crutzen in the 1990s that discovered the widespread Atmospheric Brown Clouds (ABCs) over S. Asia, which have devastating health and climate impacts. He developed light-weight remotely piloted aircraft (RPA) to track pollution plumes from S. Asia, E. Asia, and N. America. His most recent discovery is that mitigation of short-lived climate pollutants (black carbon, methane, ozone, and HFCs) will slow down global warming significantly during this century. The United Nations and 30 countries, including the United States, have now adopted this proposal and a new coalition, called the Climate and Clean Air Coalition, is implementing mitigation actions for short-lived climate pollutants. He advised then-Governor Jerry Brown to pass a bill to drastically reduce emissions of short-lived climate pollutants in California. He founded Project Surya, to mitigate black carbon and other climate-warming emissions from solid biomass cooking in S. Asia and Kenya, and is documenting their effects on public health and the environment. At the University of California (UC), he led the most ambitious effort of his career: Bending the Curve: Climate Change Solutions. The Bending the Curve report, written with fifty leading academics at UC, outlines ten interdisciplinary solutions to the climate problem. He followed this with an undergraduate educational protocol, named Bending the Curve: Climate Solutions, to educate a million climate warriors and climate stewards, which is being taught at many campuses in the US and abroad. He was honored in 2021 with the Blue Planet Prize and in 2018 became the Tang laureate for Sustainability Science. In 2014, Foreign Policy Journal included Ramanathan among the top 100 Thought Leaders of the world. In 2013, he was awarded the top environmental prize from the United Nations, the Champion of Earth for Science and Innovation [www.unep.org/champions]. He has won numerous other prestigious awards, including the Tyler Prize, which is the top environment prize given in the US; the Volvo Prize; the Rossby Prize, and the Zayed Prize. He has been elected to the US National Academy of Sciences, American Philosophical Society, the Pontifical Academy by Pope John Paul II, The World Academy of Sciences, and the Indian National Science Academy. In 2011, he was elected to the Royal Swedish Academy of Sciences, which nominates and awards the Nobel Prizes in the science categories. He is now serving in Pope Francis’ Council for the Pontifical Academy of Sciences. At the Vatican, he co-organized a 2014 historic Vatican meeting on “Sustainable Humanity, Sustainable Nature” of social and natural scientists, philosophers, and policymakers. He briefed Pope Francis in person on the highlights of the meeting. He was the science advisor to Pope Francis' Holy See delegation to the Paris climate summit. He is now leading a Pontifical Academy initiative at the Vatican titled: "Resilience of People and Ecosystems under Climate Stress."
Atmospheric Science, Climatology, Indigenous, Aboriginal, and/or Local Community Engagement, Oceanography, Ocean Sciences, Science Communication Studies (SciComm), Science and Technology Policy and Advocacy