Syukuro Manabe

Syukuro "Suki" Manabe (真鍋 淑郎, Manabe Shukurō, born September 21, 1931 in Ehime) is a meteorologist and climatologist who pioneered the use of computers to simulate global climate change and natural climate variations.

Syukuro Manabe
Syukuro Manabe at Crafoord Prize ceremony in Stockholm 2018
Born21 September 1931  (age 88)
Ehime Prefecture 

Scientific accomplishments

Working at NOAA's Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory, first in Washington, DC and later in Princeton, New Jersey, Manabe worked with director Joseph Smagorinsky to develop three-dimensional models of the atmosphere. As the first step, Manabe and Wetherald (1967) developed one-dimensional, single-column model of the atmosphere in radiative-convective equilibrium with positive feedback effect of water vapor. Using the model, they found that, in response to the change in atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide, temperature increases at the Earth's surface and in the troposphere, whereas it decreases in the stratosphere. The development of the radiative-convective model was a critically important step towards the development of comprehensive general circulation model of the atmosphere (Manabe et al. 1965). They used the model to simulate for the first time the three-dimensional response of temperature and the hydrologic cycle to increased carbon dioxide(Manabe and Wetherald, 1975). In 1969 Manabe and Bryan published the first simulations of the climate by a coupled ocean-atmosphere models, in which the general circulation model of the atmosphere is combined with that of ocean. Throughout the 1990s early 2000s, Manabe's research group published seminal papers using the coupled atmosphere ocean models to investigate the time-dependent response of climate to changing greenhouse gas concentrations of the atmosphere (Stouffer et al.,1989; Manabe et al., 1991 & 1992). They also applied the model to the study of past climate change, including the role of freshwater input to the North Atlantic Ocean as a potential cause of the so-called, abrupt climate change evident in the paleoclimatic record (Manabe and Stouffer,1995 & 2000).


Born in 1931, Manabe received a Ph.D. from the University of Tokyo in 1958 and came to the United States to work at the General Circulation Research Section of the U.S. Weather Bureau, now the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory of NOAA, continuing until 1997.[1][2][3] From 1997 to 2001, he worked at the Frontier Research System for Global Change in Japan serving as Director of the Global Warming Research Division. In 2002 he returned to the United States as a visiting research collaborator at the Program in Atmospheric and Oceanic Science, Princeton University. He currently serves as senior meteorologist at the university.

Awards and honors

Manabe is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences, and a foreign member of Japan Academy, Academia Europaea and the Royal Society of Canada.

In 1992, Manabe was the first recipient of the Blue Planet Prize of the Asahi Glass Foundation. In 1995, he received the Asahi Prize from Asahi News-Cultural Foundation. In 1997 Manabe was awarded the Volvo Environmental Prize from the Volvo Foundation. In 2015 Manabe was awarded Benjamin Franklin Medal of Franklin Institute. Manabe is a co-winner of BBVA Foundation Frontier of Knowledge Award for the achievement described below.

Manabe has also been honored with the American Meteorological Society’s Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal, the Second Half Century Award, and Meisinger Award. In addition, he is honored with the American Geophysical Union’s William Bowie Medal and Revelle Medal, and in 1998 received the Milutin Milankovic Medal from the European Geophysical Society.[1]

Manabe and Bryan's work in the development of the first global climate models has been selected as one of the Top Ten Breakthroughs to have occurred in NOAA's first 200 years.[2] In honor of his retirement from NOAA / GFDL, a three-day scientific meeting was held in Princeton, New Jersey in March 1998. It was titled "Understanding Climate Change: A Symposium in honor of Syukuro Manabe".[3] The 2005 annual meeting of American Meteorological Society included a special Suki Manabe Symposium.[4]

Manabe is co-winner with climatologist James Hansen of the BBVA Foundation Frontiers of Knowledge Award in the Climate Change category in this ninth edition (2016) of the awards. The two laureates were separately responsible for constructing the first computational models with the power to simulate climate behavior. Decades ago, they correctly predicted how much Earth’s temperature would rise due to increasing atmospheric CO2. The scores of models currently in use to chart climate evolution are heirs to those developed by Manabe and Hansen.

Manabe received the Crafoord Prize 2018 in Geosciences jointly with Susan Solomon "for fundamental contributions to understanding the role of atmospheric trace gases in Earth’s climate system".[5]

Selected publications

  • Manabe, S., J. Smagorinsky, and R.F. Strickler, 1965: Simulated climatology of a general circulation model with a hydrologic cycle. Monthly Weather Review, 93(12), 769-798.
  • Manabe, S., and R. T. Wetherald, 1967: Thermal equilibrium of the atmosphere with a given distribution of relative humidity. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 24 (3), 241-259.
  • Manabe, S. and K. Bryan, 1969: Climate Calculation with a combined ocean-atmosphere model. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 26(4), 786-789.
  • Manabe, S. and R.T. Wetherald, 1975: The effect of doubling of CO2 concentration in the atmosphere. Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, 32(1), 3-15.
  • Stouffer,R.J., S. Manabe,and K. Bryan, 1989: Interhemispheric Asymmetry in climate response to a gradual increase of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Nature, 342,660-662.
  • Manabe, S., R.J. Stouffer, M.J. Spelman, and K. Bryan, 1991: Transient response of coupled ocean-atmosphere model to gradual changes of atmospheric CO2. Part I: Annual mean response. Journal of climate, 4(8), 785-818.
  • Manabe, S., M.J. Spelman, and R.J. Stouffer, 1992: Transient response of a coupled ocean-atmosphere model to gradual increase of atmospheric CO2. Part II: Seasonal response. Journal of climate, 5(2): 105-126.
  • Manabe, S., and R. J. Stouffer, 1995: Simulation of abrupt climate change induced by freshwater input to the North Atlantic Ocean. Nature, 378, 165-167.
  • Manabe, S., and R.J. Stouffer, 2000: Study of abrupt climate Change by a coupled ocean-atmosphere model. Quaternary Science Reviews, 19: 285-299.


  1. "EGU - Awards & medals - Milutin Milankovic Medal". European Geosciences Union. Retrieved 18 May 2018.
  2. "Breakthrough article on the First Climate Model".
  3. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2005-04-08. Retrieved 2007-02-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  4. "The Suki Manabe Symposium (Compact View)". Retrieved 2016-07-06.
  5. "Crafoord Prize 2018". Retrieved 12 October 2018.
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