Köppen Prize Awarded to Elias Zubler from Switzerland

14.01.2013

On Thursday, Dr. Elias Zubler received the Wladimir Peter Köppen Prize for his outstanding dissertation. The University of Hamburg’s Cluster of Excellence CliSAP’s prize is awarded annually to pioneering young researchers. Zubler’s research investigates the effect of aerosols on central Europe’s regional climate, making more accurate climate prognoses possible.

Zubler’s particular achievement was integrating the up to now largely neglected effect of aerosols into existing regional climate models. Fine particles in the atmosphere promote cloud formation and can as such influence both weather and climate.

Further, Zubler effectively demonstrated that, especially in the summer, aerosols can have a serious impact on precipitation in the Swiss Prealps. In some cases heavily polluted air produces only half as much precipitation, as he statistically proved. Prof. Dr. Hartmut Graßl, who presented the Prize, broke down this complex relationship into simpler terms: “In short: That means, in the past few decades, pollutants in the air have been more important than the accumulated greenhouse gases for climate change in central Europe.”

The 31-year-old prizewinner was clearly delighted and honored to receive the prestigious award and intends to use the prize money (5,000 Euros) to finance future research trips. The Prize was awarded in a special ceremony at the Cluster of Excellence’s New Year’s Reception.