Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, 59, dies; Weather disasters linked to climate change


The lack of peer review has made some in the scientific community uncomfortable, Dr Cullen said. “We were always trying to convince other scientists that it could be done,” she said, adding that Dr van Oldenborgh’s expertise and leadership was essential to be accepted.

Dr van Oldenborgh was born on October 22, 1961 in Rotterdam. Her father, Jan, was a lawyer; his mother, Wil Lijbrink, was a psychoanalyst. He studied in British Columbia before earning a master’s degree at Leiden University in the Netherlands and a doctorate at the University of Amsterdam, both in theoretical physics.

He is survived by his wife Mandy and his three sons Elwin, Leon and Ingo.

Dr van Oldenborgh arrived at the Meteorological Institute in 1996 as a postdoctoral researcher. Until then he had focused on particle physics, but at the institute he began to study El Niño, the recurring climatic phenomenon that affects weather all over the world.

“Climate research turned out to be much more suited to my personality and offered more possibilities, because it was a newer field and it was therefore easier to make important contributions,” he said. -he declares. in an interview last year. “It was also much easier to explain to the public, and the answers were more relevant to society.”

His early work at the institute included developing Climate explorer, an online platform through which anyone can analyze climate data. “It has probably been used by every meteorology or climatology student in the world,” said Dr Otto, who is now a lecturer at Imperial College London.

Dr van Oldenborgh quickly became interested in climate extremes, said Maarten van Aalst, director of the Red Cross and Red Crescent Climate Center, because these are extreme events, rather than gradual impacts like elevation from sea level, which affected most people, especially the poorest. areas.

“It changed the extremes we were interested in,” said Dr. van Aalst, who first worked with Dr. van Oldenborgh in the mid-2000s. “There was basically nothing about it in the literature. “


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