Richard S. Lindzen: The Independent Institute

The Power of Independent Thinking

Richard S. Lindzen
Richard S. Lindzen

Richard S. Lindzen is Professor Emeritus of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Professor Lindzen received his Ph.D. from Harvard University, and he is a contributor to numerous scholarly volumes and the author of more than 200 articles in scientific journals. He is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and the Science and Economic Advisory Council of the Annapolis Center for Science-Based Public Policy. He is also a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences, American Meteorological Society, American Geophysical Union, and American Association for the Advancement of Science.

In his work, Professor Lindzen is a dynamical meteorologist with interests in the broad topics of climate, planetary waves, monsoon meteorology, planetary atmospheres, and hydrodynamic instability. His research involves studies of the role of the tropics in mid-latitude weather and global heat transport, the moisture budget and its role in global change, the origins of ice ages, seasonal effects in atmospheric transport, stratospheric waves, and the observational determination of climate sensitivity. He has made major contributions to the development of the current theory for the Hadley Circulation, which dominates the atmospheric transport of heat and momentum from the tropics to higher latitudes, and has advanced the understanding of the role of small-scale gravity waves in producing the reversal of global temperature gradients at the mesopause. He pioneered the study of how ozone photochemistry, radiative transfer and dynamics interact with each other. He is currently studying the ways in which unstable eddies determine the pole to equator temperature difference, and the nonlinear equilibration of baroclinic instability and the contribution of such instabilities to global heat transport. He has also been developing a new approach to air-sea interaction in the tropics, and is actively involved in parameterizing the role of cumulus convection in heating and drying the atmosphere. He has developed models for the Earth’s climate with specific concern for the stability of the ice caps, the sensitivity to increases in CO2, the origin of the 100,000 year cycle in glaciation, and the maintenance of regional variations in climate. In cooperation with colleagues and students, he is developing a sophisticated, but computationally simple, climate model to test whether the proper treatment of cumulus convection will significantly reduce climate sensitivity to the increase of greenhouse gases.

Professor Lindzen is a recipient of the AMS’s Meisinger, and Charney Awards, and AGU’s Macelwane Medal. He has been a corresponding member of the NAS Committee on Human Rights, a member of the NRC Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, and a Fellow of the AAAS1. He is a consultant to the Global Modeling and Simulation Group at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and a Distinguished Visiting Scientist at California Institute of Technology’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.