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Fellows Directory

Wallace Broecker

Professor Wallace Broecker ForMemRS

Foreign Member


Elected: 2007

Biography

Wallace Broecker is a geochemist whose research has fundamentally revised scientific understanding of the interaction between the Earth’s atmosphere, land and oceans. His ‘ocean conveyor belt’ model of worldwide currents is central to understanding how atmospheric and oceanic carbon dioxide levels affect the global climate.

He pioneered ways of using radioactive dating and measurements of oceanic chemical composition to reveal the changes in ocean currents over the last three million years. In addition, his work has revealed the key processes that drove the beginning and end of recent ice ages. He currently focuses on research into carbon sequestration — the trapping and storing of carbon dioxide.

Wallace is active in promoting scientific and public understanding of ice age-defining processes. He co-authored the key textbook, Tracers in the Sea (1982), and has presented expert evidence to US congressional inquiries. Amongst Wallace’s many honours are the US National Medal of Science, which he was awarded by President Bill Clinton, and the 2006 Crafoord Prize in Geosciences.

Interests and expertise

Subject groups

Awards

  • Balzan Prize

    For science of climate change.

  • Blue Planet Prize

    No citation available for this award.

  • Crafoord Prize

    In the field of geosciences for research into the global carbon cycle.