At the young age of 30, Dr. William “Bill” Anderegg has already firmly established an international scientific reputation as a pioneer in global environmental change. His multiscale research in global environmental change links drought, tree mortality, and long-term climate change impacts on forests across regional-to-continental scales. Bill also understands the importance of conveying the consequences of global environmental changes to the public. He has made efforts to translate climate change science studies into terms that engage the public. These efforts help inform both the public and policy makers about the drivers of the massive tree mortalities occurring over vast stretches of the forest biomes in the western United States today.
Bill Anderegg’s novel research spans from cellular to ecosystem scales to address a most fundamental aspect of climate change and its biological consequences: How does drought impact forests and the carbon cycle? Forest ecosystems store almost half of the carbon in terrestrial ecosystems today. These ecosystems are not only sensitive to climate and climate-induced feedbacks, but latent heat transfer from forests has major impacts on regional-to-continental scale climates. Thus, understanding drought and drought-induced forest mortality has broad implications for climate-related thresholds. Bill’s approaches to tackle this multi-scale question include physiological tools to understand the mechanistic basis of a biological response, modeling that integrates both spatial and time considerations, and development of strong collaborative efforts that bring together the cross disciplinary teams essential to fully tackle this ecology-climate challenge.
Bill Anderegg is an exceptional young scientist who will definitely become a leader in studying biological aspects of climate change research. He already has the credentials and international stature to make him an outstanding recipient of the Global Environmental Change Early Career Award.
—Jim Ehleringer, University of Utah, Salt Lake City
Thank you, Jim, for your kind words. I am incredibly honored to be selected as the 2016 AGU Global Environmental Change Early Career (GEC) Award recipient. I want to thank AGU, the Global Environmental Change focus group, and Rong Fu. I would like to thank the wonderful mentors who have inspired me, including Jim Ehleringer, Steve Pacala, Chris Field, Joe Berry, Terry Root, and the late Steve Schneider. And I want to thank the many, many people who have made the research I do possible, including spectacular collaborators and students, and my family.
It’s particularly humbling to be chosen in the inaugural GEC Early Career Award. The GEC supports a number of important endeavors that have greatly enriched my work, including the Tyndall and Stephen Schneider Memorial Lectures. Without Steve Schneider’s mentorship and inspiration, I would not be standing here today, and the memorial lectures are the perfect way to continue his legacy of rigorous science and public engagement.
I remember my first experience as a graduate student at AGU very clearly because it felt like riding a tsunami of two emotions—excitement and awe. Awe that so many scientists existed…and they all gathered here! And excitement at the extraordinary research in global environmental change by all of you that both addresses foundational questions about how the world works and, more importantly, seeks answers to some of the urgent challenges facing society. While the awe has subsided slightly, one of the best parts of my year involves coming to AGU and feeling the wave of excitement from so much important science and so many amazing colleagues. I look forward to many more productive and enjoyable years interacting with and contributing to the GEC focus group and AGU.
—William Anderegg, University of Utah, Salt Lake City