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Obituary

Climate Science Pioneer Geert Jan van Oldenborgh Dies

Van Oldenborgh helped make extreme-weather analysis a global phenomenon

Geert Jan van Oldenborgh
Geert Jan van OldenborghPhotographer: Werry Crone

As heat waves, storms, floods, and droughts intensified over the last several years, so has the ability of scientists to estimate how much likelier or worse climate change made each them. Geert Jan van Oldenborgh, a Dutch climate scientist who was a driving force behind this breakthrough work, died Oct. 12 after an eight-year fight against cancer. He was 59. 

Just a decade ago, there was a vast disconnect between a public curious about whether greenhouse gases influenced weather and scientists who scoffed at the question. Attending a meeting in 2012 to develop an EU science proposal, van Oldenborgh told colleagues he thought they should add real-time climate analysis to their priorities list.