CAS People

Kevin Trenberth, Vitae




    National Center for Atmospheric Research
    P. O. Box 3000
    Boulder, Colorado 80307


    8 November 1944, Christchurch, New Zealand


    Atmospheric Scientist; Senior scientist.
    Head, Climate Analysis Section, National Center for Atmospheric Research


    21 March 1970 to Gail N. Trenberth (nee Thompson)


    2 daughters


    B.Sc. (HONS First Class): 1966, University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand
    Sc.D.: 1972, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts


New Zealand Meteorological Service: 
     Junior forecaster, research1966-1968
     M.I.T. graduate student1968-1972
     Research meteorologist1972-1977
     Superintendent - dynamic meteorology1977
University of Illinois1977-1984
     Associate Professor of Meteorology1977-1982
     Professor of Meteorology1982-1984
     Adjunct Professor1984-1989
Editor, Monthly Weather Review1981-1987
Associate Editor, Monthly Weather Review1986-1988
Associate Editor, J. Climate1987-1995
Editor, Earth Interactions1996-1998
National Center for Atmospheric Research1984-
     Scientist III1984-1986
     Senior Scientist1986-
     Leader, Empirical Studies GroupJan 1987- 2008
     Leader, TOGA/CLIVAR activities1986-
     Head, Climate Analysis SectionOct 1987-2011
     Deputy Director, CGD1991-1995


Who's Who in America
Who's Who in American Men and Women of Science
Who's Who in Technology Today
Who's Who in Technology
Who's Who in Frontier Science and Technology
Who's Who in the West
Who's Who of Emerging Leaders in America
New Zealand Who's Who
Who's who in Australasia Pacific nations
The International Directory of Distinguished Leadership
Men of Achievement
International Leaders in Achievement
5,000 Personalities of the World
American Men and Women of Science
Dictionary of International Biography
Honored member Strathmore's Who's Who Registry
2000 Outstanding Scientists of the 20th Century
The Twentieth Century Award for Achievement
Featured as one of the top ten climate scientists, compiled by the Financial Times of London, 22 Nov 2009.


New Zealand Research Fellowship1968-1972
NSF research grants1978-1988
NOAA research grants1986-
NASA research grants1989-
Fellow American Meteorological Society1985-
Fellow American Association for the Advancement of Science1994-
Honorary Fellow Royal Society of New Zealand1995-
NCAR Best Publication Award Nominee1988, 1989, 1992, 1993, 1994, 2008, 2012
NCAR Outstanding Education Performance Award Nominee1996
NCAR Distinguished Achievement Award2003
Keuhnast annual lecture, Univ. Minnesota15 Oct. 1998
American Meteorological Society Editors Award (J. Climate)1989
Jule G. Charney award, American Meteorological Society2000
Highly Cited Researcher (top 25 Geosciences), ISI.May 2002
Symons Lecture, Royal Meteorological Society, London21 May 2004
Fellow American Geophysical UnionDec 2006
American Geophysical Union Editor's citation for excellence in reviewingMay 2007
Massachusetts Marine Educators award of Certificate of AppreciationMay 2007
Shared Nobel Peace Prize that went to the IPCC 2007Oct 2007
Yoshi Ogura Lecture, Univ. Illinois at Champaign-Urbana30 Apr 2008
Honorary Fellow of the Institute of Green Professionals15 Oct 2008
Prince Sultan Bin Abdualaziz International Prize for Water: Surface Water Prize
(joint award with Aiguo Dai for $133,000)
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia
January 2013
AGU's 2013 Climate Communication Prize ($25,000)'December 2013


Principal committees or panels

  • University of Illinois Senate, 1979-1984.
  • NCAR panel on NCAR Community Climate Model, 1980
  • NOAA-EPOCS (Equatorial Pacific Ocean Climate Studies) Advisory Panel, 1980-83.
  • NOAA-EPOCS council member, 1983-1985.
  • TOGA (NOAA, NSF) ad hoc proposal review panel, 6-8 February 1985
  • Science review of the Air Resources Laboratory of NOAA, 18-20 March 1987.
  • Member "NOAA Panel on Climate and Global Change", 1987-2006
    • Member Executive Council 1991-2006.
    • Renamed "NOAA Climate and Global Change Working Group" 2003-2005
    • Renamed "NOAA Climate Working Group" 2005-2006.
  • Member "Climate Trends Panel", National Climate Program Office, September 1988-1990.
  • Member "NOAA Panel on Climate and Global Change Working Group on Data Management" 1989-90.
  • Visiting lecturer; appointed to Graduate School, University of Colorado (May 1990).
    • Member Ph.D. committee, 1990-1992. Also 1994-2000.
  • Member Appointments Review Group, NCAR, January 1992-95.
  • Member Technical Advisory Committee "Reporters' Guide to Science of Global and Climate Change", October 1992-1994
  • Council Delegate American Association for the Advancement of Science, Section on Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences. (Elected) 1993-96
  • Member review panel, Mission to the Planet Earth (MTPE), NASA. June 15-18, 1993, Washington D.C.
  • Member Climate Modeling Analysis and Prediction (CMAP) Science Advisory Council. 1993-98.
  • Member Climate System Modeling Advisory Board, UCAR/NSF. 1998-2000.
  • UCAR Office for Interdisciplinary Earth Studies (OIES) Steering Committee, 1993-94.
  • Member Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies (COLA) Scientific Advisory Committee, 1994-99. Chair 1995, 1998-99.
  • Member of drafting group to define the International Research Institute for seasonal to interannual climate prediction Network Consultative Group (INCG). 1997.
  • Member NOAA Council on Long-term Monitoring, 1998-2003; reconstituted new name NOAA Climate Monitoring Working Group 2003-05.
  • Member review panel for NCEP Climate Prediction Center. 1997-98.
  • Member Scientific Steering Committee for 20th anniversary of the US-China bilateral workshop and symposium. 1999.
  • Member NOAA Climate Observing System Council. 1999-
  • Earth and Sky Radio Science advisor, 1999- .
  • Member NOAA Science Advisory Board Panel on Strategies for Climate Monitoring, 2000-01.
  • Member NOAA Science Advisory Panel for the Climate Change Data Detection (CCDD) program. 2001- .
  • Member Research Advisory Executive Committee for The Climate Report. Maryam Golnaraghi Editor. June 2001-03.
  • Lead author, with Tom Spence, on "Climate Observing System" for the Presidential Climate Change Research Initiative, August 2001.
  • Member committee to decide awardee of Latsis Prize (Europe). 2001.
  • Chairman, Byrd Polar Research Center External Review Team, 31 October, 1 November 2002, Columbus Ohio.
  • Member ad hoc UCAR panel workshop on "Integrated Earth System Observations", Smithsonian Inst. Washington D.C. 12-15 Aug, 2003.
  • Member organizing committee for the Workshop on Ongoing Analysis of the Climate System, 18-20 August 2003, Boulder, CO.
  • Member Climate Change Science Program reanalysis implementation plan working group 2004.
  • Member ad hoc NOAA working group on paleoclimate, 2003.
  • Member External Advisory Committee for Atmospheric Technology Division, NCAR 2004-05.
  • Member US Interagency Committee on Global Earth Observing System of Systems (GEOSS) 2004
  • Member NASA CERES Climate Model and Analysis Advisory Group 2003-
  • Member American Geophysical Union Revelle Medal Committee 2006-08
  • Chair, panel to review of NOAA's Climate Observations and Analysis Program, April 11-13, 2007. April 11-13, 2007" 35 pp.
  • Member, AGU panel on AGU position statement on data preservation and availability, 2008-2009.
  • Member, NASA MERRA Advisory Board, 2007-
  • Member at Large, American Association for the Advancement of Science, Section on Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences (Elected), 2009-2013.
  • Member AGU Climate Communication Prize committee 2015-2016
  • Member Protect Our Winter Science Alliance. 2014-


  • Committee to report on possible effects of halomethanes on the ozone layer (New Zealand), 1975.
  • Program committee of Australasian conference on Climate and Climatic Change. Monash University, Clayton, Victoria, Australia, 7-12 Dec. 1975.
  • Member for New Zealand on the working group of the Global Data Processing Systems of the Commission for Basic Systems of the World Meteorological Organization, 1976-77.
  • Member, Committee on Space Research (COSPAR) "Integrated Earth System Science Roadmap" Study Group; July 2013-
  • Member ISSI Working group on “Consistency of Integrated Observing Systems monitoring the energy flows in the Earth System” International Space Science Institute, Bern Switzerland, 2014-15.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)

  • Scientific Assessment of Climate Change, WMO/UNEP),
  • 1990, 1992: contributor, reviewer multiple chapters and volumes
  • 1995: WG I Convening Lead Author Chapter 1, Lead Author Technical Summary;
  • 2001: WG I Lead Author Chapter 7, Lead Author Technical Summary, Lead Author Summary for Policy Makers;
  • 2001 Synthesis Report: Lead Author;
  • 2007: WG I Coordinating Lead Author Chapter 3; contributor Technical Summary, Summary for Policy Makers.
  • 2007: WG II contributor and reviewer
  • 2013: WG I Review Editor (chapter 14).

World Climate Research Programme (WCRP)

  • TOGA: Member International Tropical Oceans Global Atmosphere Scientific Steering Group (SSG) 1989–94.
  • CLIVAR: International Climate Variability and Predictability (CLIVAR) Member SSG 1995–2004.
    • Member CLIVAR 2004 International Scientific Conference committee, 2002-04.
    • Member organizing committee for International CLIVAR workshop on Ocean Reanalysis 2004.
    • Co-chair CLIVAR SSG 1996–1999.
    • Co-chair “Consistency between planetary energy balance and ocean heat storage (CONCEPT-HEAT)” working group, 2014-
  • CLIVAR/PAGES/IPCC Workshop “A multi-millennia perspective on drought and implications for the future", Tucson, AZ November 18-21, 2003. Co-convener with Jon Overpeck.
  • JSC: Member Joint Scientific Committee 1999–2006. Officer (member Exec. Committee) 2003–2006.
  • WOAP: Chair WCRP Observation and Assimilation Panel (WOAP) 2004-2010.
    • Member Third International Reanalysis Conference organizing committee. 2006-08. Tokyo, Japan.
    • Member Fourth International Reanalysis Conference organizing committee. 2010-12. Maryland, USA.
  • WCRP Modeling Panel: Member 2004-09.
  • COPES: Member Task Force on Coordinated Observation and Prediction of the Earth System (COPES) 2003-04
  • GEWEX: Member Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment/Global Energy and Water Exchanges (GEWEX)
    • Scientific Steering Group 2007- 2014; Chair GEWEX SSG 2010-13; Co-chair Seventh International Scientific Conference on the Global Water and Energy Cycle, The Hague, The Netherlands, July 2014.
  • WCRP Open Science Conference committee member, 2009-2011 (held Denver October 2011).

Global Climate Observing System (GCOS)

  • Member Atmospheric Observation Panel for Climate of the Global Climate Observing System. 1994–99.
  • Lead Author and Member of team of experts to write
    • The Second Report on the Adequacy of the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC. 2002- 2003; (GCOS 82)
    • Implementation Plan for the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC, 2003-2004 (GCOS 92)
  • Progress Report on the Implementation of the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC 2004-2008, (GCOS-129)
    • Implementation Plan for the Global Observing System for Climate in Support of the UNFCCC, 2010 update (GCOS 138)
  • Member Scientific Committee Inter-American Meteorological Congress, Brasilia, 20–24 October 1986.
  • Member ECMWF ReAnalysis (ERA) Project Advisory Group. February 1993–2004.

American Meteorological Society

  • AMS Committee on Southern Hemisphere Meteorology, 1981–1986.
    • Member of program committee of First International Conference on Southern Hemisphere Meteorology, San Jose dos Campos, Brazil; 31 July–6 August 1983.
  • Program chairman Second International Conference on Southern Hemisphere Meteorology, 1984–1986.
  • Chairman, AMS Committee on the Southern Hemisphere, 1985–1987.
  • Member Program Committee of Third International Conference on Southern Hemisphere Meteorology and Oceanography, Buenos Aires, Argentina 13–17 November 1989.
  • Member Program Committee AMS Special Session on Climate Variations, Anaheim, CA 7–9 February 1990.
  • Member AMS Committee on Climate Variations, January 1991–1994.
  • Member AMS Committee on Atmospheric Research Awards Committee. 2001–2004.
  • Member, AMS Board on Global Strategies, Commission on the Weather and Climate Enterprise, August 2013-

National Academy of Sciences

  • Member of Committee on Earth Sciences of the Space Science Board, 1982–1985. [Co-author of: A Strategy for Earth Science from Space in the 1980's and 1990's Part II: Atmosphere and Interactions with the Solid Earth, Oceans, and Biota. National Academy Press, 1985, 149pp.]
  • Member TOGA Advisory Panel, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, 1984–1987. [Co-author of U.S. Participation in the TOGA Program. A Research Strategy. National Academy Press, 1986, 24pp.]
  • Member Polar Research Board 1986–1990.
  • Member Climate Research Committee, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, 1987–1990.
  • Member Global Ocean Atmosphere Land System (GOALS) Panel, 1994–98.
  • Corresponding member Panel on Climate Observing System Status, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, 1998–99.
  • Member Climate Research Committee Panel on Reconciling Temperature Observations. Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, 1999–2000.
  • Member Committee on Global Change Research, Division of Earth and Life Sciences. 1999–2002.
  • Member NRC Panel on “Evaluation of climate change indicators for EPA”. Washington D.C. 2004.
  • Member writing team “Climate Change: Evidence and Causes”, 33pp. National Academy Press


  • 310+ Keynote or invited talks in workshops or conferences 1996+
  • 121 invited general or public lectures
  • Participation in many other conferences and workshops.
  • Reviewer of papers for 540+ different journals, book publishers, WMO, IPCC, etc.
  • Reviewer of proposals for many agencies, boards, etc.
  • Many appearances on national and local television programs and news
  • Participation on radio talkback shows, and radio programs
  • Miscellaneous interviews for magazines and newspapers
  • Miscellaneous testimony


The total number of publications (June 2015) is 62 books or book chapters, 242 journal articles, 23 Tech. Notes, 120 proceedings or preprints, and 81 other articles, plus 4 videos and many blogs. On the Web of Science, there are over 24,746 citations and an H index of 72 (72 publications have 72 or more citations). On Google Scholar, there are > 44,592 citations and an H index of 91 (or 66 since 2010

Listed among the top 20 in highest citations in all of geophysics.

Recent Blogs

  • What caused the ‘pause’ in global warming?
    • The Conversation, US edition, 29 Oct. 2014.
  • Does global warming mean more or less snow?
    • The Conversation, US Edition, 30 Jan 2015
  • Study predicts multi-meter sea level rise this century, but not everyone agrees.
    • The Conversation, US Edition, 24 Jul 2015
    • everyone-agrees-45139?
  • Is the global warming ‘hiatus’ over?
    • The Conversation, US Edition, 14 August, 2015.

CGD People

Kevin Trenberth

CGD Distinguished Senior Scientist

Phone: 303.497.1318
Email: trenbert(at)