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Roger A. Pielke, Sr. (born October 22, 1946) is a climatologist with interests in climate variability and climate change, environmental vulnerability, numerical modeling, atmospheric dynamics, land/ocean - atmosphere interactions, and large eddy/turbulent boundary layer modeling. He particularly focuses on mesoscale weather and climate processes but also investigates on the global, regional, and microscale. Pielke is an ISI Highly Cited Researcher.


Pielke was awarded a B.A. in mathematics at Towson State Collegemarker in 1968, and then an M.S. and Ph.D. in meteorology at Pennsylvania State Universitymarker in 1969 and 1973, respectively.

From 1971-1974 he worked as a research scientist at the NOAA Experimental Meteorology Lab, from 1974-1981 he was an associate professor at the University of Virginiamarker, served the primary academic position of his career as a professor at Colorado State Universitymarker from 1981-2006, was deputy of CIRA at Colorado State University from 1985-1988, from 1999-2006 was Colorado State Climatologist, at Duke Universitymarker was a research professor from 2003-2006, and was a visiting professor at the University of Arizonamarker from October-December 2004. Since 2005, Piekle has served as Senior Research Scientist at the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES) at UC-Boulder and an emeritus professor of the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University. He retired from CSU and in post-retirement is a CIRES researcher.

Pielke has served as Chairman and Member of the American Meteorological Society Committee on Weather Forecasting and Analysis, as Chief Editor of Monthly Weather Review, was elected a Fellow of the American Meteorological Society in 1982 and a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union in 2004, has served as Editor-in-Chief of the US National Science Report to the International Union of Geodesy and Geophysics, as Co-Chief Editor of the Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences, and as Editor of Scientific Online Letters on the Atmosphere.

On climate change

Pielke has a somewhat nuanced position on climate change, which is sometimes taken for skepticism, a label that he explicitly renounces . He has said:

the evidence of a human fingerprint on the global and regional climate is incontrovertible as clearly illustrated in the National Research Council report and in our research papers (e.g. see [101243]

In this regard, Pielke has contributed to the scientific controversy on global warming, He has criticized the IPCC for its conclusions regarding CO2 and global warming and accused it of cherry picking data to support a selective view of the science[101244].

Pielke has made the following statements on his weblog:

  • The needed focus for the study of climate change and variability is on the regional and local scales. Global and zonally-averaged climate metrics would only be important to the extent that they provide useful information on these space scales.
  • Global and zonally-averaged surface temperature trend assessments, besides having major difficulties in terms of how this metric is diagnosed and analyzed, do not provide significant information on climate change and variability on the regional and local scales.
  • Global warming is not equivalent to climate change. Significant, societally important climate change, due to both natural- and human- climate forcings, can occur without any global warming or cooling.
  • The spatial pattern of ocean heat content change is the appropriate metric to assess climate system heat changes including global warming.
  • In terms of climate change and variability on the regional and local scale, the IPCC Reports, the CCSP Report on surface and tropospheric temperature trends, and the U.S. National Assessment have overstated the role of the radiative effect of the anthropogenic increase of CO2 relative to the role of the diversity of other human climate forcing on global warming, and more generally, on climate variability and change.
  • Global and regional climate models have not demonstrated skill at predicting climate change and variability on multi-decadal time scales.
  • Attempts to significantly influence regional and local-scale climate based on controlling CO2 emissions alone is an inadequate policy for this purpose.
  • A vulnerability paradigm, focused on regional and local societal and environmental resources of importance, is a more inclusive, useful, and scientifically robust framework to interact with policymakers, than is the focus on global multi-decadal climate predictions which are downscaled to the regional and local scales. The vulnerability paradigm permits the evaluation of the entire spectrum of risks associated with different social and environmental threats, including climate variability and change.
  • Humans are significantly altering the global climate, but in a variety of diverse ways beyond the radiative effect of carbon dioxide. The IPCC assessments have been too conservative in recognizing the importance of these human climate forcings as they alter regional and global climate. These assessments have also not communicated the inability of the models to accurately forecast the spread of possibilities of future climate. The forecasts, therefore, do not provide any skill in quantifying the impact of different mitigation strategies on the actual climate response that would occur. [101245]


Professor Pielke has published more than 300 scientific papers, 50 chapters in books, and co-edited 9 books. A listing of papers can be viewed at the Pielke Research Group website.

  • Pielke, R.A., 1984: Mesoscale Meteorological Modeling. 1st Edition, Academic Press, New York.
  • Pielke, R.A., 1990: The Hurricane. Routledge Press, London.
  • Cotton, W.R. and R.A. Pielke, 1995: Human impacts on weather and climate, Cambridge University Press, New York.
  • Pielke, R.A., 1995: A primer on weather and climate.
  • Pielke, R.A. and R.P. Pearce, Editors, 1994: Mesoscale modeling of the atmosphere. American Meteorological Society Monograph, Volume 25.
  • Pielke, R.A., Jr. and R.A. Pielke, Sr., 1997: Hurricanes: Their nature and impacts on society. John Wiley and Sons, England.
  • Pielke, R.A., Jr. and R.A. Pielke, Sr., Editors, 2000: Storms, Volumes I and II, Routledge Press, London.
  • Pielke, R.A, Sr.., 2002: Mesoscale meteorological modeling. 2nd Edition, Academic Press, San Diego, CA.
  • Kabat, P., Claussen, M., Dirmeyer, P.A., J.H.C. Gash, L. Bravo de Guenni, M. Meybeck, R.A. Pielke Sr., C.J. Vorosmarty, R.W.A. Hutjes, and S. Lutkemeier, Editors, 2002: Vegetation, water, humans and the climate: A new perspective on an interactive system. Global Change - The IGBP Series Springer


  1. SOLA : Scientific Online Letters on the Atmosphere

See also

  • Roger A. Pielke , his son, a political scientist also engaged in climate, science and policy.

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