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the illustrious career of the late Roger Revelle, a long-time NAS member and contributor to many NRC activities. The paper by Walter Munk that follows presents a detailed description of Revelle’s career.
My contacts with Roger Revelle, although less intimate than Walter Munk’s, spanned nearly four decades, and left on me an indelible impression of one of the great figures in post-World War II science. Roger believed that science should be not only useful, but also enjoyable; that scientists should be held in high regard and should be allowed to follow their own leads in the quest for scientific knowledge with as much freedom as possible. Roger began his career as a chemist studying carbon in the oceans. During the years that I knew him he maintained an interest in the global carbon cycle, while making highly significant contributions in several other fields.
It has been a great pleasure for me to have taken part in this colloquium on a subject in which Roger took keen interest throughout his career. He would have enjoyed attending, and we would have benefited from his wisdom as many of us did during his lifetime. With only our memories of him we have nevertheless tried to live up to his standards by steadfastly addressing important topics in a manner both useful and enjoyable.
Fifteen refereed articles are included in this volume. Some of these papers review previous studies, while others present new data and analyses. All address topics in which Roger was keenly interested: (i) the extent to which climate is changing owing to both natural causes and human activities, (ii) whether these changes, in part, are long-term manifestations of increasing carbon dioxide, and (iii) how the oceans, terrestrial plants and soils, and atmosphere function in general as a necessary foundation for exploring the first two topics. The spirit of this offering is to advance knowledge so that all people will have a rational basis for dealing with environmental problems, especially those that mankind may have created. This mission is consistent with Revelle’s optimistic belief that the human race, given the opportunity through enlightenment, will naturally serve its own best interests, and that people able to contribute to this enlightenment will do so zealously and unselfishly, as Roger did.
Special thanks are owed to the committee that assisted me in planning this colloquium and in handling the review process: Peter Brewer, Ellen Druffel, Edward Frieman, Robert Knox, Walter Munk, Taro Takahashi, and Karl Turekian.
In addition to funding from the NAS, the colloquium was supported by five federal agencies: the National Science Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, the Office of Naval Research, the U.S. Department of Energy, and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. The planning committee members are grateful for this support and to Neil Andersen, formerly of the National Science Foundation, who played a key coordinating role. We also thank the National Research Council’s Ocean Studies Board (OSB) and its staff, who helped us to make this colloquium a success, especially Ed Urban of the NRC for assistance in very many aspects of the preparation for the meeting and this volume of papers. Roger Revelle’s significant positive influence on the NRC and OSB over many years was demonstrated by the NRC staff’s enthusiasm for and dedication to this enterprise.
1. National Research Council ( 1996 ) Natural Climate Variability on Decade-to-Century Time Scales ( National Academy Press , Washington, DC ).
2. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change ( 1996 ) in Climate Change 1995: The Science of Climate Change , eds. Houghton, J. T. , Meira Filho, L. G. , Callander, B. A. , Harris, N. , Kattenberg, A. & Maskell, K. ( Cambridge Univ. Press , New York ), p. 17 .