Donald Wuebbles

Education

  • Ph.D. Atmospheric Sciences, University of California at Davis, 1983
  • M.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1972
  • B.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1970

Donald J. Wuebbles is the Harry E. Preble Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Illinois. He is also a Presidential Fellow at the University of Illinois, with the aim of helping the university system develop new initiatives in urban sustainability. From 2015 to early 2017, Dr. Wuebbles was Assistant Director with the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the Executive Office of the President in Washington DC, where he was the White House expert on climate science.  He was Head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois from 1994 to 2006. Dr. Wuebbles led the development of the School of Earth, Society, and Environment, and was its first director. While Department Head, he led the development of two highly successful undergraduate programs, one in Atmospheric Sciences, and the other, an interdisciplinary major, in Earth, Society and Environmental Sustainability (ESES).

Dr. Wuebbles is an expert in atmospheric physics and chemistry, with over 500 scientific publications related to the Earth’s climate, air quality, and the stratospheric ozone layer. However his work goes well beyond that through providing analyses and development of metrics used in national and international policy and in developing analyses for understanding climate impacts on society and ecosystems, plus potential resilience and societal responses. He has co-authored a number of international and national scientific assessments, including being a Coordinating Lead Author  on several international climate assessments led by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that resulted in IPCC being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He was a leader in both the 2013 IPCC international assessment of climate science and the 2014 3rd U.S. National Climate Assessment. More recently, he co-led the first volume of the 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment published in November 2017 that assesses the science of climate change and its effects on the United States, as required by the U.S. Congress under the 1990 Global Change Act. He also coauthored Volume 2 of the 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment, released in November 2018. He led a new assessment on the impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes that was published in March 2019.

Dr. Wuebbles has received several major awards, including the Cleveland Abbe Award from the American Meteorological Society, the Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and, in December 2018, received the Bert Bolin Global Environmental Change Award from the American Geophysical Union. He is a Fellow of three major professional science societies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Meteorological Society.

Dr. Wuebbles has two degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois (1970, 1972) and a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of California, Davis (1983).

Research Areas