The 1996 Milutin Milankovic Medal is awarded to Lennart Bengtsson for his exceptional contributions to numerical weather prediction and climate modelling and his leading role in the establishment of the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts.
Lennart Bengtsson received his formal education as a meteorologist at the University of Stockholm and the University of Uppsala, where he was assistant to Professor T. Bergeron. His Ph.D. was in the field of Dynamic Meteorology. His passion for meteorology was the foundation for his career during which he has worked in the fields of operational numerical weather prediction and, more recently, in the field of climate modelling. He had spent several years in a research environment and the operational service in Sweden, where he built up the NWP department at SMHI (Swedish Meteorological and Hydrological Institute), before he became involved in the planning and implementation of the European Centre for Medium Range Weather Fore-casts (ECMWF). As head of the Research Department and later Director of ECMWF his research interest focussed on data assimilation systems. He took part in the Global Weather Experiment and in this capacity he was most aware of the problem of the collection of data for meteorological and oceanographic purposes and supported international cooperation and exchange of data.
In the 1980s the scientific community became more aware of the variability and the anthropogenic influence in the climate system. Here numerical modelling of the atmosphere (and subsequently the other components of the climate system) became an essential tool. With his back-ground in meteorology, numerical modelling and an interest in the application of large-scale computers. Bengtsson provided assistance and his experience to the climate modelling community. He became a Director of the Department of Numerical Modelling of the Climate System at the Max-Planck-Institut in Hamburg in 1991. Since then he has established a research group which has received world-wide recognition.
Bengtsson has also been a leading force in setting up the CLIVAR programme on Climate Variability and Predict-ability. He is currently involved in the Scientific Steering Groups for CLIVAR and BALTEX (Baltic Sea Experiment of GEWEX, the Global Energy and Water Cycle Experiment). He is a member of the Joint Scientific Committee for the Global Climate Observing System. Bengtsson has published more than 80 papers on numerical weather prediction, data assimilation and climate modelling and he has been chairman of various working groups and scientific steering groups in the field of climate modelling.
A. Berger and G. Sommeria
Newsletter 59,36, 1996