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Betts Scaife

Professor Betts and Professor Scaife

Awards for Exeter climate scientists

Two Exeter climate scientists have received prestigious awards from the Royal Meteorological Society (RMetS).

Professor Adam Scaife and Professor Richard Betts MBE, both of the University of Exeter and the Met Office, have won the Buchan Prize and the Climate Science Communications Award respectively.

The Buchan Prize recognises Professor Scaife’s recent work on the atmospheric dynamics behind seasonal predictions, published in Society journals and “adjudged to contain the most important original contribution or contributions to meteorology”.

Professor Betts’ award is for “outstanding scientific contributions in the field of climate science and proactive outreach activities to communicate climate science”, and RMetS notes that he “plays an important role by engaging widely with both environmentalists and sceptics, being trusted and respected by both”.

“Communicating the science of climate change is as challenging as it has ever been, maybe more so,” Professor Betts said.

“This is a vast, multi-disciplinary field with enormous implications for society, and research is being conducted within a context of growing public concern and heightened passions for climate action, along with controversy over proposed ways forward.

“Good decisions in reducing climate risks need a sound appreciation of current scientific knowledge, including areas of confidence and – crucially – areas where we are less certain about future outcomes.

“It is also critical for scientists to listen to others to understand how best to advise them.

“Discussing this amid the melee of different voices, views and motivations can be difficult, but also rewarding.

“I hope I’ve been of some help in cutting through the noise.”

Professor Scaife said: “I am truly delighted to receive the Society’s Buchan Prize and I’m deeply grateful for the acknowledgement that this implies.

“I would like to thank the scientists who made and supported the nomination and also acknowledge the Met Office for giving me the opportunity to pursue a research career in atmospheric science.

“There is nothing more rewarding than working for many months or even years on a topic to eventually unravel how some intriguing aspect of the climate system works, how to simulate it in our computer models or in some cases even demonstrate how to predict it.”

To find out more about the 18 winners of RMetS 2019 awards, visit

Date: 23 June 2020

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