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Ruth Annette Reck

Ruth Reck
D.W. Brooks Lecture Date: 10/07/2008

About the Guest Speaker

Ruth Annette Reck made history at the age of 18 when she became the youngest person, at the time, to graduate from Minnesota State University. Earning her Bachelor of Arts degree in chemistry and mathematics at such an early age set the stage for Dr. Reck who continues to break new ground and set trends in the field of global environmental change.

After earning her Ph.D. from the University of Minnesota, Dr. Reck made history again by becoming the first person to put aerosols into a global radiative-convective climate model to demonstrate the effects of aerosol forcing on surface temperature relative to surface albedo, cloud height and aerosol size and optical properties. As a result of her aerosol studies, Dr. Reck became co-chair of an international working group which performed initial sensitivity tests of atmospheric models to the presence of aerosols and planned and coordinated future, more advanced, tests.

Her earlier research studies include the greenhouse effects of stratospheric ozone, chlorofluorocarbons, water vapor, and peroxyacytyl nitrate (air pollution) and the climate-chemical interactions between atmospheric trace gases. She was one of the initial modelers to perform sensitivity tests on cloud effects in climate models including the role of optical properties and cloud height.

In addition, she and her colleague, John Hummel, developed a 77,000 element surface albedo (reflectivity) model with more than 50 surface cover types which were incorporated in all the existing climate models at that time. They also edited a book published by the American Institute of Physics on the responsible interpretation of climate models. Throughout her career, Dr. Reck has written more than 200 invited papers, refereed journals publications, books, book chapters and reviews. 

Dr. Reck has actively provided leadership and vision in both the national and international global climate change community. She is a member of more than 40 national and international boards and has served as guest speaker at invited talks and seminars presented in the U.S., Asia (Japan, China, Korea), Europe and the U.K.

She has administered scientific research operations at six regional centers of the National Institute for Global Environmental Change: Harvard University (Harvard Forest), Tulane University, the University of Alabama, the University of Nebraska, Indiana University, and the University of California, Davis. She directed Global Climate Change Programs at Argonne National Laboratory and at General Motors Research Laboratories.

As global change director at ANL, Dr. Reck served on many National Research Council committees that investigated, among other areas, the effects of aviation and transportation on the atmosphere. While at General Motors she served as a U.S. representative to the Scientific Council on Problems of the Environment and was acting U.S. chair of the Science Advisory Board of the International Joint Commission between the U.S. and Canada.

For five years she was a principal investigator for the Department of Energy, studying the importance of day to day total column ozone variability on the troposphere and biosphere.

In addition to her research accomplishments, since 1991 Dr. Reck has served as a member of the Michigan Technological University Board of Regents. She is currently a professor of land, air and water resources at University of California-Davis.