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Climate Communications Prize

Information on the Climate Communication Prize

The Climate Communication Prize is given annually to a scientist in recognition for the communication of climate science to promote scientific literacy, clarity of message, and efforts to foster respect and understanding of science-based values, particularly around climate change. Successful candidates work in a climate science field and have had significant impact communicating about climate science with the general public and other non-scientists.

Previously funded through the generosity of Nature's Own of Boulder, Colorado, this prize was established in 2011 to highlight the importance of increasing awareness and understanding of climate science. The Climate Communication Prize honors an established career track record of climate communication, or a more specific communication campaign around climate science.

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Prize benefits

AGU is proud to recognize our honorees. Recipients of the Climate Communication Prize will receive an engraved award, as well as the following benefits:

  • 1
    A monetary prize
  • 2
    Recognition in Eos
  • 3
    Recognition at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year
  • 4
    Two complimentary tickets to the Honors Banquet at the AGU Fall Meeting during the award presentation year


To better understand eligibility for nominators, supporters and Climate Communication Prize Committee members, review AGU’s Honors Conflict of Interest Policy.

  • 1
    Nominees: The nominee should be an early career, middle career, or senior scientist, and is required to be an active AGU member. They should be in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Policy.
  • 2
    Nominators: Nominators are not required to be active AGU members, but must be in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Policy. Duplicate nominations for the same individual will not be accepted. However, one co-nominator is permitted (but not required) per nomination.
  • 3
    Supporters: Individuals who write letters of support for the nominee are not required to be active AGU members but must be in compliance with the Conflict of Interest Policy.
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Nomination package

Your nomination package must contain all of the following files, which should be no more than two pages in length per document. For detailed information on the requirements, review the Union Awards, Medals and Prizes Frequently Asked Questions.

  • A nomination letter with one-sentence citation (150 characters or less). Letterhead stationery is preferred. Nominator’s name, title, institution, and contact information are required. The citation should appear at either the beginning or end of the nomination letter.
  • A curriculum vitae for the nominee. Include the candidate’s name, address and email, history of employment, degrees, research experience, honors, memberships, and service to the community through committee work, advisory boards, etc.
  • A selected bibliography stating the total number, the types of publications and the number published by AGU.
  • Three letters of support not including the nomination letter. Letterhead is preferred. Supporter’s name, title, institution, and contact information are required.

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Criteria for a successful nomination

The prize is for a scientist (as opposed to a person whose primary occupation is communication even if the background is science). It is open to all section affiliations. There are a variety of definitions for climate science (oceanography, biogeochemical cycles, etc.) We want to cast a wide net but need to limit selection to scientist whose work is in a climate relevant field. Credibility in the wider climate science field is critical.

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The prize should emphasize communication to the public in addition to professional communication with the science community:

  • Communicating with the public means communicating with news and other media, lay public, policy and decision makers.
  • Consider how the nominee makes innovative use of communication tools (social media, visualization technology), understanding the psychology of communication.

What does high impact climate communication look like? What are some informal metrics for accessing public communication?

  • Someone who is continually sought out by the media, testifying before Congress
  • Someone who has successfully framed climate issues that have been picked up by others (e.g. look at extreme events in the context of climate change)
  • Someone who has changed the dialogue of climate change (e.g. had impact in communities that traditionally don’t consider or accept climate change)
  • Consider recognizing a sustained record of communication or a specific high impact activity

Nominations are Open!

The nomination cycle for 2022 AGU Union awards, medals, and prizes is now open until 15 April. Nominate a colleague, peer or student today.

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Past Recipients

Name Year of honor
Jennifer A. Francis 2020
J. Marshall Shepherd 2019
Michael E. Mann 2018
Stefan Rahmstorf 2017
Richard B. Alley 2016
Richard C.J. Somerville 2015
Katharine Hayhoe 2014
Kevin E. Trenberth 2013
Jeffrey T. Kiehl 2012
Gavin A. Schmidt 2011



Honors Contacts

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Artesha Moore

Vice President, Affiliation, Engagement & Membership

202-777-7530 | [email protected]

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Leah Bland

Program Manager, Honors

202-777-7389 | [email protected]

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Antonio Covington

Program Specialist, Section Awards and Lectures

202-777-7484 | [email protected]