Experts' profiles - Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan
Dr. Veerabhadran Ramanathan

Champion of the Earth Laureate
Dr. Ramanathan is a Distinguished Professor at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, UCSD. In the 1970s, he discovered the greenhouse effect of CFCs and numerous other manmade trace gases, and forecasted in 1980, along with R. Madden, that the global warming would be detectable by the year 2000. He, along with Paul Crutzen, led an international team that first discovered the widespread Atmospheric Brown Clouds (ABCs).

Dr. Ramanathan showed that ABCs led to large scale dimming, decreased monsoon rainfall and rice harvest in India and played a dominant role in the melting of the Himalayan glaciers. His team developed unmanned aerial vehicles with miniaturized instruments to measure black carbon in soot over South Asia and to track pollution from Beijing during the Olympics. He has estimated that reduction of black carbon can reduce global warming significantly and is following this up with the climate mitigation Project Surya which aims at reducing soot emissions from bio-fuel cooking in rural India.

Surya has successfully completed a pilot phase in a North Indian village with a population of 2,500. It is now embarking on the demonstration phase in which it will adopt a rural area of approximately 100 square kilometers with around 50,000 people in the most densely populated Indo-Gangetic Plains of India. Within this area, Surya plans to replace traditional cooking methods with less polluting options that utilize renewable or cleaner fuels. The pilot phase of Project Surya was sponsored by UNEP. Surya aims to make its approach to climate mitigation a government policy through UNEP's policy wing.

Dr. Ramanathan also chaired a National Academy report that calls for a major restructuring of the Climate Change Science Program and it was received favourably by the Obama administration.
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