JOHN KUTZBACH - 1937-2021

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JOHN KUTZBACH - 1937-2021

Tribute from his university:

And below is a message from Bette Otto-Bliesner of the PMIP community:


I am writing to let you know that John Kutzbach died last Friday of cancer at the age of 83.



Many of you may know John from his participation in PMIP.

John was Professor Emeritus in the Department of Atmospheric and Oceanic Sciences and former Director of the Center for Climatic Research at University of Wisconsin-Madison

His career centered around using climate models to study past, present, and future climates. His colleagues at the university shared that “Prof. Kutzbach’s pioneering use of general circulation models for climate research broke ground for future generations of climate scientists to study past, present and future aspects of our earth system. Further his interdisciplinary work with geologists, geochemists, paleoecologists, glaciologists, archeologists, and hydrologists, helped identify and ultimately improve the quality of the output of the climate models that current earth system scientists use to develop climate projections." 

"In recent years his work has focused on the impacts of climate and climate change on natural resources and society, past climates and past environments, how humans have contributed to climate change, and present-day climate variability and simulations of future climate changes.”

In 2006, AGU awarded him the Roger Revelle Medal citing his body of work that “forms a large part of the framework of our current understanding of past climates.” He was a member of the National Academy of Sciences and Fellow of AGU, AMS, and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

On a personal note, John started me, soon after my PhD, on modeling past climates, a rewarding focus that has taken me down a path of many new and intriguing challenges and exciting interdisciplinary collaborations. He was a mentor, a colleague, and a friend.

John is survived by his wife, Professor Gisela Hanebuth Kutzbach, their three children and six grandchildren.

With very fond memories,



Bette L. Otto-Bliesner
Email: [email protected]