Klaus Wolter
CIRES researcher Klaus Wolter of PSD receiving the award in May 2015 (Photo courtesy Royal Met. Soc.)

Klaus Wolter awarded International Journal of Climatology Prize for 2014

February 27, 2015

Dr. Klaus Wolter, a CIRES research scientist at the NOAA Earth System Research Laboratory’s Physical Sciences Division, has been awarded the Royal Meteorological Society’s International Journal of Climatology Prize for 2014. The award will be presented at a ceremony following the Royal Meteorological Society’s Annual General Meeting on Wednesday, May 20, 2015.

Wolter is being recognized for his work on the Multivariate El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) Index (MEI). His 2011 study published in the International Journal of Climatology with Michael S. Timlin became one of the most influential recent papers in the journal, with the current number of citations exceeding 170. The significance of this work on the extended MEI is that it allows for the historical definition of ENSO events far back in the instrumental record and provides a more complete and flexible description of the complex ENSO phenomenon than any single-variable ENSO index. The newly-proposed index enabled the extension of the historical analysis of ENSO dating back to 1871. The study demonstrates that ENSO was as active in the late 19th century as it has been recently and established a strong relationship between the amplitudes of ENSO events on one hand, and their duration and spacing in time on the other.

Wolter has worked at CIRES and NOAA for the past 27 years. His research interests include empirical climate research, in particular the application of statistical methods to climate problems, such as the impact of ENSO on worldwide climate. In recent years, he has also been involved in the analysis and prediction of U.S. climate, working with the Western Water Assessment (WWA) and the National Integrated Drought Information System (NIDIS). He has been part of several recent regional and national assessments of extreme climate events as well as overall climate change, and has developed statistical tools for making seasonal climate predictions.

Wolter, K. and Timlin, M. S. (June 2011): El Niño/Southern Oscillation behaviour since 1871 as diagnosed in an extended multivariate ENSO index (MEI.ext). Int. J. Climatol., 31 1074–1087. doi: 10.1002/joc.2336