Mikhail Budyko's (1920-2001) contributions to Global Climate Science: from heat balances to climate change and global ecology

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Mikhail Ivanovich Budyko (1920–2001) was a Soviet climatologist perhaps best known in the West for his contribution to understandings of climate change. He acted as director of the Main Geophysical Observatory (named after A.I. Voeikov) in Leningrad (St Petersburg) from 1954 and played an active role in advancing Soviet climate agendas within an international context. Three main stages in the development of Budyko's work related to climate systems and global ecology (late 1940s-mid 1980s) are identified. The first period encompasses his early efforts devoted to understanding and quantifying the interrelationship between the lower atmosphere and the earth's surface. This stage of his career was also characterized by a growing interest in regional- and global-scale processes, and was underpinned by collaborative work involving climatologists, physical geographers, and other cognate scientists. The second stage highlights the broadening of his global interest in order to engage more deeply with both natural and anthropogenic climatic and environmental change. The third stage reflects on the development of his expansive and evolutionary approach to the biosphere, and his insight into the formative role of climate with respect to the functioning of physical and biological processes. Furthermore, this later work also exhibited a strong belief in the ability of humankind to reflect wisely on its growing influence on the physical environment and respond appropriately.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682–692
JournalWiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Climate Change
Issue number5
Early online date24 Jun 2016
Publication statusPublished - 18 Aug 2016


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