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Donald J. Wuebbles is a distinguished research scientist at the Discovery Partners Institute and  emeritus professor of atmospheric science at the University of Illinois. He is also director of climate science for Earth Knowledge Inc., a company that provides data-derived insights on climate and weather. From 2015 to 2017, Dr. Wuebbles was assistant director with the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the Executive Office of the President. After many years at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Dr. Wuebbles came to the University of Illinois Urbana Champaign as professor and head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences in 1994. He also led the development of the School of Earth, Society and Environment at the university and was its first director. An expert in atmospheric physics and chemistry, with over 500 scientific publications related to the Earth’s climate, air quality and stratospheric ozone, he also provides analyses and development of metrics for translating science to policy and societal responses. He has been a leader in many international and national scientific assessments, including a coordinating lead author on international climate assessments led by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), thus contributing to IPCC being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He co-led Volume 1 of the 2017 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment. Amongst his major awards, Dr. Wuebbles has received the Cleveland Abbe Award from the American Meteorological Society, the Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Bert Bolin Global Environmental Change Award from the American Geophysical Union. He is a fellow of three major professional science societies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union and the American Meteorological Society. He was a member of the joint U.S. National Academy of Science and UK Royal Society Committee on Climate Change that wrote Climate Change: Evidence and Causes in 2104 and updated it in 2020. He led special assessments of climate change and its impacts on the Great Lakes region, and on Illinois in 2019 and 2021, respectively. He also coauthored the 2021 Climate Action Plan for the Chicago Region. In 2022, he chaired a committee for the National Academy of Sciences that wrote a special report on a framework for greenhouse gas emissions inventories being used in consideration of policies to reduce the emissions affecting climate change.

Research Interests

  • Global climate modeling and analyses: Global-scale modeling studies to understand relevant processes and the impacts of human activities. Includes climate-chemistry interactions.
  • Local to regional climate analyses: Downscaling of climate analyses. Interactions between the processes affecting the atmosphere, land, large bodies of water, lake breeze, Urban Heat Island effects, land data assimilation, hydrometeorological extremes
  • Emissions inventories: Issues associated with emissions of gasses and particles affecting climate and atmospheric chemistry
  • Climate impacts, adaptation and mitigation: Climate policy development; translating science to policy, ethics in climate science
  • Global atmospheric chemistry and physics: Modeling processes affecting global atmospheric composition
  • Air quality modeling: Meteorology and atmospheric chemistry processes and interactions affecting surface air quality and associated health effects

Research Areas


  • Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences, University of California, Davis, 1983
  • Master’s degree in electrical engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1972
  • Bachelor’s degree in electrical engineering, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, 1970


Selected Awards and Honors

  • Personalized plaque for contributions to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (for serving as coordinating lead author and making other contributions to a number of international assessments relating to climate change)
  • 2021 ASLI CHOICE Best Book Award in category of science and technology for our book, “Downscaling Techniques for High-Resolution Climate Projections: From Global Change to Local Impacts” (Awarded 2022)
  • 2018 Bert Bolin Global Environmental Change Award, American Geophysical Union, (2018)
  • Presidential Fellow, University of Illinois (2017-present)
  • 2014 Choice Outstanding Academic Title Award from the American Library Association for the coauthored book “Engineering Response to Climate Change” (awarded in 2015)
  • 2014 Cleveland Abbe Award, American Meteorological Society ( 2014)
  • Cozzarelli Prize from the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences for Lin et al. paper (2014)
  • Stephen Schneider Lecture and Award, American Geophysical Union (2015)
  • Fellow, American Meteorological Society ( 2011)
  • Fellow, American Geophysical Union (2009)
  • Fellow, American Association for the Advancement of Science ( 2007)


Additional Campus Affiliations

  • Harry E. Preble Emeritus Professor, Department of Atmospheric Sciences, UIUC
  • Presidential Fellow, University of Illinois System
  • Director, Center for Urban Resilience and Environmental Sustainability


In The News

  • Interviewed multiple times each week, on average, by newspapers, magazines, television and radio


Recent Publications

  • Sanyal, S., and D. Wuebbles, 2022: The potential impact of a clean energy society on air quality. Earth’s Future, 10,
  • Zhang, J., D. Wuebbles, D. Kinnison, and S. L. Baughcum, 2021: Stratospheric ozone and climate forcing sensitivity to cruise altitudes for fleets of potential supersonic transport aircraft. J. Geophys. Res., 126, e2021JD034971,
  • Wuebbles, D. J., 2022: The future of travel and tourism in the changing climate. International Affairs Forum, 14, 1, 18-13, March 22.
  • National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (Chair of Committee and Author), 2022: Greenhouse Gas Emissions Information for Decision Making: A Framework Going Forward. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press,
  • Wuebbles, D. J., 2021: Ethics in climate change: A climate scientist’s perspective. Chapter in Geoethics: Status and Future Perspectives. Editors: G. Di Capua, P. T. Bobrowsky, S. W. Kieffer, and C. Palinkas. The Geological Society, London.
  • Wuebbles, D., J. Angel, K. Peterson, A. M. Lemke, 2021: An Assessment of the Impacts of Climate Change in Illinois. The Nature Conservancy.
  • Wuebbles, D. J., et al., 2019: An Assessment of the Impacts of Climate Change on the Great Lakes. Environmental Law and Policy Center, 70 pp., Available at
  • Wuebbles, D. J., 2019: A scientist’s view on climate and the courts. The Environmental Forum, Environmental Law Institute, 36, 27.
  • USGCRP, 2017: Climate Science Special Report: Fourth National Climate Assessment, Volume I [Wuebbles, D.J., D.W. Fahey, K.A. Hibbard, D.J. Dokken, B.C. Stewart, and T.K. Maycock (eds.)]. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, D.C.

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