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NOAA Research scientist Stephen Montzka named 2022 AAAS Fellow
Theo Stein
/ Categories: NOAA, Research Headlines

NOAA Research scientist Stephen Montzka named 2022 AAAS Fellow

NOAA’s Stephen Montzka, of the Global Monitoring Laboratory, was named today as a 2022 Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

Election as an AAAS Fellow is an honor bestowed upon AAAS members by their peers to recognize their efforts to advance science or its applications. Montzka is among the more than 500 scientists, engineers, and innovators who have been elected 2022 Fellows.

Montzka, senior scientist for the Global Monitoring Laboratory, is recognized for his distinguished contributions to the field of atmospheric sciences, particularly for measuring and interpreting trends in greenhouse gas and ozone-depleting substance concentrations worldwide. He is among 26 AAAS Fellows elected from NOAA since 1976. 

In his more than 30-year career at NOAA, Montzka has developed important records of global trace-gas concentrations related to ozone depletion, climate change, and air quality, addressing key issues in atmospheric science and informing international environmental policy.

His research includes a study documenting a peak in ozone-depleting gas concentrations in the mid-1990s following the adoption of the Montreal Protocol, the international treaty tasked with ensuring stratospheric ozone layer recovery.

Montzka led a team that detected a 2012-2018 increase in emissions of the banned ozone-destroying chemical CFC-11, a substantial violation of the Montreal Protocol. In follow-up investigations, he and his colleagues found that eastern China was responsible for most of the rising emissions. In a pair of 2021 Nature papers, they documented the subsequent decline in CFC-11 emissions globally and from eastern China between 2018 and 2019. The team’s work indicates that efforts to address the first known substantive violation of the Montreal Protocol are successful.b

He as also influential in developing the rationale for controlling hydrochloroflurocarbons, or HFCs, which were developed to replace CFCs but also proved to be super-potent greenhouse gases. Those controls were incorporated into the Montreal Protocol as the Kigali Amendment

Recently, Montzka guided a collaboration between NOAA and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to enable the inclusion of NOAA’s measurement-derived estimates of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S. Inventory of Greenhouse Gas Emissions and Sinks. 

He has also led chapters in scientific assessment reports for multiple international and national scientific assessments related to ozone depletion and climate change, and he regularly briefs the U.S. State Department and EPA, as well as the Parties to the Montreal Protocol.  

Recognition for Montzka’s scientific work includes a Department of Commerce Gold Medal and two Silver Medals, and a Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the U.S. EPA. In 2019, NOAA Research recognized Montzka with the Daniel L. Albritton Outstanding Science Communicator Award. 

Montzka is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, CIRES, and now AAAS. 

Montzka and the other newly elected AAAS Fellows will be honored for their achievements at an in-person celebration in Washington, D.C. this spring. The new class will also be formally announced in the AAAS News & Notes section of Science magazine in February 2023.

For more information, contact Karin Vergoth at the Global Monitoring Laboratory:

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Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA Research" - provides the research foundation for understanding the complex systems that support our planet. Working in partnership with other organizational units of the NOAA, a bureau of the Department of Commerce, NOAA Research enables better forecasts, earlier warnings for natural disasters, and a greater understanding of the Earth. Our role is to provide unbiased science to better manage the environment, nationally, and globally.


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