Sue Grimmond and Larry Mahrt receive the Zilitinkevich Memorial Award 2023

The Sergej Zilitinkevich Memorial Award Nomination Committee is pleased to announce that the 2023 Award is  awarded to two candidates:

Professor Christine Susan Betham Grimmond, Dept. Meteorology, School of Mathematical, Physical and Computational Sciences (SMPCS), University of Reading, Reading RG6 6ET
Professor Emeritus, Larry Mahrt, College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, Oregon State, University, Corvallis, Oregon. Senior Research Scientist, NorthWest Research Associates, Redmond, WA.

The award ceremony, which will include an award lecture by Sue Grimmond, will be held in the framework of the Annual Meeting of the EMS in Bratislava, Slovakia, 3 – 9 September 2023, namely in the session “Atmospheric boundary-layer processes, turbulence and land-atmosphere interactions”: . Unfortunately, Larry Mahrt cannot deliver an award lecture.

  • Sue Grimmond’s Award Lecture: “Simplicity and complexity trade-offs in modelling urban-atmosphere”

Times of the award lectures will become available by 30 June in the UP1.2 session programme.

The Awardees

Sue Grimmond, Sergej Zilitinkevich Awardee 2023 (photo: private)
Sue Grimmond, Sergej Zilitinkevich Awardee 2023 (phot: private)

Sue Grimmond has been a very active scientist in promoting urban boundary layer studies at both national and global level. In UK, she has had active collaboration with ECWMF and MetOffice, and has contributed the inclusion and improved description of urban surfaces in different global models. As an example of international contribution, she has been actively working in different expert duties of World Meteorological Organization (WMO) since 2002 enhancing the understanding of urban boundary layers. She is one of the establishers and active members of International Association for Urban Climate (IAUC), which is an organization that brings to together urban meteorologist and climate scientists throughout the world. During her career, Sue Grimmond has published over 250 peer-reviewed publications and she gained over 64 M£ of research funding. Recently she was also awarded the highly competitive ERC Synergy Grant on the Urbisphere project, where the aim is to improve the understanding and modelling capabilities of urban boundary layer and the processes affecting it. As a summary, Sue’s footprint on urban boundary layer studies has been very profound and she did all of this with great passion and genuine enthusiasm.

Sue Grimmond: “I am delighted to have been awarded this Award. Professor Sergej Zilitinkevich was a very influential meteorologist who made numerous significant contributions both to Boundary layer studies and to leading international meteorological organisations. I am very honoured to be recognised by this Award in his name. I would like to thank the WMO, EMS and the other establishing organizations, the Awards panel, and those who nominated me.”


Larry Mahrt, Zilitinkevich Awardee 2023 (photo private)
Larry Mahrt, Zilitinkevich Awardee 2023 (photo private)

Larry Mahrt has had a profound influence on the boundary-layer (BL) meteorology community with his innovative and insightful research over the years which involved many important collaborations on a large number of BL-related topics, from tropical and convective BLs to extremely stable BLs, BLs over land and snow as well as ocean, sheared BLs, BL transitions, BL clouds and entrainment, gravity flows and the effects of surface heterogeneity and terrain on BLs, internal BLs, the role of radiation and turbulent fluxes on BL development… and the list goes on! All of this work combines his unique skills as a theoretician, observationalist and numerical modeler and this is also visible from his more than 250 publications.
Larry played a key role in many large field programs that provided important data sets to study BLs, e.g. HAPEX-MOBILHY (France), BOREAS (Canada), CASES (US Great Plains), among several others, and included actual field work (getting his hands “dirty”!), e.g. a flux tower site in the Central Cascade mountains of Oregon, North Park in Colorado, and elsewhere. His influence extends to broader Earth system research, i.e. his work on land-atmosphere and ocean-atmosphere interactions which involves the BL as a conduit through which the surface interacts with the atmosphere. As such, it is no wonder that he was elected as an American Meteorology Society Fellow in 1995! All of this is very well captured on his OSU webpage.

Larry Mahrt: “I am very grateful for receiving the Zilitinkevich award. The recognition given to me by my colleagues means a great deal. I also understand that we move forward together as a group and no concept is created in isolation by one person. We are a product of what we have learned from others”

About the award

The award is an international award that is in principle delivered annually to a creative scientist who has made breakthroughs in “Boundary layer studies in Atmospheric and Ocean sciences” since 2021. Note that in 2022 no award was given which is now compensated by handing out two awards in 2023. The award is named after Sergej Zilitinkevich, who was an extraordinarily creative scientist. His main research area was boundary layer dynamics and turbulence. He utilized his knowledge widely in different scientific disciplines. The life of Sergej Sergeevich Zilitinkevich is a vivid example of a life of service to Science and of having an irresistible desire to understand the surrounding world, striving for a spiritual understanding of the foundations of the Universe and a deep respect for the centuries-old values and traditions of humanity.

To honour Sergej’s work and life seven organisations have joined to establish the The Sergej Zilitinkevich Memorial Award.
The first Zilitinkevich Memorial Award was given to Prof. Bert Holtslag on 7th December 2021 in Helsinki, Finland:

About the EMS Annual Meetings

The Annual Meetings of the EMS aim at fostering exchange and cross-fertilization of ideas in the meteorological, climatological and related communities, focusing particularly on strategic issues relevant to the future of meteorology in Europe. Facilitating interactions, integration, and engagement of science, applications, and actors is its core objective. A particular focus of the 2023 Annual Meeting, reflecting the interests and activities of the host institutions, is on droughts and drought-related challenges: Europe and droughts: Hydrometeorological processes, forecasting and preparedness


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