Auburn University Professor Hanqin Tian has been named a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, or AAAS. The designation recognizes members for their distinguished contributions to innovation, education and scientific leadership.
Tian serves as the Solon and Martha Dixon Professor and University Alumni Professor in the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences and director of Auburn University’s International Center for Climate and Global Change Research. The AAAS fellowship recognizes Tian for his distinguished contributions to the field of global biogeochemical cycles, “particularly for pioneering work in quantifying human impact on biosphere-atmosphere exchanges of major greenhouse gases.”
Tian’s research focuses on understanding how global environmental changes affect the structure and function of Earth’s ecosystem including global biogeochemical and hydrological cycles to provide a scientific basis for solutions to major environmental challenges facing humanity and society.
Tian and his team created a complex computer model of the land biosphere, for the first time, which is capable of simulating and predicting the concurrent dynamics of three major greenhouse gases–carbon dioxide, methane and nitrous oxide–across the earth’s land surface.
In a recent issue of the journal Nature, Tian published an analysis of the net balance of three major greenhouse gases that revealed human-induced emissions of methane and nitrous oxide from ecosystems surpass the ability of land to absorb carbon dioxide emissions, making the terrestrial biosphere a contributor to climate change. This landmark discovery has changed our understanding of how human activity contributes to global warming and is recognized by world science leaders in climate change research.
In addition to his published work in prestigious journals such as Nature and Science, Tian’s research is regularly featured on television and radio and within various media and press publications throughout the world. His research findings were also included in the Assessment Reports of Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, and the National Climate Assessment.
Recognized within the AAAS’ section of Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences, Tian is among 11 fellows selected for the honor in 2016. New fellows will be presented with an official certificate and gold and blue rosette pin, signifying science and engineering, on Feb. 18 at the AAAS Fellows Forum during the 2017 AAAS Annual Meeting in Boston.
Tian serves on multiple grant review panels, scientific and advisory committees at both national and international levels, and the editorial board of several prestigious scientific journals. He has also served in leadership capacities within the Ecological Society of America; Board on Oceans, Atmosphere, and Climate; Association of Public and Land-grant Universities; and the NASA Carbon Monitoring System. Most recently he was appointed leader of Auburn University’s newly formed Cluster of Climate, Human and Earth System Sciences, consisting of over 40 faculty members from five colleges and schools.
In addition to being recognized as an Auburn Alumni Professor and Solon and Martha Dixon Endowed Professor, Tian has received many prestigious research awards from Auburn University as well as the Global Change Science Prize from the Ye Duzheng Foundation. He was also recognized by the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy for his contributions to the U.S. National Climate Assessment and was awarded the 2016 Faculty Achievement Award from Southeastern Conference Universities.
“This award is a feather in Dr. Tian’s cap,” said Janaki Alavalapati, dean of the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences. “Because of his outstanding expertise and vast experience in climate modeling, the School of Forestry and Wildlife Sciences is well poised to lead climate research at a national and global level.”