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Roger Revelle : biography

07 March 1909 - 15 July 1991

The atmosphere's CO2-concentration

Roger Randall Dougan Revelle (March 7, 1909 — July 15, 1991) was a scientist and scholar who was instrumental in the formative years of the University of California, San Diego and was one of the first scientists to study global warming and the movement of Earth's tectonic plates. UC San Diego's first college is named Revelle College in his honor.


Roger Revelle was born in Seattle to William Roger Revelle and Ella Dougan, and grew up in southern California, graduating from Pomona College in 1929 with early studies in geology and then earning a Ph.D. in oceanography from the University of California, Berkeley in 1936. While at Cal, he studied under and was initiated into which started as a mining engineering fraternity and maintained a strong affinity for geology and geological engineering students. Much of his early work in oceanography took place at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography (SIO) in San Diego. He was also Oceanographer for the Navy during WWII. He became director of SIO from 1950 to 1964. He stood against the UC faculty being required to take an anti-communist oath during the Joseph McCarthy period. He served as Science Advisor to Interior Secretary Stewart Udall during the Kennedy Administration in the early 1960s, and was President of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (1974).

Growth of Oceanography

Revelle was deeply involved in the growth of oceanography in the United States and internationally after World War II. Working for the Navy in the late 1940s, he helped to determine which projects gained funding, and he promoted the idea that the Navy ought to support "basic research" instead of only trying to build new technology. At Scripps he launched several major long-range expeditions in the 1950s, including the MIDPAC, TRANSPAC (with Canada and Japan), EQUAPAC, and NORPAC, each traversing a different part of the Pacific Ocean. He and other scientists at Scripps Institution of Oceanography helped the U.S. government to plan nuclear weapons tests, in the hope that oceanographers might make use of the data. Revelle was one of the committee chairmen in the influential National Academy of Sciences studies of the biological effects of atomic radiation (BEAR), the results of which were published in 1956. In 1952, along with Dr. Seibert Q. Duntley, he successfully moved the MIT Visibility Lab to SIO with financial support of the U.S. Navy.History of the Scripps Visibility Lab Along with oceanographers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, Revelle planned the American contributions to the oceanographic program of the International Geophysical Year (IGY). He became the first president of the Scientific Committee on Oceanic Research, an international group of scientists devoted to advising on international projects, and he was a frequent advisor to the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission, created in 1960.Jacob Darwin Hamblin, Oceanographers and the Cold War: Disciples of Marine Science (Seattle: University of Washington Press, 2005).

Global warming

Revelle was instrumental in creating the International Geophysical Year (IGY) in 1958 and was founding chairman of the first Committee on Climate Change and the Ocean (CCCO) under the Scientific Committee on Ocean Research (SCOR) and the International Oceanic Commission (IOC). During planning for the IGY, under Revelle's directorship, SIO participated in and later became the principal center for the Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Program. In July 1956, Charles David Keeling joined the SIO staff to head the program, and began measurements of atmospheric carbon dioxide at the Mauna Loa Observatory on Mauna Loa, Hawaii, and in Antarctica.

In 1957, Revelle co-authored a paper with Hans Suess that suggested that the Earth's oceans would absorb excess carbon dioxide generated by humanity at a much slower rate than previously predicted by geoscientists, thereby suggesting that human gas emissions might create a "greenhouse effect" that would cause global warming over time.Revelle, R., and H. Suess, "Carbon dioxide exchange between atmosphere and ocean and the question of an increase of atmospheric during the past decades." Tellus 9, 18-27 (1957). Although other articles in the same journal discussed carbon dioxide levels, the Suess-Revelle paper was "the only one of the three to stress the growing quantity of contributed by our burning of fossil fuel, and to call attention to the fact that it might cause global warming over time."Waenke, Heinrich, and Arnold, James R., "" (2005).

Living octopus

Living octopus

In countries which are located near sea coasts, sea food is an important part of national cuisine