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Solomon has been a leader in the fields of atmospheric chemistry and climate change for three decades. In 1986, Solomon proposed novel chemistry and then used optical techniques to demonstrate that chlorine and bromine released by chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) gases were responsible for the ozone “hole” over Antarctica, which had been discovered just a year earlier. This groundbreaking work has now become standard text in any description of stratospheric ozone processes. Her findings contributed to the establishment of the Montreal Protocol to reduce emissions of CFC gases beginning in 1987. Thirty years later, Solomon used observations and model calculations to identify the first signs of the recovery of the Antarctic ozone layer, an indication of the progress and effectiveness of the Montreal Protocol.
In addition to her personal scientific contributions, Solomon has served as a co-chair in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change Working Group I, leading an effort of hundreds of authors and reviewers for the groundbreaking 2007 IPCC international climate assessment report. Throughout her career, she has also worked to communicate the science of climate change to the public and to policy makers.
The Arthur L. Day Prize and Lectureship is awarded to a scientist making lasting contributions to the study of the physics of the Earth and whose lectures will provide solid, timely, and useful additions to the knowledge and literature in the field. The nominee should also be a good speaker with the ability to summarize and synthesize current knowledge in the field. The recipient is awarded a $50,000 prize and funds to present a series of Day Lectures. Provided for by funds from the Arthur L. Day Bequest.