Valérie Masson-Delmotte / Palaeo-climatologist, senior scientist, French Atomic Energy Agency (CEA), Laboratory for Climate and Environmental Science (LSCE)

Last updated on profile page : January 20th, 2014


Valérie Masson-Delmotte is a senior scientist at CEA (Atomic Energy and Alternative Energies Commission, a French major research institution) and currently head of the LSCE Climate dynamics and archives group (CEA-CNRS-UVSQ, staff: 50).

After a PhD thesis on past climate modelling (1996), she has focused her research activity on the quantification and understanding of past climate and water cycle dynamics on time scales ranging from glacial-interglacial cycles, millennial instabilities, and the last centuries. She uses stable isotope measurements conducted on ice cores and tree rings, and water isotope modeling. She is active in teaching (at different universities near Paris), training corporate managers (from the energy, water, insurance and bank sectors) and policy-makers in climate sciences, and outreach. She has co-authored (as Valerie Masson and after 2000 Valerie Masson-Delmotte) more than 120 articles in the peer-reviewed literature, including 15 papers in Nature, Science, Nature Geoscience and PNAS. In September 2011, these papers were cited more than 5800 times.

Valérie Masson-Delmotte has been active in international research projects: PMIP (Paleoclimate Modelling Intercomparison Project), EPICA (European Project for Ice Coring in Antarctica), NorthGRIP and NEEM Greenland ice core drilling projects (French PI). She has joined two Greenland deep drilling expeditions (1997 and 2008). She has been active in national (2002-2009: IPEV, French Polar Institute; since 2009, INSU, National Universe Sciences) and international scientific steering committees (International Partnership for Ice Core Sciences; World Climate Research Programme/ CLIVAR, Climate Variability; CLIVAR-PAGES Intersection; International Association of Cryospheric Sciences). She has co-authored the SCAR (Scientific Committee on Antarctica) report (Antarctic climate and the environment, 2009) and the 2007 Fourth Assessment Report of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). She is currently a coordinating lead author of IPCC AR5 (Chapter 5, Information from Paleoclimate archives).

Her research has been acknowledged by national (2002, Académie des Sciences, Prix Etienne Roth; 2004, Institut de France, Prix Louis D, 2013, Prix Irène Joliot-Curie, woman scientist of the year) and international (2008, European Commission Descartes Prize for EPICA; 2007, Nobel Peace Prize for IPCC) collective prizes. She has co-organized international meetings (sessions at EGU, AGU, IUGG, Goldschmidt conferences; ESF conferences on past climates; final International Polar Year meeting, Oslo, 2010). She has been an editor of several special issues (Annals of Glaciology, Quaternary Science Reviews) and journals (Climate of the Past).

By Valérie Masson-Delmotte on ParisTech Review

La combustion d'énergies fossiles est aujourd'hui la principale source de gaz à effet de serre. C'est aussi le principal vecteur de l'action de l'homme sur le climat. Mais ce lien entre énergie et climat est beaucoup plus complexe qu’il n'y paraît de prime abord. La connaissance scientifique progresse constamment, et surtout elle commence à se diffuser chez les acteurs: particuliers, collectivités ou entreprises. Où en est la science, et comment se joue l'appropriation de ses résultats? Comment le changement climatique affectera-t-il l'offre et la demande énergétique?
Burning of fossil fuels constitutes the main source today of greenhouse gases. It is also the principal vector of anthropic action on the climate. But the relationship between energy and climate is far more complex that it seems initially. Scientific knowledge is advancing constantly and what is now noteworthy is that the players, whether they are private individuals, national and local authorities or business companies are becoming increasingly aware of the challenges that lie ahead. Where does science stand today and how can we use the available knowledge?

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