One of the foremost scientists in the world studying climate change today, Professor Jean Palutikof was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007 in her previous post as the Head of the Technical Support Unit (TSU) of Working Group II of the Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC is the leading body for the assessment of climate change, established by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) to provide the world with a clear scientific view on the state of climate change and its potential environmental and socioeconomic consequences. In this capacity, she coordinated the assimilation of information regarding climate change vulnerability, impacts and adaptation for the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC. The report covers observed and projected future impacts by sector and by region, adaptation and mitigation strategies, and their interrelationships with sustainable development.
In her current position as Director of the National Climate Change Adaptation Research Facility (NCCARF) in Australia, she is playing the key role in prioritizing research foci, and is the chief advisor to the Australian government on climate change adaptation and mitigation strategies. The mandate for the Facility is to lead the national research community to generate information needed by government, business, and the community to manage climate change impacts. In this capacity, Professor Palutikof continues to pursue her commitment to science-policy interactions on the subject of climate change in order to deliver statements about global risks that will shape international debate, negotiation, and action.
In general, Professor Palutikof's research interests focus on climate change impacts and the application of climate data to economic and planning issues. She has collaborated with scientists in Europe and North America on the construction of climate change scenarios for use in impacts studies. Her long-term interest is in climate extremes and how these will change in the future in response to global warming. She has looked at these changes for the purposes of industries as diverse as the insurance and reinsurance markets, the nuclear waste disposal industry, and the safety of nuclear power stations. In addition, she has worked to analyze the impacts of extremes such as the European hot summer of 2003, and the lessons to be learned for future climate change.
Earlier, at the University of East Anglia, Professor Palutikof coordinated the EU-funded MICE (Modelling the Impacts of Climate Extremes) project and WISE (Weather Impacts on Social and Economic Systems) project. She was also a lead author for Working Group II of the IPCC Second and Third Assessment Reports, contributing to the chapters on Europe and on Financial Services.
Professor Palutikof is a Fellow in the Royal Meteorological Society, and has authored numerous books and peer-reviewed articles, including the leading text, The Nature and Causes of Climatic Change (Lewis Publishers).