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UAlbany prof receives international award

Aiguo Dai’s work on climate change’s effect on freshwater recognized

Aiguo Dai (left( and Dr. Kevin E. Trenberth (right) earned international recognition for their research on climate change.

Aiguo Dai (left( and Dr. Kevin E. Trenberth (right) earned international recognition for their research on climate change. Submitted Photo

— A University at Albany professor has garnered international recognition a few short weeks after joining the school’s faculty.

Aiguo Dai, associate professor in the Department of Atmospheric and Environmental Sciences, only started working at UAlbany in September, but received the fifth award of the Prince Sultan Bin Abdulaziz International Prize for Water (PSIPW) for his research on climate change conducted outside the classroom.

The biannual PSIPW acknowledges “exceptional and innovative work which contributes to the sustainable availability of potable water and the alleviation of the escalating global problem of water scarcity,” reads a statement from PSIPW.

Dai worked on a team led by Dr. Kevin E. Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research. They investigated climate variability from the past in order to look to the future and more importantly, the uncertainty of the future’s global hydrological cycle. As part of their research, the team created models to reconstruct river discharge into the oceans for about 1,000 river basins.

Much of the team’s research on the global water budget will be used in encyclopedias and textbooks.

“I feel great (that) all this research work was recognized by an international community,” said Dai, who is originally from China.

Dai and his team are still working on the models in order to predict future changes in water cycles, including stream flow, drought and river runoff. Most of the models have shown the increases in climate change and changes in fresh water resources.

Through his research, Dai noticed the increasing rate of climate change.

“I think we need to slow down the emission of carbon dioxide into the atmosphere,” Dai said. “Slow down (the) global warming rate.”

Dai teaches a class at UAlbany on the water cycle and surface water runoff and how they might be altered by climate change.

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