Renowned Climate Scientist Prof. Gabriel Ngar-cheung Lau Joins CUHKContributing His Forty Years’ Experience and Expertise to Hong Kong and East Asia
Prof. Gabriel Ngar-cheung LAU, a world renowned scholar in climate research, joined The Chinese University of Hong Kong (CUHK) as the Director of Institute of Environment, Energy and Sustainability (IEES) this year. He will lead the integration of CUHK’s strengths of various disciplines in environmental research and education to build synergy for sustainable development of the community.
Prof. Gabriel Ngar-Cheung Lau has been devoted to meteorological research for nearly 40 years. He joined the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in 1978 and served as the lead scientist of Climate Diagnostics Project at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory (GFDL) until 2013. He was concurrently a Professor at Princeton University. He was a contributing author of the Fourth Assessment Report, and a lead author of the Fifth Assessment Report, of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), which was recognized by the Nobel Peace Prize (2007). Professor Lau has participated in the research contributing to IPCC since it was established in 1988.
Contributing to his homeland
Professor Lau was born in Hong Kong and spent his youth in the city. He graduated from CUHK Physics in 1974, and then continued his academic pursuit in the University of Washington in Seattle, the research hub of meteorological research, with the support of the Run Run Shaw Postgraduate Scholarship of CUHK. He received the Ph.D. degree in atmospheric sciences in 1978. After spending decades in the U.S, Professor Lau decided to return to his beloved home city and alma mater, to contribute his expertise towards sustainable development of Hong Kong and the mainland.
Professor Lau said, ‘Climate change is one of the most serious and pressing issues we face in the 21st century. It has profound impact to the global ecology, habitats, as well as political and economic development. Environmental studies are therefore important for policy makers or urban planners to formulate strategies, and also for educating people to appreciate and respect the environment. CUHK has a strong foundation in environmental research and education programmes. The IEES established in 2011 aims to embark on world-class multi-disciplinary research and education on climate change, energy, sustainable urban environment, public health and environmental policy, by integrating CUHK’s strengths of different disciplines and fostering collaboration with strategic global partners. I’m delighted to join CUHK and IEES and contribute to the sustainable development of the region.’
To lead environmental research in Asia
Different faculties, research institutes, centres and laboratories in CUHK have been making tremendous contributions to environmental research in their respective areas of expertise. The IEES led by Professor Lau will synergize existing studies of CUHK in Geography and Resource Management, Environmental Science, Architecture, Earth System Science, Urban Studies, Energy Engineering, Life Science and Public Health, to forge ahead in areas of climate change, environmental monitoring and management, energy technology and conservation, sustainable urban design and public health, and to provide policy advice on regional and national environmental and developmental strategies.
Early this year, IEES launched the large-scale community outreach programme – CUHK Jockey Club Initiative Gaia (Gaia), to promote environmental conservation and sustainability in local communities, through public education and carbon reduction partnerships with schools and non-governmental organizations. The Jockey Club Museum of Climate Change will also be launched later this year to educate the public on the latest developments and research in climate change through interactive and multimedia means, and to equip Hong Kong’s future generation with knowledge that enables their participation in debates and actions to combat climate change.
Professor Gabriel Lau’s achievements
Professor Lau’s principal research interests are concerned with the behaviour of atmospheric and oceanic phenomena in various geographical regions, with typical time scales ranging from hours to several years. These features include day-night differences, day-to-day weather disturbances in warm and cold seasons, persistent flow structures, monsoonal circulations, and changes in the air-sea coupled system associated with El Nino. His primary research tools include datasets based on in situ observations and remote-sensing platforms, as well as output from experiments and simulations with numerical models. He has authored or co-authored over 100 publications in various scientific journals, and has been designated as a Highly Cited Researcher by the ISI Web of Knowledge.
Professor Lau is a recipient of the Clarence Leroy Meisinger Award of the American Meteorological Society (AMS), Unusually Outstanding Performance Award of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and Hong Kong Observatory (HKO) 120th Anniversary Distinguished Meteorologist Award. He was elected as a Fellow of AMS in 1991, and was editor of the AMS Journal of the Atmospheric Sciences.
Professor Lau has also served as the C.N. Yang Visiting Fellow and Wei Lun Professor at CUHK, Science Advisor to the HKO, the Chinese Academy of Sciences, China Meteorological Administration and Academia Sinica, Visiting Professor at Peking University, and external reviewer at Taiwan University. He was a member of various scientific committees of AMS, NOAA and the World Meteorological Organization.