Wallace Broecker, the renowned geophysicist who popularized the term “global warming,” has died. He was 87.
Broecker died Monday in New York, said Kevin Krajick, a senior science writer at Columbia University’s Earth Institute.
Broecker spent many years as a professor at Columbia, and his vast body of work focused on the relationship between oceans, climate and geological time.
In 1975, he published a paper called “Climatic Change: Are we on the Brink of a Pronounced Global Warming?”
Though the term had been used before, Broecker’s usage helped push it into the mainstream.
Broecker and his work are also the source of other well-known climate concepts, like the “Global Ocean Conveyor Belt,” which links the deep movements of the oceans with changes in the atmosphere.
Broecker appeared on CNN Newsroom in 2009 to talk about the warning signs of climate change his research revealed.
“I base my fears for the future not on what’s happening, but the fact [that] what physics tells us that if we put these gases in the atmosphere we’re going to warm the planet,” he said. “If we’re wrong about that, then we are out in left field on everything.”