Dr. Donald Wuebbles

The Harry E. Preble Professor of Atmospheric Sciences

Donald J. Wuebbles recently transitioned to being an Emeritus Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Illinois. He is also the Director of the Center for Urban Resilience and Environmental Sustainability (CURES) across the University of Illinois system. From 2015 to early 2017, Dr. Wuebbles was Assistant Director with the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the Executive Office of the President in Washington DC, where he was the White House expert on climate science.  He came the University of Illinois in 1994 and was Head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois from 1994 to 2006 (prior to this he was a group leader at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory). Dr. Wuebbles also led the development of the School of Earth, Society, and Environment at the University, and was its first director.

Dr. Wuebbles is an expert in atmospheric physics and chemistry, with over 500 scientific publications related to the Earth’s climate, air quality, and the stratospheric ozone layer. However, his work goes well beyond that through providing analyses and development of metrics used in national and international policy and in developing analyses for understanding climate impacts on society and ecosystems, plus potential resilience and societal responses. His metrics for Ozone Depletion Potentials and Global Warming Potentials are commonly used in national and international policy. He has been a leader in many international and national scientific assessments, including being a Coordinating Lead Author on several international climate assessments led by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that resulted in IPCC being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He co-led the first volume of the 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment published in November 2017 that assesses the science of climate change and its effects on the United States. He led an assessment on the impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes that was published in March 2019 and co-led a special assessment of the impacts of climate change on the state of Illinois published in May 2021. Dr. Wuebbles has received major awards, including the Cleveland Abbe Award from the American Meteorological Society, the Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Bert Bolin Global Environmental Change Award from the American Geophysical Union. He is a Fellow of three major professional science societies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Meteorological Society.

Dr. Wuebbles has two degrees in Electrical Engineering from the University of Illinois (1970, 1972) and a Ph.D. in Atmospheric Sciences from the University of California, Davis (1983).