Budyko Mikhail Ivanovich


BUDYKO, Mikhail Ivanovich (b. January 20, 1920, Gomel; d. December 10, 2001, St. Petersburg) – Russian geophysicist; doctor of physical and mathematical sciences; academician of the Russian Academy of Science, 1992; highly respected climatologist, whose work is frequently referenced in climatology textbooks.

In 1937 Budyko entered the Leningrad Polytechnic Institute, from which he graduated in 1942. From 1942–75 he worked in the Main Geophysical Observatory named after Voeykov in Leningrad. In 1948, he published his first book, Evaporation in Vivo.

Together with his teacher, geographer and climatologist A.A. Grigoryev, he conducted research on climate zones and climate classification.

This work became the basis for a new field of knowledge, which was able to forecast climate change as well as to cause the climate to change in a given direction – to heat or cold. Grigoryev and Budyko realized that the heat balance of the Earth’s surface is a climate control mechanism. As a result, they discovered the periodic law of geographical zoning and proposed an original classification of the Earth’s climates.

Budyko also conducted extensive research on the energy balance of the Earth’s surface, publishing the Atlas of the Heat Balance of the Earth in 1958, which was awarded the Lenin Prize.

At the beginning of the 1960s Budyko became particularly interested in the inverse relationship between the heat balance, surface temperature, and sea ice (Polar Ice and Climate, 1962).

In his 1962 article “On Some Methods of Climate Change” he came to the conclusion, based on results of the study of the inverse relationship between heat balance and ice, that the Arctic could heat quickly as a result of human activities.

According to Budyko, it is enough to spray over the Arctic soot collected over several years from run-offs of rubber industry. Rapid darkening of the surface of the ice and snow should increase the amount of absorbed solar radiation and lead to rapid melting of sea ice.

The essence of Budyko’s discovery was that after Arctic’s realizing of floating ice, formation of new ice will require great changes in the heat balance of the surface than their melting.

His understanding of the importance of the inverse relationship between ice and climate led Budyko to create a mathematical model of the global cli- mate by which temperature changes are associated not only with changes in solar radiation, but also with the intensity of inverse relations between ice and heat balance (known as the Budyko–Sellers model).

In his 1971 book Climate and Life Budyko showed how the climate could have changed in the past from the effects of volcanic activity, which on the one hand saturated the atmosphere with CO2, and on the other hand led to increased concentrations of aerosol particles in the atmosphere. Budyko identified two of the most important factors for understanding of the history of the planet’s climate: atmospheric concentration of CO2 and atmospheric aerosol.

From 1975 Budyko worked in the State Hydrological Institute, where he created the department of climate change studies to deal with different aspects of climate change – from data collection and analysis to the study of the effects of climate change on productivity of natural and agricultural ecosystems, the global carbon cycle and paleoclimate.

Budyko and his colleagues suggested a new approach to forecasting the state of the climate system – through the development of so-called analogues of future climate.

Based on the paleo- climate analysis, Budyko received estimates of global and regional changes in surface temperature when radiation forces the changes.

The method of paleoanalogues makes it possible to provide consistent forecasts of future climate.

The Working Group 8 (RG8) created by Budyko played an important role in the Intergovernmental Agreement between the USSR and the us on Environmental Protection and climate change.

RG8 held numerous international meetings on climate change, and also organized a number of joint publications of Soviet and American climatologists (among them “The Upcoming Climate Change,” 1991).

Budyko was an honored member of the Russian Geographical Society and of the American Meteorological Society.

He was awarded numerous prizes, including the Lenin Prize (1958); Prize named after A.P. Vinogradov; Prize named after A.A. Grigoryev; gold medal named after F.P. Litke; the gold medal of the World Meteorological Organization; the medal named after R. Horton; and the Blue Planet award of the Asahi Foundation (1998).


Works: Evaporation in Vivo (1948); On the Periodic Law of Geographic Zoning (with A. Grigoryev, 1956); Heat and Water Balance of the Earth’s Surface, General Theory of Physical Geography and the Issue of Nature’s Transformation (with I. Gerasimov, 1959); Climate and Life (1971); Climate Change (1974); Global Ecology (1977); Thermal Regime of Dinosaurs (1978); Evolution of the Atmosphere in the Phanerozoic (with Ronov, 1979); Climate in Past and Future (1980); Changes in Thermal Regime of the Atmosphere in the Phanerozoic (1981); Environmental Change and Change of Consecutive Faunas (1982); “The Heat Balance of the Earth’s Surface” (transl. from the Russ. N.A. Stepanova) (Washington dc: Dept. of Commerce, Weather Bureau, 1958); “On the Causes of the Extinction of Some Animals at the End of the Pleistocene,” Soviet Geography: Review and Translation 8/10 (1967), pp. 783–793; History of the Earth’s Atmosphere (with A.B. Ronov and A.L. Yanshin) (New York: Springer Verlag, 1987); Global Climatic Catastrophes (with G.S. Golitsyn and Y.A. Izrael) (New York: Springer Verlag, 1988); Anthropogenic Climatic Change (ed. with Y.A. Izrael) (Tuscon: University of Arizona Press, 1991); Global Climate Warming and its Consequence: “Blue Planet Prize” (1998); “Commemorative Lectures,” Ecology Symphony 30 (1998).