Stephen Schneider, 65, Stanford expert on climate change
SAN FRANCISCO — Stephen Schneider, a Stanford University scientist who served on the international research panel on global warming that shared the 2007 Nobel Prize with Vice President Al Gore, has died. He was 65.
Dr. Schneider died of an apparent heart attack yesterday while on a flight from Stockholm to London, Stanford officials said.
Dr. Schneider studied climate change for decades and wrote a number of books charting its effects on wildlife and ecosystems in the United States and later chronicled its effect on the nation’s politics and policy. He advised every presidential administration from Nixon’s to Obama’s.
“A prolific researcher and author, cofounder of the journal Climatic Change, and a wonderful communicator, his contributions to the advancement of climate science will be sorely missed,’’ Gore said in a statement.
Dr. Schneider, who also taught at Stanford, was an influential and at times combative public voice in the debate over climate change and appeared on news and science television programs, wrote articles, and blogged.
As a coauthor of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change reports that earned a share of the Nobel, Dr. Schneider defended the panel’s work when it came under attack from critics after some unsettling errors were discovered, including how fast Himalayan glaciers are expected to melt. The errors were made in a subsection of the world’s most authoritative report on global warming and were found to be insignifcant to its overall findings that glaciers are melting faster than ever.
In recent years Dr. Schneider fought a rare form of leukemia, a battle he chronicled in a 2005 book, “The Patient from Hell.’’ That fight helped put into context his work on climate change, helping him to see hope in often gloomy work.
According to Stanford University’s website, Dr. Schneider received his doctorate in mechanical engineering and plasma physics from Columbia University in 1971. He studied greenhouse gases and climate as a postdoctoral fellow at NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies and did research at the National Center for Atmospheric Research from 1972 to 1996.
Dr. Schneider leaves his wife, Stanford University biologist Terry Root, with whom he jointly won the 2003 National Conservation Achievement Award from the National Wildlife Federation.