The IMSC achievement award was presented to Rick Katz at the 11IMSC in Edinburgh, 2010 to recognize his applications of statistics to quantifying variability and extremes in climate and his promotion of collaboration between atmospheric and statistical scientists.
Even fifteen years ago the connection between statistics and the geosciences was a tenuous one held together by a few strong researchers and practioners. At NCAR, Rick Katz stood out as the lone Ph D statistician and a voice for the role of modern statistics in tackling problems in climate science. Rick along with Rol Madden, Joe Tribbia and Kevin Trenberth started the Geophysical Statistics Project at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in 1993. Over time it has created a whole new generation of statistical researchers with an appreciation of geoscience and an enthusiasm for collaboration on substantial scientific problems.
Rick has also made unique contributions to climate research. These include the stochastic simulation of meteorology (weather generators) for studying variability in climate impacts, the application of extreme value theory to precipitation and temperature and even a perceptive historical article on Sir Gilbert Walker. Rick has long been an advocate for the analysis of the distribution of large weather events through the use of statistical tools for extremes. The recent work with Eva Furrer modeling climate extremes for the Argentine Pampas is an example of this interest. Moreover, a practical contribution is his creation, along with Eric Gilleland, of the Extremes Toolkit, a widely downloaded R package.