Valérie Masson-Delmotte (Nancy, France, 1971) obtained her engineering and master’s degrees at the École Centrale de Paris, where she also earned a PhD in 1996 with a thesis on past climate modeling. She is currently a senior scientist at the Laboratoire des Sciences du Climat et de l’Environnement (CEA, French National Center for Scientific Research [CNRS], Université Paris-Saclay), forming part of the Institute Pierre-Simon Laplace. Co-chair of Working Group I (Physical Science Basis) for the Sixth Assessment Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change between 2015 and 2023, she has co-authored over 255 publications in scientific journals, with an h-index of 82, and has been listed as a Highly Cited Researcher in Geosciences (2014 to 2019) and in the Cross-Field category (2020 to 2022). Masson-Delmotte is a member of France’s High Council on Climate (HCC) and the French National Ethics Advisory Council.
Valérie Masson-Delmotte expanded ice core analysis to samples from Greenland. And her results matched those that Jean Jouzel had obtained at the opposite end of the planet, adding robustness to his findings. Since then, Masson-Delmotte, like her compatriot and fellow awardees, has been working to refine the study of past climates and understand their evolution over hundreds of thousands of years. As part of this effort, Masson-Delmotte has combined ice core data with other aspects of climate science to predict what the Antarctic will look like in 2070 under different warming scenarios. Her research finds that if global warming is contained at close to current levels, major disruptions should be avoided, while higher levels would produce potentially irreversible changes. One consequence of the latter scenario would be sea level rise, which has already caused uncontrolled flooding in northern France in combination with torrential rains, and by 2050 could affect one billion people with multiple direct consequences for our coasts.