In times of chronic lack of resources for academic research and ever increasing competition for grants it was every scientists dream coming true: a billionaire patron comes along and hands you unlimited resources to pursue the research that lies closest to your heart. In this case, the late Gary Comer (1927–2006), who had in 2001 taken his yacht through the notorious Northwest Passage then free of sea ice, engaged a team of outstanding climate scientists to lead a search for causal links controlling abrupt global climate change: Wallace (Wally) S. Broecker of Columbia University, George H. Denton of the University of Maine, and Richard B. Allen of Pennsylvania State University. Broecker is an oceanographer/geochemist, who is probably best known for developing the idea of a global “conveyor belt” linking the circulation of the global oceans and controlling large scale climate oscillations in the past; Denton is a geologist, long concerned with the (bi-polar) geological history of the large Quaternary ice sheets; and Alley is a glaciologist who is perhaps best known for his contributions on the relationships between Earth's cryosphere and global climate change. All three have developed ideas and concepts on rapid ocean-atmosphere-cryosphere reorganizations over past glacial cycles. Philip Conkling, a prominent Maine naturalist who participated in many of Comer’s expeditions, played a vital role in putting the team together.
"The Fate of Greenland— Lessons from Abrupt Climate Change,"
International Dialogue: Vol. 3, Article 14.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.unomaha.edu/id-journal/vol3/iss1/14