He then led the development of the Goddard Institute’s Earth System Model, a giant computer program that can simulate the planet’s climate system and show how phenomena such as rising carbon dioxide levels lead to warming. Over time, he relied on so many areas that he had to become a climate polymath largely focused on a single topic, as many experts do. It helped him become a gifted communicator of science.

In 2004, he helped start a blog, Real Climate, in hopes of explaining climate science to the public and science journalists. But an additional audience was paying attention: other scientists.

“One of the big surprises that came out of this was how many other climate researchers actually needed help to understand climate science,” he said beyond their own fields.

When the American Geophysical Union awarded its first prize for climate communication in 2011, it went to Dr. Schmidt, because he “changed the climate dialogue on the Internet,” said the group in their quote.

Everything Dr. Schmidt did, got together, he said – and that includes his ability to juggle, a hobby he picked up in high school and thought about at the time. He remembered, “Oh, this will help the ladies. “He honed his juggling skills over the years, starting in Australia when he lived with a street juggler.

Today he credits the hobby for helping him build the confidence it took to perform in front of the crowds – his 2014 TED Talk was viewed 1.3 million times. “It turns out that the things I’ve spent time doing or learning or practicing have played a role in driving that development,” he said.

He also took up unicycling, which in turn led to the sport of unicycle hockey as it sounds. He played on the UK national team for the sport and broke his arm at one point.