Victor Venema

I was going to write a Christmas post but have just discovered, through Sou and Frank Sonntag on Mastodon, that Victor Venema died suddenly. Victor was a researcher at the University of Bonn and worked on homogenising climate data. He was also a climate blogger, and there are some really good posts on his variable variability blog. Victor also contributed regularly to Climate Feedback, was active on social media and was one of the co-admins (with Frank Sonntag) of the fediscience mastodon server.

Although Victor and I interacted a lot on blogs and social media over the years, we didn’t ever meet personally. My only personal story about Victor is that he asked me to send him a picture of Thomas Stevenson’s grave. Thomas Stevenson was a Scottish civil engineer who designed lighthouses and invented the Stevenson Screen, hence Victor’s interest. Thomas Stevenson’s only child was Robert Louis Stevenson, and he died in 1887 in Edinburgh, which is why Victor asked me.

My wife and I spent an afternoon walking through the Old Calton Burial Ground, where Thomas Stevenson is buried. We found the family burial plot, but it wasn’t easy to read some of the names, so couldn’t definitively see Thomas Stevenson’s grave. The picture on the right might show his gravestone (the dates match that of his wife) and the one at the back is his father’s (Robert Stevenson).

Victor was a great friend, and supporter, when I was more actively blogging. I was shocked to hear of his death and he will be sorely missed. Sorry to share such sad news on Christmas Eve. My sincerest condolences to his family and friends.


Victor Venema, climate scientist, valued friend to many – lovely tribute by Sou.

Victor Karel Christiaan Venema – condolence page set up by Victor’s family.

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25 Responses to Victor Venema

  1. Giorgos Zoukas says:

    This is very sad news… I had a wonderful phone conversation with Victor when I did my PhD on climate blogging at the University of Edinburgh. He helped me a great deal to get some very useful insights for my thesis. We didn’t ever meet in person, but I am sure he was a very nice and indeed kind person. My deepest condolences to his family and friends.

  2. Yvan Dutil says:

    This is sobering. His was one of my source for basic science. I exchange a couple of time with him in the past.

  3. The man with the unforgettable name. That’s sad. I will remember Victor as a kind, open and generous person who always had time to respond to questions. Rest in peace, Victor.

  4. As someone who Mr. Venema criticized whenever our electronic paths crossed, I also feel a sense of loss. He was intelligent, to the point and he often made me examine my own thought processes. Condolences to his family, friends and fans.

  5. Rachel M says:

    I’m sorry to hear this. Victor was a big proponent of cycling infrastructure so I had a several discussions with him about that. He gave me the Dutch perspective of cycling and the Dutch do it better than anyone else. I’m very sorry for his friends and family.

  6. Bob Loblaw says:

    That is indeed sad news. I only knew him through his blog posts and comments in places such as here. An excellent scientist, and a person worth listening to. He will be missed.

  7. Joshua says:


  8. dikranmarsupial says:

    That is very sad news, I learned a lot from his blog and from his comments elsewhere. 😦

  9. Steve Bloom says:

    Vale Victor. I will always treasure the many positive and informative interactions I had with him.

  10. John Mashey says:

    Indeed, sad news. Wwe never met, but certainly traded a few emails over the years.

  11. Raymond Lutz says:

    C’est bien triste. But (beeing an ousider) your post made me discover him. And I totally love this extract from his last post:

    “Now the new, for me, argument. My reason to care about climate change is that it leads to more suffering, the more warming the more suffering. Until extinction ends the suffering. So extinction is kinda downplaying the problem.”

    PS: you’re mentioning Mastodon, is your address public?

  12. Raymond,
    I’m on mastodon, but I haven’t managed to get particularly active there.

  13. russellseitz says:

    We’ve lost an admirable man.

  14. So sad, so very sad. Such a great person with a directness I so greatly admired. A true scholar. One of those people you immediately miss when they are no longer around, as you knew they had such insightful moments, that needed to be heard and listened to.

    RIP VV

  15. Sou says:

    Thank you for writing this, ATTP. The news was devastating to me and everyone who knew and admired him. There is much sorrow.

    I’ve written a tribute now. It was hard to write and I’m sure doesn’t do proper justice his too short life and his many contributions.

  16. verytallguy says:

    Very sorry to hear that news, and thank you for sharing.

    Victor was always scholarly, good humoured and insightful. I only wish there were more like him.

  17. Victor’s family have set up a condolence page. I’ve also added a link at the end of the post.

  18. sorry to hear of passing of Victor. He seemed like a smart and thoughtful person in the interactions that I observed. Vaya con Dios, Senor.

  19. Magma says:

    This is very sad. I corresponded with Victor several times, and even though this was limited to virtual discussions focused on his research, his decency and thoughtfulness shone through.

  20. Pingback: In Memoriam of Victor Venema – Translate Science Blog

  21. Pingback: In Memoriam of Victor Venema

  22. Dave_Geologist says:

    So sorry to hear of Victor’s passing. He was always worth reading, whether here, on his own blog, or elsewhere.

    On a more upbeat note, a Guid New Year tae ane an’ a’, an’ mony may ye see.

    Hoping the world has a better 2023.

  23. Pingback: 2022: A year in review | …and Then There's Physics

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