He is particularly interested in topics related to climate change and ecosystems. Get to know Antonio Trabucco, the curious, open-minded researcher from the IAFES Division.
What’s your job at the CMCC Foundation?
I’m a researcher, particularly interested in topics related to climate change and ecosystems. Every day I get to play with large data coupling processes and model the interactions between climate, hydrology and vegetation (crop productivity and ecosystem services), climate services and sustainable development goals.
Which road led you to CMCC?
I came back to Italy because it was a dream come true. Over the past few years I was working throughout the tropics, spanning from Latin America to Africa and Asia. I had been living abroad for several years and often in very remote places surrounded by beautiful wilderness’. Living in the tropics has been a great experience, but I was hoping to proceed in my research studies and I took the opportunity to come back to Europe for a PhD in Belgium. Honestly, in the tropics I was missing the changing seasons. However, I have to admit that the switch to Belgian weather was too much for me. Anyway, living the Mediterranean lifestyle was my dream, and CMCC has proven to be a dynamic working place, actively believing in trying to get people from abroad so as to make its working environment more international. This usually happens in very forward-looking organizations, such as some institutes in Northern Europe and North America, but unfortunately it is still not very common in Italy. This was important for me, because of my personality and background, and CMCC revealed itself to be an institute with a great perspective in environmental research.
Is your current job the one you had dreamed of when you were a child?
I didn’t know what to do during my childhood until I started university. I was a very curious kid and I was fascinated with discovering processes. When I was 7 years old, I read Jules Verne’s “Journey to the Center of the Earth”. After that, I read the entire series in a couple of weeks. And I was not a big reader. I really had to get to the end. This reading adventure was my first taste of a genuine curiosity for the scientific process.
Could you tell us the most important moment in your career life at CMCC?
There’s not a one-shot event, it‘s the whole process that fascinates me. We are facing several challenges (unfortunately) due to climate change. We are trying to provide a unifying message, condensing different semantic contents: actually, it is really hard when we have to deliver sound yet still understandable messages to a broad audience.
I really love being able to interact with different cultures and points of view. We have projects in Asia and Africa and in Europe as well. Sharing scientific knowledge in very different contexts is not something to be taken for granted. I have to challenge myself very often. I’m proud to say that I can satisfy my innate curiosity with my job. This is a true privilege.
What’s on your workstation?
A mess! I’m a “keep-it-all” person with a small desk. I have a very nice and detailed map of the rivers of the world hanging on my door. It is like a vascular system of the human body, but of the world. I really love it, even though I may be the only one that actually looks at it.
How do you travel to work?
Usually by car. I drop off my daughter at kindergarten and then I come to the office.
What do you do in your spare time?
I choose to live in a very natural landscape and Sardinia was the place to be. We usually hang out in the weekend and we bring together all the kids and basically we stay outside, in a typical Mediterranean lifestyle. I live in the countryside in a beautiful valley 4 km far from Sassari. It is a magical place.
Cinema or literature: give me a title and explain your choice
You know what the problem with our work is? We read too much. So, I’ll definitely go for cinema and I suggest looking at the dichotomy between “2001: A Space Odyssey” by Stanley Kubrick and “Solaris” by Andrei Tarkovsky. They both explore the challenge of the technological race towards space boundaries: its promises and dangers. We can go so far, but still our nature is rooted to our planet. Anyway, the two movies show very different points of view: the eastern versus the western ideology in the 70s with regards to science, evolution, artificial intelligence and the quest for knowledge.