He graduated from the Aeronautics Institute of Technology, São José dos Campos, Brazil, with a degree in Electronics Engineering and from the MIT in with a PhD in meteorology. He was a post-doctoral fellow in meteorology at University of Maryland's Department of Meteorology. Upon finishing undergraduate education, he moved to the Amazon, where he initiated his research carrier in 1975 at the Brazilian Institute for Amazonian Studies, in Manaus. Dr. Nobre later joined the Brazilian National Institute for Space Research (INPE) in 1983, where he remained until 2012.
Dr. Nobre has been an architect for the establishment of a number of research institutions in Brazil: the Brazilian Center for Weather Prediction and Climate Studies (CPTEC), where he served as director from 1991 to 2003; the Center for Earth System Science (CCST, 2008-2010) and the National Center for Monitoring and Early Warning of Natural Disasters (CEMADEN; 2015). He has been a pioneer in the creation and implementation of important scientific experiments in the Amazon, such as the largest scientific undertaking in that region, the Large-Scale Biosphere-Atmosphere Experiment in the Amazon (LBA), where he acted as Program Scientist from 1996 to 2004. He has been scientific director of the Brazilian Research Network for Climate Change (Rede CLIMA) and has been very active in communicating the science of climate change to society nationally and internationally. He has been the chair of the International Geosphere-Biosphere Programme (IGBP-2006-2011), member of the International Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and is a member of the UN Secretary-General Scientific Advisory Board (SAB) for Global Sustainability. He is a member of the Brazilian Academy of Sciences, the Academy of Sciences for the Developing Nations and Foreign Associate of US National Academy of Sciences. He worked in science-policy interface as National Secretary for R&D Policies, Brazilian Ministry of Science, Technology and Innovation (2011-2014), and is currently the President of the Brazilian Federal Agency for Support and Evaluation of Graduate Education (CAPES).
He supervised the work of 33 Master’s and PhD students and is author or co-author of over 180 scientific papers, book chapters and books. He has received a number of scientific awards, the “Dr. Luis Frederico Leloir” Prize on Science, Technology and Innovation Cooperation of Argentina, 2011; the Grand-Cross Medal of the National Order of Scientific Merit, Presidency of Brazil, 2010; the Alexander von Humboldt Medal of the European Geophysical Union, 2010, among others. He also heads the Science Panel for the Amazon which released a Statement for the UN Summit on Biodiversity - Urgent Action for the Amazon We Want.