Friday, March 9, 2012

Global Warming Talks

This week Dr. Kevin Trenberth did us the honor of speaking to interested Metro students and faculty about global warming.  Dr. Trenberth is a world renowned scientist housed at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colorado.  He has developed several of the techniques I teach my students in my Advanced Synoptic Meteorology course on diagnosing vertical motions in the atmosphere, having written a famous paper on the topic back in 1978.  He is now famously known for his climate work on global energy budgets, a topic very close to my heart due to my partner's work in the field.  Trenberth has written ~500 peer reviewed journal articles, and is probably one of the most cited people in our field.  He has also been a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's assessment reports, an extremely huge undertaking.  I was honored that Dr. Trenberth would take the time to come chat to a crowd who, honestly, had no idea how important he is.  Although there were two rude audience members who chose to speak over Trenberth's insightful answers to their questions, leaving us all feeling very uncomfortable for the lack of respect given to him, we all came away feeling informed and inspired to make a difference.  

Dr. James Hansen, the head of NASA Goddard, has been an advocate pushing us to reduce carbon dioxide emissions since before I was born.  Here is his latest plea, in the form of a TED talk. 

All of the topics Trenberth and Hansen discuss are the focus of a course I teach called Global Climate Change (MTR 1600).  Please sign up for this course this coming fall if you are interested in learning more!  Here's the course description: 
 This course presents the science behind global climate change from an Earth systems and atmospheric science perspective.  These concepts then provide the basis to explore the effect of global warming on regions throughout the world.  This leads to the analysis of the observed and predicted impacts of climate change on these regions; the effect of these changes on each region’s society, culture, and economy; and the efforts of these regions to mitigate or adapt to climate change.  The interdependence of all nations will be discussed in regards to fossil fuel-rich regions, regions responsible for greenhouse gas emissions, and regions most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. (General Studies Level II - Natural Science, Global Diversity)