Professor Ron Smith reflects on what the emerging El Niño portends for the “hiatus” discussion, and explains how the weather phenomenon’s enormous scale exerts enough force on the Northern Hemisphere to slow the Earth’s rotation.
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Pushker Kharecha replaced colleague and scheduled keynote speaker James Hansen, presenting an overview of what we know about global warming, and findings from a joint paper they had produced on the implications of nuclear power as alternative to continued reliance on fossil-fuel energy…
Scientists from the Yale-led East Africa & Arabia Climate Impact Assessment Taskforce, and leaders of research organizations in Ethiopia and Djibouti, discuss the historic need for better climate understanding of the region that the IPCC considers the world’s most at risk from climate change.
Dr. Raymond Bradley is Director of the Northeast Climate Center at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst, and one of the world’s leading authorities on earth’s surface temperatures over the past several thousand years.
Yale economist Robert Mendehlson is a leading authority on resource economics, which involves valuation of environmental goods and services. He co-invented the Ricardian technique which measures the climate sensitivity of agriculture. He comments here on the importance and remaining mystery of monsoons, and their enormous importance to billions of people.
Jon Egill Kristjansson reviews his work on aerosols, their influence on cloud formation, and how the level at which those clouds forms determines the radiative effect on earth’s climate system. He reviews four approaches to Radiative Management (RM), ie., that part of geoengineering which relates to atmospheric manipulation of albedo to combat global warming, and shares model projections on how that impacts what matters more to human survival than temperature increase, ie., the availability of water through impacts to the hydrological cycle.
Gary Brudvig, Director of the Yale Energy Sciences Institute, and Josh Galperin, co-Director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy, discuss their respective centers, and their relationship to the Yale Climate and Energy Institute.
Thure Cerling is a pioneer in the use of stable isotopes of Carbon, Nitrogen and Oxygen to study historic changes in CO2 levels in the Earth’s atmosphere. He was elected to the National Academy of Sciences in 2001. In recent years he’s used stable isotopes to analyze hair, teeth and bone to better understand the impacts of changing CO2 levels on habitat, animals and man.
Models do ‘okay’ at predicting changes in surface mass balance of Greenland’s ice sheets, says Fiamma Straneo. They don’t do so well, and therefore are not very useful, when it comes to predicting the accelerated melting that is now occurring and which, she says, now accounts for about one-fourth of global sea level rise. In this presentation she reviews her studies of what is happening in that dynamic space at the edge of the ice sheets where atmosphere, ocean and glacier all come together, and the various mechanisms proposed as contributing to ice sheet loss.
Sedimentation rates in parts of the Arctic Ocean are surprisingly high with 1-2% of that sediment originating from ‘dirty ice,’ says Professor Emeritus Dennis Darby. He explains various processes that govern the formation of sea ice and how sediment can be entrained in it, the processes and routes by which ‘dirty ice’ is transported throughout the Arctic, and his data base of 38,000 different samples permits tracking sediment collected from the sea floor back to its point of origin.
The workshop’s first presentation was a status report on arctic climate from Dr. Jennifer Francis. In the past 30 years, she says, aerial coverage of sea ice has been reduced by half. Ice volume had declined 70% over the same period. She offers a novel hypothesis that Arctic amplification “regional warming in excess of the global average” causes the jet stream to slacken producing meanders that ‘lock in’ and cause aberrant weather for prolonged periods of time. Satellite imagery and this past winter’s ‘polar vortex’ and extended drought in the W.
YCEI’s 5th Annual Conference honored founding director IPCC Chairman Dr. Rajendra Pachauri. Dr. Pachauri reviewed his tenure at the helm of the YCEI in a presentation that concluded the conference. Yale President Peter Salovey made a surprise appearance, thanking Dr.
Yale Professor Ron Smith speaks on Climate Change in New England at a A Town Hall Meeting, entitled, “Climate Change in New England: What’s Next?” which explores how global warming will affect New England in the 21st century and how the region is preparing for the coming changes.
Assistant Professor Trude Storelvmo presents research which suggests that the cooling effect of aerosols may mask up to 0.5 degrees of warming. The implications are significant, as efforts to abate air pollution that health officials attribute to millions of deaths each year around the global will exacerbate warming trends and suggest that equilibrium climate sensitivity is at the higher end of ranges reported in the most recent IPCC Assessment Report.
Kevin Trenbeth, from the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), addresses a recent and recurring question about a conjectured pause in the rise of global surface temperatures during YCEI’s workshop on “Uncertainty in Climate Change: A Conversation with Climate Scientists and Economists”
Klaus Keller is an associate professor in the Department of Geosciences at Penn State University and an adjunct professor in the Department of Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.
Fran Ulmer reminds people that “Antarctica has penguins. The Arctic has people.” Ms. Ulmer was a University of Alaska Chancellor and Lieutenant Governor of Alaska from 1994-2002. She talks about the effects of climate change in Alaska where average seasonal temperatures have already increased by 4 degrees in summer and 7 degrees in winter. Her talk is wonderful for anyone who forgets how very different the situation is at the Earth’s poles: Antarctica is uninhabited land surrounded by an ocean, whereas the Arctic is an ocean surrounded by 8 nations.
William Nordhaus is the Sterling Professor of Economics at Yale University and author of over 20 books, including the recently published “The Climate Casino: Risk, Uncertainty, and Economics for a Warming World.” His DICE model is one of the first and still most widely utilized integrated assessment models for considering the relationships between climate change, energy consumption and economic impacts. What is really relevant to the discussion of uncertainty, says Professor Nordhaus, is an understanding of statistics, which is the subject of his talk.