2010 ESI/IFREE Lecture

Climate Change, Facts and Hype: Hazards and Impacts and What does the Future Hold?

April 16th 3:00-4:30 p.m. in Wilkinson Hall room #116 Chapman University, Orange, CA.

Menas Kafatos – Climate Change, Facts and Hype: Hazards and Impacts and What does the Future hold?

Bio: Dr. Menas Kafatos joined Chapman University in 2008 as the Vice Chancellor for Special Projects and is also Founding Dean of the Schmid College of Science, Director of the Center for Excellence in Applied, Computational, and Fundamental Science, and Professor of Physics, Computational Sciences and Engineering.  He received his B.A. in Physics from Cornell University in 1967 and his Ph.D. in Physics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in 1972.   After postdoctoral work at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, he joined George Mason University and was University Professor of Interdisciplinary Sciences there from 1984-2008.  He also served as Dean of the School of Computational Sciences and was Director of the Center for Earth Observing and Space Research.

Abstract: The Earth is continuously undergoing global change. Part of this change constitutes variability of the climate system. For the last several thousand years, the Earth’s climate has been naturally warming up. However, it is the recent changes and potentially humanly-induced global warming that are attracting a lot of attention at all levels of societies and are an intense subject of study by the scientific communities. It appears that global change and its effects are proceeding at ever increasing rates. It is also obvious that the impacts of climate change are felt at regional and local levels, yet the influences of change tie different parts of the Earth together. Natural hazards are impacted by climate change, whether natural or anthropogenic, and in turn affect the global system with regional climate impacts. The “clear and present danger” of 21st century global change is the hazards, and pollution, and the havoc they are causing on both human societies and nature. However, as we will show, the connections of the entire physical-biological Earth system, as complex as this system is, to human societies, and associated socio-economic factors, energy, economic issues, and policy agreements at the national and international levels, are even more complex and even less understood. One of the most exciting future developments will be connecting economic models with climate models and observations. Coordinated observing systems from space may be one of the surest ways to shed light on the entire, highly complex physical-societal system.

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