Prominent Climate Researcher to Speak on Global Warming March 5

As the federal government moves forward with plans to invest in renewable energy, questions persist about the Earth’s climate: Is our climate dramatically changing? And, if it is, are humans or natural variations in climate or other causes responsible?  

A recent Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report – after which the IPCC and Al Gore won the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize – convinced most climate scientists that man is indeed changing the climate and that significant global warming is occurring, Yet some scientists remain skeptical.

Warren M. Washington, a leading expert in atmospheric science and climate research, will address these questions during a presentation at the University of Houston Thursday, March 5. His talk is free and open to the public.

Washington is senior scientist and head of the Climate Change Research Section in the Climate and Global Dynamics Division at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR), Boulder, Colo. He will speak 4-5:30 p.m. in the Science and Engineering Classroom Building Auditorium (Room 100).

His talk is titled "20th and 21st Century Climate Change: Computer Modeling, Societal Impacts and Environmental Justice." He will present recently observed 20th-century climate changes and compare those observations with climate model simulations that extend into the 21st century and beyond. He will describe what information goes into climate models. Washington also will show computer simulations of future climate change if society shifts from a fossil fuel-based energy strategy to one based on increased conservation and renewable energy, including nuclear power.

Washington also will discuss scientific uncertainties and societal impacts, policy options that include geoengineering of the climate, and environmental justice.

Washington, who specializes in computer modeling of the climate, is one of only a few black atmospheric scientists. He has served in a number of advisory roles to U.S. presidents and the federal government. Beginning in 1995, President Clinton appointed him to two six-year terms on the National Science Board, which helps oversee the National Science Foundation and advises the executive branch and Congress on science-related matters.

Washington's talk is part of the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics Dean's Lecture Series. The NSM Office of the Dean, the Alliance for Graduate Education and the Professorate and the Houston-Louis Stokes Alliance for Minority Participation sponsor the lectures, which are designed to expose minority students to the possibilities of research and encourage them to pursue graduate studies in science and engineering.

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