Torrential floods in Europe recently killed hundreds and displaced thousands. A "heat dome" over the Pacific Northwest this June brought record temperatures (121F in British Columbia?!?) and led to something like a thousand deaths (more like a billion, if you count marine animals). Wildfires out west and in Canada are sending smoke all across North America. Climate change is not the only cause of these fires, but is certainly an extremely important factor -- less-frequent but more-intense rainfall leads to landslides instead of recharging aquifers, shorter winters yield less mountain snowpack to melt into rivers, hotter temperatures draw more moisture out of the soil (turning vegetation into tinder), and stronger storms create more lightning to spark fires. All of these events (and more) are predicted to become even more common into the future. How do we know this? Scientists often use models to understand and predict how conditions will change in complex systems.
The 115th Sustainability Salon will be all about climate modeling. Speakers will include
L. Ray Roberts, a longtime local leader for Citizens Climate Lobby, will demonstrate MIT's En-ROADS interactive modeling tool -- which anybody can use to quantify the effects of different climate policies.
Hamish Gordon is an assistant research professor at Carnegie Mellon University, studying the interaction of atmospheric particles (both natural aerosols and pollution) with clouds and climate.
Chris E. Forest is a professor of Climate Dynamics and the director of the Penn State Center for Earth System Modeling, Analysis, and Data; he was also a lead author on the IPCC's Fifth Assessment Report. His research focuses on climate dynamics, quantifying uncertainty in climate predictions, and assessing climate risks.
More details to follow!
If you haven't been here before, you may enjoy checking out our roof garden and solar installation (and now apiary!) as well as the many other green and interesting things around our place. If interested folks are online and everything is working smoothly by around 3:30, perhaps I can conduct a virtual tour.