Middlebury

Noted climatologist Michael Mann to speak on "Global Climate Change: Past and Future" March 7

February 21, 2006

MIDDLEBURY, Vt. ? Michael Mann, a noted climatologist known for his research and statistical analysis of issues related to global warming, will deliver a lecture titled "Global Climate Change: Past and Future," on Tuesday, March 7, at 4:30 p.m. at Middlebury College in Room 216 of McCardell Bicentennial Hall, located on Bicentennial Way off College Street (Route 125). The talk is Middlebury College's 2006 Scott Margolin Lecture in Environmental Affairs and will highlight Mann's research. The event is free and open to the public.

Michael Mann

According to Mann, the earth is warming unnaturally. The evidence for human-caused warming includes temperature trends over the past millennium that indicate gradual cooling up until the start of the 20th century followed by a sharp upturn that continues today. A temperature graph of the period shows a characteristic "hockey stick" shape (see diagram below).

The original hockey stick graph is the work of Mann and his colleagues, who analyzed statistically more than 100 different measures, from tree rings to ice cores to coral reefs, which together provide an indication of temperature before there were thermometer records. Mann's work reinforces the now solid consensus that Earth is warming at an unprecedented rate, and that the warming of recent decades is largely the result of human activities. Since his graph was first published in 1999, Mann has extended the temperature curve back nearly 2,000 years, and other studies have confirmed the hockey stick shape in global temperature trends.


Michael Mann's 'hockey stick' graph. (Courtesy Michael Mann.)

Mann holds a joint appointment at the Penn State University Departments of Meteorology and Geosciences and in the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute. He is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center. He holds undergraduate degrees in physics and applied math from the University of California at Berkeley, a Master of Science in physics and a doctorate in geology and geophysics, both from Yale. In addition to his work on the statistical reconstruction of past climates, Mann's research compares climate models and data in order to understand the long-term behavior of climate and the climatic impact of human activities. He also investigates the physical and ecological responses to climate change.

Mann has been a leading publicizer of climate change research, both in the scientific community and for the general public. In 2005, Scientific American named him among 50 leading visionaries in science and technology. He was a lead author of a chapter in the 2001 report by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) titled "Observed Climate Variability and Change." He served as editor for the Journal of Climate, and chaired the National Academy of Science "Frontiers of Science" panel. He is co-founder and an avid contributor to the blog on the Web journal RealClimate.org, which interactively disseminates climate information to the general public.

Mann gained notoriety in 2005 when Texas Representative Joe Barton, chair of the United States House of Representatives' Energy and Commerce Committee and a global warming skeptic, demanded information on the location of data archives, computer codes, grant awards, and other research details from Mann and his hockey stick colleagues. Mann's reply: "I am pleased that the U.S. Congress has shown interest in the issue of climate change. I am confident that when Congress takes a look at the science, they will join with the consensus of the world's scientists that the earth is indeed warming, and that human activity has played a primary role in the warming observed in recent decades."

In 1998, the Middlebury College Lecture in Environmental Affairs was renamed in memory of Scott Margolin of the college's class of 1999, and is sponsored by the office of environmental affairs and the program in environmental studies.
 
For more information, contact Janet Wiseman of the Middlebury College Environmental Studies Program at jwiseman@middlebury.edu