15 episodios

An audio feed of Capitol Hill presentations by experts in the field of climate change, hosted by the American Meteorological Society's Environmental Policy Program.
This podcast should be updated within 24 hours of the live presentations.

Producer: Larry Gillick, Assistant Professor, Digital and Broadcast Media, Shenandoah University

AMS Climate Change Audio - Environmental Science Seminar Series (ESSS) American Meteorological Society ESSS

    • Ciencias naturales

An audio feed of Capitol Hill presentations by experts in the field of climate change, hosted by the American Meteorological Society's Environmental Policy Program.
This podcast should be updated within 24 hours of the live presentations.

Producer: Larry Gillick, Assistant Professor, Digital and Broadcast Media, Shenandoah University

    Assessing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Policies: New Science Tools in the Service of Policy and Negotiations

    Assessing Greenhouse Gas Emissions Reduction Policies: New Science Tools in the Service of Policy and Negotiations

    New Tools for Assessing GHG Reduction Policies
    As negotiations towards a post-Kyoto agreement on Greenhouse Gas (GHG) emissions intensify, there is a pressing need for flexible, user-friendly analytical tools to quickly yet reliably assess the impacts of the rapidly evolving policy proposals for emissions of greenhouse gases and their impact on the global climate. Such tools would enable negotiators, policymakers and other stakeholders, including the general public, to understand the relationships among proposals for emissions reductions, concentrations of GHGs in the atmosphere, and the resulting changes in climate.

    The new Climate-Rapid Overview And Decision Support Simulator (C-ROADS) developed by MIT, the Sustainability Institute, and Ventana Systems, in partnership with the Heinz Center, is just such a tool. C-ROADS is a user-friendly, interactive computer model of the climate system consistent with the best available science, data and observations.

    An international scientific review panel, headed by Dr. Robert Watson, former chair of the IPCC, finds that the C-ROADS model “reproduces the response properties of state-of- the-art three dimensional climate models very well” and concludes “Given the model’s capabilities and its close alignment with a range of scenarios published in the Fourth Assessment Report of the IPCC we support its widespread use among policy makers and the general public.”

    Dr. John D. Sterman is the Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management at the MIT Sloan School of Management, Professor of Engineering Systems and Director of MIT's System Dynamics Group. He is an expert on nonlinear dynamics particularly as applied in economic and socio-technical systems including energy, the environment and climate policy.

    Prof. Sterman's research centers on improving managerial decision making in complex systems. He has pioneered the development of "management flight simulators" of economic, environmental, and organizational systems. These flight simulators are now used by corporations and universities around the world. His recent research includes studies assessing public understanding of global climate change, the development of management flight simulators to assist climate policy design, and the development of markets for alternative fuel vehicles that are sustainable not only ecologically but economically.

    Dr. Robert W. Corell, Vice President of Programs for The H. John Heinz III Center for Science, Economics, and the Environment’s Global Change Director is also a Council Member for the Global Energy Assessment and a Senior Policy Fellow at the Policy Program of the American Meteorological Society. Dr. Corell also shared in the Nobel Peace Prize Award in 2007 for his extensive work with the IPCC assessments. In 2005, he completed an appointment as a Senior Research Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs of the Kennedy School for Government at Harvard University.

    Dr. Corell is actively engaged in research concerned with both the science of global change and with the interface between science and public policy, particularly research activities that are focused on global and regional climate change and related environmental issues. He currently chairs an international initiative, the overall goal of which is to strengthening the negotiating framework intended to prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system, central to which is the development and use of analytical tools that employ real-time climate simulations. Dr. Corell also chairs the Arctic Climate Impact Assessment as well as an 18-country international planning effort to outline the major Arctic-region research challenges for the decade or so ahead. He recently led an international strategic planning group that developed strategies and programs designe

    • 1h 34 min
    Two Engineering Measures to Reduce Global Warming: Injecting Particles into the Atmosphere and "Clean" Coal

    Two Engineering Measures to Reduce Global Warming: Injecting Particles into the Atmosphere and "Clean" Coal

    Managing Incoming Solar Radiation
    Largely out of concern that society may fall short of taking large and rapid enough measures to effectively contain the problem of global warming, two prominent atmospheric scientists - Paul Crutzen, who won a Nobel Prize in chemistry in 1995, and Tom Wigley, a senior scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research - published papers in 2006, suggesting that society might consider using geoengineering schemes to identify a temporarily "fix" to the problem.

    The concept of geoengineering - deliberately using technology to modify Earth's environment - has been discussed in the context of climate change since at least 1960. Over the years, proposals have included everything from carbon sequestration through ocean fertilization to damming the oceans. Crutzen and Wigley argued that geoengineering schemes, if done continuously, could reduce global warming enough to buy society time to address mitigation. However, geoengineering schemes may not be the answer. And in fact, such measures have the potential to create more problems than they solve.

    In particular, Crutzen and Wigley focused on blocking incoming solar radiation, an idea that has generated much interest in the press and the scientific community. Nature offers an example of how to do this. Volcanic eruptions cool the climate for up to a couple of years by injecting precursors to sulfate aerosol particles into the stratosphere, which has the effect of temporarily blocking incoming sunlight. It is true that volcanic eruptions cool the climate, but their effects are not innocuous, and should serve as a warning to society to be very cautious about deploying such geoengineering “solutions” without careful and considered evaluation beforehand. Among other things, the particles from volcanic eruptions also cause ozone depletion.

    Clean Coal Technology and Future Prospects
    Clean coal technologies are real, commonly used in commercial industrial gasification and likely essential to reduce CO2 due to the fast growing use of coal worldwide, especially in China. Commercial example of clean coal technology in the USA is the 25 year-old coal to synthetic natural gas (SNG) plant in North Dakota where all of the CO2 is captured and most is geologically storage for use in enhanced oil recovery (EOR) in Canada.

    The key issue is expanding clean coal technologies into coal-based electric power generation. This expansion presents additional challenges - more technology options and higher cost of CO2 capture than for industrial gasification. This also requires large-scale demonstration of all three CO2 capture technology options: pre, post and oxygen combustion. In time, the CO2 capture and storage costs will be reduced by both “learning by doing” and developing advanced technologies already moving in to small-scale demonstrations.

    Dr. Alan Robock is a Distinguished Professor of atmospheric science in the Department of Environmental Sciences at Rutgers University and the associate director of its Center for Environmental Prediction. He also directs the Rutgers Undergraduate Meteorology Program. He graduated from the University of Wisconsin, Madison, in 1970 with a B.A. in Meteorology, and from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology with an S.M. in 1974 and Ph.D. in 1977 in Meteorology. Before graduate school, he served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in the Philippines. He was a professor at the University of Maryland, 1977-1997, and the State Climatologist of Maryland, 1991-1997, before coming to Rutgers.

    Dale Simbeck joined SFA Pacific in 1980 as a founding partner. His principal activities involve technical, economic and market assessments of energy and environmental technologies for the major international energy companies. This work includes electric power generation, heavy oil upgrading, emission controls and synthesis gas

    • 1h 29 min
    Impacts of Recent Climate Change: Current Responses and Future Projections for Wild Ecosystems

    Impacts of Recent Climate Change: Current Responses and Future Projections for Wild Ecosystems

    Observed changes in natural systems, largely over the past century, indicate a clear global climate change signal. Even in the face of apparently dominating forces, such as direct, human-driven habitat destruction and alteration, this climate fingerprint implicates global climate change as a new and important driving force on wild plants and animals. Patterns across taxonomic groups are remarkably similar. Large poleward and upward range shifts associated with recent global climate change have been documented in a diversity of species. Likewise, significant trends towards earlier spring events have been documented in plants and animals across North America, Europe and Asia. These changes in species’ distributions and timing have been linked with regional climate warming for many species based on basic research and on long-term historical records. Our recent estimate is that about half of all wild species have responded to regional warming trends of 1-3° C over the past century, with strongest responses over the past 30 years.

    In the Third Assessment Report of IPCC (2001), we predicted that species restricted to extreme environments, such as mountaintops, the Arctic and Antarctic, would be most sensitive to small levels of warming and, indeed, these areas are showing the first signs of species declines and extinctions. Range-restricted species, particularly polar and mountaintop species, are showing severe range contractions in response to recent climate change. Tropical coral reefs and sea ice specialists have been most negatively affected, with indications that cloud forest amphibians are also highly vulnerable. New analyses indicate large differences in magnitude of spring advancement between major taxonomic groups, suggesting that normal interactions among species, such as flowers and the insects that pollinate them may become disrupted. Evolutionary adaptations to warmer conditions have occurred at the local, population level, but observed genetic shifts are limited. There is no indication that novel traits are appearing that would allow species to exist under more extreme climatic conditions than they currently live in.

    Dr. Parmesan’s early research spanned multiple aspects of the behavior, ecology and evolution of insect/plant interactions in natural systems. Since 1992, however, the focus of her work has been on biological impacts of anthropogenic climate change in natural systems. Her field work has focused on documenting continental-scale range shifts of butterfly species across both North America and Europe. Her more recent research has concentrated on global-scale syntheses of biological responses to climate change across all taxonomic groups. These syntheses have documented the global nature of climate change impacts, spanning all living organisms from microbes to charismatic animals in terrestrial, freshwater and marine systems.

    The intensification of global warming as an international issue led Dr. Parmesan into the interface of policy and science. She has given presentations for White House and Congressional representatives, has been involved in several U.S. and international assessments of climate change impacts, and has provided formal testimonies for the US House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, as well as the Texas Senate Natural Resources Committee. She has also been active in climate change programs for many international conservation organizations, such as IUCN (the International Union for the Conservation of Nature), the WWF (World Wildlife Fund), and the National Wildlife Federation, and served on the Science Council of the Nature Conservancy. She was a Lead Author and Contributing author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Assessment Report (2001), as well as Reviewer and Co-author of the Uncertainty Guidance Report for the IPCC

    • 1h 18 min
    Accelerating Atmospheric CO2 Growth from Economic Activity, Carbon Intensity, and Efficiency of Natural Carbon Sinks

    Accelerating Atmospheric CO2 Growth from Economic Activity, Carbon Intensity, and Efficiency of Natural Carbon Sinks

    The increase in atmospheric carbon dioxide (CO2) is the single largest human perturbation of the climate system. Its rate of change reflects the balance between human-driven carbon emissions and the dynamics of a number of terrestrial and ocean processes that remove or emit CO2. It is the long term evolution of this balance that will determine to a large extent the speed and magnitude of climate change and the mitigation requirements to stabilize atmospheric CO2 concentrations at any given level. Dr. Canadell will present the most recent trends in global carbon sources and sinks, updated for the first time to the year 2007, with particularly focus on major shifts occurring since 2000. Dr. Canadell’s research indicates that the underlying drivers of changes in atmospheric CO2 growth include: i) increased human-induced carbon emissions, ii) stagnation of the carbon intensity of the global economy, and iii) decreased efficiency of natural carbon sinks.

    New Estimates of Carbon Storage in Arctic Soils and Implications in a Changing Environment

    The Arctic represents approximately 13% of the total land area of the Earth, and arctic tundra occupies roughly 5 million square kilometers. Arctic tundra soils represent a major storage pool for dead organic carbon, largely due to cold temperatures and saturated soils in many locations that prevent its decomposition. Prior estimates of carbon stored in tundra soils range from 20-29 kg of soil organic carbon (SOC) per square meter. These estimates however, were based on data collected from only the top 20-40 cm of soil, and were sometimes extrapolated to 100 cm. It is our understanding that large quantities of SOC are stored at greater depths, through the annual freezing and thawing motion of the soils (cryoturbation), and potentially frozen in the permafrost.

    Recent detailed analysis of Arctic soils by Dr. Epstein and his colleagues found that soil organic carbon values averaged 34.8 kg per square meter, representing an increase of approximately 40% over the prior estimates. Additionally, 38% of the total soil organic carbon was found in the permafrost.

    Past, Present and Future Changes in Permafrost and Implications for a Changing Carbon Budget

    Presence of permafrost is one of the major factors that turn northern ecosystems into an efficient natural carbon sink. Moreover, a significant amount of carbon is sequestered in the upper several meters to several tens of meters of permafrost. Because of that, the appearance and disappearance of permafrost within the northern landscapes have a direct impact on the efficiency of northern ecosystems to sequester carbon in soil, both near the ground surface and in deeper soil layers. Recent changes in permafrost may potentially transform the northern ecosystems from an effective carbon sink to a significant source of carbon for the Earth’s atmosphere. Additional emissions of carbon from thawing permafrost may be in the form of CO2 or methane depending upon specific local conditions.

    Dr. Romanovsky will present information on changes in terrestrial and subsea permafrost in the past during the last glacial-interglacial cycle and on the most recent trends in permafrost in the Northern Hemisphere. He will further discuss the potential impact of these changes in permafrost (including a short discussion on potential changes in methane gas clathrates) on the global carbon cycle. Dr. Romanovsky’s research suggests that permafrost in North America and Northern Eurasia shows a substantial warming during the last 20 to 30 years. The magnitude of warming varied with location, but was typically from 0.5 to 2°C at 15 meters depth. Thawing of the Little Ice Age permafrost is on-going at many locations. There are some indications that the late-Holocene permafrost started to thaw at some specific undisturbed locations in the European Northeast, in the Nort

    • 1h 53 min
    Keynote Address - AMS workshop on Federal Climate Policy

    Keynote Address - AMS workshop on Federal Climate Policy

    Herman Daly, Ph.D., delivers the keynote address the recent AMS workshop on Federal Climate Policy. He explores the distinction between economic growth —a quantitative increase in size that is constrained by the physical limits of the Earth system—and economic development—a qualitative improvement in our state of being. In so doing, he helps identify design principles for climate policy that can enhance environmental protection, benefit the economy, and promote political feasibility.

    Daly is a professor in the School of Public Affairs at the University of Maryland. Previously he served as Senior Economist in the Environment Department at the World Bank, where he helped develop policy guidelines related to sustainable development.

    He has received numerous awards including the Honorary Right Livelihood Award, Sweden's alternative to the Nobel Prize.

    • 38 min
    Public Attitudes, Perceptions, and Concern about Global Warming: Evidence from a New Survey

    Public Attitudes, Perceptions, and Concern about Global Warming: Evidence from a New Survey

    According to a February, 18, 2007, press release describing a survey on public perceptions of global warming, a majority of Americans agreed with most scientists that the Earth is getting warmer, but were divided over the seriousness of the problem, predicated on a belief that scientists themselves disagreed about global warming. What, if any, was the role of the news media in fueling that perception? Is that perception still prevalent? And where does the public stand today regarding amelioration strategies? Do people support the policy solutions that are most favored by the Presidential candidates? Is there a relation between what people know about global warming and how concerned they are about it? Is there a divide between Republicans and Democrats on these matters? If so, how might one explain these differences in perceptions about global warming?

    Program Summary

    With both major Presidential candidates endorsing cap and trade programs to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and Congress increasingly devoting effort to climate change legislation, the American public's views of these matters will become more important in the coming months. Yet survey evidence suggests that cap-and-trade is one of the public's least favorite ways to reduce emissions. Our speaker today, Professor Jon Krosnick, has conducted a new national survey to explore the reasons for this reluctance. Different respondents were randomly assigned to receive different descriptions of cap-and-trade, to see whether some framings increased the policy's appeal. The results identify communication strategies that were and were not successful and thereby point to reasons for the public's reluctance. The survey also experimentally tested the hypothesis that "balanced" news media coverage of climate change has caused the majority of Americans to believe that there is no consensus among scientific experts about the existence of climate change. The survey's evidence highlights unintended consequences of "optimal" journalism and the power of the press.


    For 25 years, Dr. Jon A. Krosnick has conducted research exploring how the American public's political attitudes are formed, change, and shape thinking and action. He is co-principal investigator of the American National Election Study, the nation's preeminent academic project exploring voter decision-making and political campaign effects. A world-renowned expert on questionnaire design and survey research methodology, he has conducted survey studies of Americans' attitudes on environmental issues in collaboration with ABC News, the Washington Post, Time magazine, and New Scientist magazine.

    Dr. Krosnick has authored six books and more than 120 peer-reviewed scientific articles. His books include the Handbook of Questionnaire Design (forthcoming), Attitude Strength, Thinking about Politics, and Introduction to Survey Research, Polling, and Data Analysis. Dr. Krosnick teaches courses on survey methodology around the world at universities, for corporations, and for government agencies, testifies regularly as an expert witness in courts in the U.S. and abroad, and has served as an on-air election-night television commentator and exit poll data analyst.

    Dr. Krosnick earned an A.B. degree in Psychology (Magna C*m Laude) from Harvard University in 1980; an M.A. degree in Social Psychology (with Honors) from the University of Michigan in 1983, and a Ph.D. in Social Psychology from University of Michigan in 1986.

    • 1h 47 min

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