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Contributed by Jill Ackerman on 05/03/2011
Thusday, May 5th at 5:00 PM in the Klingenstein Room Physics Alum, Eric Leibensperger, '05, will give a talk on“Interactions Between Air Pollution and Climate: The Unintended Consequences of Cleaning Our Air”: The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has implemented increasingly strict regulations of air pollutants such as ozone and particulate matter (PM). Ozone and PM have been regulated due to their adverse health effects and contribution to acid rain. However, these air pollutants additionally affect climate by scattering solar radiation (PM) and enhancing the greenhouse effect (ozone). Regulations have significantly improved air quality in the eastern US, but at what climate cost? I use observations and a global climate model to show that PM air pollution shielded the US from realizing the full effect of manmade global warming between 1950 and 1980. After 1980, EPA mandated regulation of PM removed the cooling effect, resulting in rapid increases of surface air temperature in the eastern US.
Eric Leibensperger, now at Harvard University, grew up in Kutztown, Pennsylvania where he spent time playing hockey and music. He attended Ithaca College where he majored in physics and chemistry. He graduated from Ithaca in 2005. The following fall, he began a Ph.D. program in atmospheric chemistry and climate dynamics at Harvard University. After completing the program this spring, he assumed a postdoctoral position at MIT. Eric is interested in the chemistry and physics of the atmosphere, in particular the effects of manmade pollution on regional and global climate.