Ithaca College to Present Climate Change Talk by Atmospheric Physicist

ITHACA, NY — A high-profile climate modeler at the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies will present “Climate Change: Picturing the Science” at Ithaca College on Monday, March 21. Part of the Physics Café series, the talk by atmospheric physicist Gavin Schmidt will take place at 7:30 p.m. in Emerson Suites, Phillips Hall. It is free and open to the public.

Climate science connects meteorology, oceanography, mathematics and history in order to explain what has happened in the past, what is happening now and what we might expect for the future. In his presentation, Schmidt will pull together images from around the world that illustrate how scientists go about the task of understanding climate change and what they have learned so far. He will explore both the implications and limitations of that knowledge and what that means for the human impact on Earth’s climate.

The title of Schmidt’s talk is taken from the 2009 book he coauthored with photographer Joshua Wolfe, which illustrates the ramifications of shifting weather patterns for human society. Photographic spreads show retreating glaciers, sinking villages in Alaska’s tundra and drying lakes while the text follows scientists from the polar ice caps to the coral reefs of tropical seas. Marshalling data spanning centuries and continents, the book affirmed the headlines about climate change with cutting-edge research and visual records, including contributions from experts on atmospheric science, oceanography, paleoclimatology, technology and politics.

Cited by “Scientific American” as one of the 50 research leaders of 2004, Schmidt uses large-scale general circulation models for the atmosphere and oceans to investigate and understand the variability of the climate. He is a contributing editor to the website, which tries to provide context and background on climate science issues that are often missing in popular media coverage. He has worked with the American Museum of Natural History and the New York Academy of Sciences and served as a Postdoctoral Fellow in Climate and Global Change Research at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The Physics Café series offers exciting and accessible talks on current topics in physics in a casual environment, where audience members and scientists can informally discuss new ideas over coffee and cookies. Past presentations have featured such topics as the time-warping properties of black holes, string theory, superconductivity and the exploration of Mars.

For more information, visit or contact Beth Ellen Clark Joseph, associate professor and chair of the Department of Physics, at or (607) 274 3968.

Climate Change book