Institutional Seminar Series
Thursday, January 16
Scripps Seaside Forum Auditorium
11:30 a.m. Pizza will be served
12:00 p.m. Talks begin
It may seem insignificant, too tiny to have an impact on Earth’s surface, but it can travel thousands of miles, sustain life, and record variations in climate. Fine grained mineral particles—otherwise known as dust—can tell us about how ecosystems respond to aridification, land-use intensification, or rapid climate transitions both in the present and thousands to millions of years ago. My research focuses on how variations in the dust cycle alter soil nutrients and what geochemical variations of dust preserved in the ice core record can tell us about predominant wind directions, glacial sediment supply, and atmospheric transport.
Earth’s climate is changing, and will continue to change, as a result of rising greenhouse gas concentrations. One of the central goals of climate science is to make accurate predictions of these future changes, allowing us to prepare for climate change, and to evaluate potential emission and mitigation scenarios. In this talk, I will discuss some of the scientific questions which need to be addressed in order to make accurate climate predictions. First, I will discuss Earth’s climate sensitivity – how much global-mean surface temperature would increase in response to a doubling of CO2 concentrations. Climate sensitivity is a key quantity for making future projections, yet is still quite uncertain, and I will present some recent ideas for how we might better constrain it. But climate sensitivity is a global-mean quantity, whereas we are interested in the local climates which people actually experience. So in the second part of the talk I will focus on how improving our basic understanding of the general circulation of the atmosphere will allow us accurately predict regional climate changes. Combining local and global perspectives is essential for predicting what the climate of 2100 will look like.
*The University of California system is committed to going zero waste by 2020, and we’re already diverting 69% of our solid waste from landfills system wide. UC San Diego needs everyone to pitch in with waste reductions efforts. Bring your own plate and cup to the Institutional Seminar instead of using single-use items. #MyLastTrash