Annual Lecture Series 2007

June 11-15, 2007

3:30 p.m. Monday, June 11
Ocean Circulation and Climate Change: A Chilling Combination?
Ruth Curry, Research Specialist, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution
Ocean circulation plays a major role in the global climate system. In storing heat, water and carbon dioxide, exchanging these with the atmosphere, and transporting them around the planet’s surface, the oceans perform a crucial part of the climate system, one that can amplify changes triggered by rapidly rising greenhouse gas concentrations. Curry will explain why it is critical to understand the ocean’s response to warming and the potential for increased severity of hurricanes, drought and sea level rise.Ruth Curry is a senior research specialist in physical oceanography at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod, Massachusetts. She has been going to sea on research vessels and making measurements of ocean properties and currents around the globe since 1980. Curry was recently named the James E. and Barbara V. Molz Research Fellow of the Ocean and Climate Change Institute at WHOI. She was featured in a 2004 Scientific American Frontiers episode “Hot Planet, Cold Comfort” and contributed to Al Gore’s documentary film and book on global warming. (Lecture Summary)
3:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 12
A Sea Change for Ecosystems in the North Atlantic
Charles H. Greene, PhD, Ocean Resources and Ecosystems Program, Cornell University
Since the 1970s, unprecedented climate warming in the Arctic has led to increased precipitation, glacial and sea ice melting, and has altered Arctic Ocean circulation patterns. More recently, changes in Arctic circulation patterns have been linked with a dramatic shift in Northwest Atlantic Ocean shelf ecosystems. Greene will relate these circulation patterns to shifts in abundance of plankton and their consumers and explain the consequences for ecosystems.Charles Greene is a professor in the Earth & Atmospheric Sciences Department at Cornell. He joined the faculty there as a visiting assistant professor in Ecology and Systematics and has served there as the director for the Biological Resources Program and the Ocean Resources and Ecosystems Program in the Center for the Environment. After receiving his doctorate in oceanography from the University of Washington in 1985, Greene began a postdoctoral fellowship at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, where he maintains a visiting investigator position to this day. (Lecture Summary)
3:30 p.m. Wednesday, June 13
Reporting on Water Supply: New Stories of Scarcity
Cynthia Barnett, Author and Associate Editor, Florida Trend
Since the 1870s westerners have had to irrigate and share water to survive. Today, vast wetland drainage, development and overuse have led to scarcity and water wars across the American East. Barnett, author of the new book, Mirage: Florida and the Vanishing Water of the Eastern U.S., will outline these new stories of scarcity, and give participants tools for better reporting on water supply on both sides of the 100 th Meridian.Cynthia Barnett has written for Florida Trend magazine since 1998, where she covers investigative, environmental, public policy and business stories. She has been a reporter and editor at newspapers and magazines for twenty years. Her numerous awards include three investigative-reporting prizes in the Green Eyeshades, which recognize the best journalism in 11 southeastern states. In 2004, she was awarded a Knight-Wallace Fellowship at the University of Michigan, where she spent a year studying freshwater supply. (Lecture Summary)
3:30 p.m. Thursday, June 14
The Potential Health Impacts of Climate Change
Joel D. Scheraga, National Program Director, Global Change Research Program and Mercury Research Program, US Environmental Protection Agency
Global climate change poses a range of new challenges to protecting public health, from extreme temperatures to insect-borne diseases. What are the warning signs? Can infectious diseases be controlled? Scheraga will discuss health impacts of a changing climate and ways to safeguard public well-being.Joel Scheraga is the National Program Director for the Global Change Research Program and the Mercury Research Program in the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Office of Research and Development. He is responsible for managing the $18 million program and over 50 personnel in five laboratories and centers. Scheraga is actively involved in international research and assessment activities and co-authored of the 2005 Human Health Synthesis Report that is part of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. He received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees from Brown University. (Lecture Summary)
11 a.m. Friday, June 15
The Business of Climate Change: Alternative Energy Realities
Chris Powell, Energy Manager, Department of Facilities Management, Brown University, Moderator
Cutler Cleveland, Professor, Department of Geography and Environment, Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, Boston University
Jeff Deyette, Senior Energy Analyst, Union of Concerned Scientists
Dennis Duffy, Vice President, Cape Wind Associates and Vice President of Regulatory Affairs, Energy Management, Inc.
Dan Valianti, Manager, Northeast Energy and Climate Program, Ceres

Twelve states have passed energy standards that require at least fifteen percent of their energy to come from renewable sources in the next two decades. Is this realistic? Will it be enough? Panelists will summarize potential alternative energies and discuss the economic feasibility of and policy hurdles to achieving renewable energy goals. (Lecture Summary)

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