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Episode 26
Featuring Gavin Schmidt
Whether is the prototypical complex system. Edward Lorenz, one of the pioneers of chaos theory, was a meteorologist. So why is climate change so controversial? Demetri Kofinas cuts through the controversy and dives right into the data, models, and forecasts of climate science with NASA's Chief Climate Scientist Gavin Schmidt.

In this week’s episode of Hidden Forces, host Demetri Kofinas speaks with NASA’s Chief Climate Scientist and Head of the Goddard Institute for Space Studies, Gavin Schmidt. The two cut through the controversy surrounding climate change and dive right into the heart of climate science. They parse through the data, explore the climate models, and consider the impact that further warming could have on humanity in the decades to come.  

 

What is driving the warming of our planet? What is causing the acidification of the oceans? What is shrinking the ice sheets? What is causing the rise in sea levels, the decrease in snow cover, and the melting glaciers? Is there a causal connection between human activity and the prolonged droughts, intense heat waves, and raging wildfires we have seen in recent years? What are the feedback mechanisms of climate change? How do we measure the impact of losing reflective layers of ice, exposing permafrost, or releasing vapor into the atmosphere? What does the cooling of the upper atmosphere tell us about the cause of global warming? Could changes in solar activity, sunspots and cosmic rays, and their effects on clouds be to blame for climate change? How will humanity respond to more extreme weather events – hurricanes, droughts, floods, and forest fires – as our populations grow and the density of our coastal regions increases? And is there anything we can do, to prepare?

 

Producer & Host: Demetri Kofinas

Editor & Engineer: Stylianos Nicolaou

Join the conversation at @hiddenforcespod

Gavin A. Schmidt is a climatologist, climate modeler and Director of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) in New York, and co-founder of the award-winning climate science blog RealClimate.

He was educated at The Corsham School, earned a BA (Hons) in mathematics at Jesus College, Oxford, and a PhD in applied mathematics at University College London. Schmidt worked on the variability of the ocean circulation and climate, using general circulation models (GCMs). He has also worked on ways to reconcile paleo-data with models. He helped develop the GISS ocean and coupled GCMs to improve the representation of the present day climate, while investigating their response to climate forcing.

 

NASA named Schmidt to head GISS in June 2014. He stepped into the position left vacant after the retirement of long-time director James E. Hansen, becoming the third person to hold the post. In an interview with Science News, Schmidt said that he wanted to continue the institute's work on climate modeling and to expand its work on climate impacts and astrobiology.


@ClimateOfGavin

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