Frontiers of Science with Steven C. Wofsy

Thursday, April 7, 2016 @ 6:00 p.m. - Frontiers of Science with Steven C. Wofsy! "Greenhouse Gases: Current Trends and Implications" in room 220 of the Aline Wilmot Skaggs Building (ASB) on the U of U Campus!.

FRONTIERS OF SCIENCE

with Dr. Steven C. Wofsy,
Abbott Lawrence Rotch Professor of Atmospheric and Environmental Chemistry at Harvard University

Greenhouse Gases: Current Trends and Implications

Date & Time: Thursday, April 7, 2016 at 6:00pm

Location: 220 Aline Skaggs Building at the University of Utah
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Concentrations of methane (CH4) and carbon dioxide (CO2) in the atmosphere have increased dramatically, starting in the 18th century, representing powerful drivers of global change and climate warming. In order assess future changes and design mitigation strategies, the emissions of these gases must be quantified, and the underlying biological, chemical, physical, and human processes must be understood. The relevant spatial scales span ecosystems, landscapes, regions, and continents, with temporal scales from seasonal to decadal, all very difficult to measure directly. This talk traces historical changes in atmospheric composition, showing the dramatic trends starting in the 1950s and continuing today. We then focus on the Arctic, a region with strong sensitivity to warming climate and vast stores of frozen or waterlogged organic carbon. We show recent results from the Carbon in the Arctic Reservoirs Vulnerability Experiment (CARVE) and other regional measurements that challenge conventional ideas about climate-carbon feedbacks in this region, emphasizing the key roles of processes that occur out of sight--under the surface, after the growing season. We conclude with a comparison between emissions of CH4 and CO2 due to human activities versus the natural world, showing the astonishing transition of the human component from modest perturbation to overwhelming dominance, in recent human memory.

Frontiers of Science is free and open to the public. Please arrive early, as seating and parking will be limited. Click here to learn more about the Frontiers of Science lecture series.

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