Friday, April 24, 2009

Earth, Orbit, and Climate

I'm spoofing myself with the above illustration. On 4/23, I had the pleasure of showing my illustrated and animated presentation, Earth, Orbit and Climate to a local middle school . The presentation loosely follows the first chapter of Ray Pierrehumbert's book, Principles of Planetary Climate, but also illustrates radiative balance as described in Trenberth et al.'s Earth's Global Energy Budgets. In addition to these main courses, the presentation also compares and contrasts atmospheric CO2 to water vapor, and ends with my attempts to understand how orbital forcing plus changes in the carbon cycle create and destroy ice sheets. The presentation celebrates the various scientific disciplines that reveal the global warming story, and doesn't call for specific action, but in clarifying the behaviour of CO2, I'm supporting the call for changes in our energy production and other activities that contribute to global warming.

About ten minutes before the presentation, our region suffered a power outage. The irony wasn't lost on me.

Power was restored shortly after, and I presented to two groups.

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