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Impact of Climate Change on New England (Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering: VASE)

Talk Given At:
University of Vermont
Date of Talk:
September 27th, 2005

Climate change is one of the great challenges we face this century. Our understanding of the climate system is incomplete, but the burning of our fossil fuel reserves is rapidly increasing CO2 in the atmosphere, so that the earth is no longer in radiative balance, and the climate is being pushed towards a warmer state. The oceans are warming, polar ice sheets and permafrost are melting, spring in the Northern Hemisphere is getting earlier and the whole ecosystem of the earth is facing faster changes than it has seen perhaps at any time in the hundred thousand years. This talk will explain with illustrations the parts of the climate system that matter for New England, and explain what we know about instabilities of the earth’s climate from past ice-ages. This will be followed by a discussion of what is likely to happen this century, both globally and in New England.

The speaker is the incoming President of the Vermont Academy of Science and Engineering, Dr. Alan K. Betts of Atmospheric Research, Pittsford, Vermont. He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the American Meterorological Society, the Royal Meteorological Society and the American Association for the Advancement of Science. The author of over 120 research papers in scientific journals, he is recognized internationally as a leading expert on weather and climate science.

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