Climate Change and Global Warming: Facts and Fiction

We are failing to control the rapid changes in Earth’s environment. This class will examine our understanding of climate change science and discuss the scientific data that reveals the reality of and response to our current climatic and environmental situation. We will consider the historical climate changes on planet Earth as well as the environmental changes in high latitudes and in the world’s oceans. Our last class will discuss how we can work to communicate the underlying science of climate change to others and individualize specific steps to diminish production and release of greenhouse gases. We aim to improve our understanding of climate change, enable and challenge ourselves to encourage leaders in government and businesses to address issues, and reduce our individual impacts on Earth’s environment.

October 25:  The Basics of Climate Change and Global Warming:  What Does Science Tell Us? This class will review the main causes of global warming and climate change. Release of greenhouse gases, primarily carbon dioxide, is the chief cause of our recent changes in climate over the past 40 years. Discussions concerning the global carbon cycle will emphasize the sources of anthropogenic greenhouse gases to the atmosphere as well as the natural environmental processes that are removing some greenhouse gases from the atmosphere (e.g., air-sea interaction, and biosphere greening). Presenter:  Dave DeMaster; B.S., Chemistry, Univ. of Wisconsin; M.S., Ph.D., Marine Geochemistry, Yale; Professor Emeritus, Department of MEAS, NC State.

November 1: Climate Change and Extreme Events. Why is climate change expected to produce more extreme storms, floods, heatwaves, and droughts? Evidence will be shown that this is already happening. We will point to some of the impacts, and discuss how we can be better prepared for current and future extreme events. Presenter: Walt Robinson; B.S., Physics, M.S. Physics, University of Pennsylvania; Ph.D., Geological Sciences, Columbia University; Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, NC State.       

November 8The Future Climate of North Carolina--Uncharted Waters.  The ongoing increases in atmospheric greenhouse gasses, if allowed to continue along the present trajectory, will change the climate of North Carolina in profound ways. Our scientific knowledge of the climate system provides a firm basis for reliably projecting certain climate changes. The foundations of this knowledge include observed recent climate changes, our understanding of the basic physics of the atmosphere, and experiments using complex and sophisticated computer models of the climate system. This knowledge underlies the content of the recently released North Carolina Climate Science Report, which responds to Governor Cooper’s Executive Order 80. The virtual inevitability of some of these changes should spur immediate actions to protect the State’s citizens. Presenter:  Kenneth Kunkel; B.S., Physics, Southern Illinois University; M.S., Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison; Professor, Department of MEAS, NC State.

November 15: A Geologic Time Perspective on Current and Future Climate Change and Global Warming What do we know about how climate has varied over thousands to millions of years of Earth history and how do we know it? How do climate changes in the past compare to those we anticipate in the future? Presenter:  Lonnie Leithold; B.S., Geology and Geophysics, University of Wisconsin-Madison; M.S., Ph.D., Geology, University of Washington, Professor, Department of MEAS, NC State.

November 29: A Marine Perspective of Climate Change and Global Warming.  This class will explore the nature of climate change as it affects oceanic processes such as sea-ice formation, global ocean circulation, ocean acidification, coral reef die-offs, and sea level rise.  Have there been natural changes in ocean circulation that have caused significant variations in Earth’s climate?  Yes, there have--come and see what they are.  Presenter:  Dave DeMaster

December 6: International Climate Agreements:  What Can Individuals Do to Limit the Causes and Impacts of Climate Change and Global Warming?  This class will discuss the successes and failures of the two main international climate agreements: the Kyoto Protocol of 2005, the Paris Agreement of 2015, and the recent Inflation Reduction Act. Information also will be provided concerning an owner's perspective on home solar panels. Class members will be asked to name ways that they individually are trying to reduce the causes and impacts of global warming, which will be shared with the class and discussed from a scientific perspective. Presenter:  Dave DeMaster

Registration deadline: Oct. 23


Name Session Dates Location Format Registration Dates
Climate Change and Global Warming: Facts and Fiction10/25/23 - 12/06/23McKimmon CenterClassroom07/27/23 - 10/24/23  REGISTER NOW