• Getting to Green

    An administrator pushes, on a shoestring budget, to move his university and the world toward a more sustainable equilibrium.

Title

Let's go to the movies!

One of the tools I find most effective when talking to students about climate change is (no surprise here) streaming video. NASA has done a couple of pretty good ones, but predictions change rapidly as new data becomes available, so I'm always on the lookout for the newer and the more visually impressive.

Lately, some of the best videos have been based on climate modeling and predictions out of the Met Office Hadley Centre -- the UK's main government agency on such matters.

October 7, 2009
 
 

One of the tools I find most effective when talking to students about climate change is (no surprise here) streaming video. NASA has done a couple of pretty good ones, but predictions change rapidly as new data becomes available, so I'm always on the lookout for the newer and the more visually impressive.

Lately, some of the best videos have been based on climate modeling and predictions out of the Met Office Hadley Centre -- the UK's main government agency on such matters.

The relevant portion of the official Hadley Centre website is here.

An interesting set of articles is also available at the New Scientist site. (I didn't have to sign in, so I hope it's generally available. Please holler if it's not.)

For years, what the climatologists have been saying is that we need to keep the temperature rise below 2 degrees centigrade, to avoid major problems. That's technically true, but what people hear is that what climate change is threatening is a 2 degree rise, which is false.

What Hadley Centre is now predicting if things don't change is (on the global average) a 4 degree centigrade rise by 2055. And large areas of the globe (largely the parts that are uninhabitable by virtue of being underwater) will stay below that average. Which means, of course, that other areas will rise by more then 4 degrees.

In the northeastern USA (except for the portions of the coast which will actually cool down by virtue of now being -- you guessed it -- underwater), their model shows an 8-10 degree centigrade rise. That's 14.4 - 18 degrees Fahrenheit. That's huge.

And, even in late 2009 (locally known as a year without a summer), that's scarier than the latest horror movie.

Students may love to be scared when they know it's just a flick, but (my impression, at least), not so much in real life. At least for now, it's getting them riled up.

Which is one way I know that I'm doing my job.

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