Confused Climates, Wacky Weather and Exasperated Experts: A Global Warming Primer

image courtesy The Onion
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Taught by Sonali McDermid

Sonali McDermid recently finished her PhD at Columbia University and is now a climate scientist at NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies here in NYC. The natural sciences pique her deep interests while good food is near to her heart, and so she decided to combine these pursuits by trying to understand how climate change will impact agriculture and food security around the globe. Although she finds the "debate" about climate change stressful at times, she is heartened by all the great projects popping up world-wide that promote responsible, sustainable development. She believes that shopping and living your values can, in fact, be impactful, even on small scales. In her spare time, you may stumble upon her hiking upstate or perusing the produce at farmers markets in and around NYC. 

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"Climate change panel warns of severe storms, heatwaves and floods"
The Guardian

"Earth's coolest March since 1999; global warming on the wane?"
Washington Post  

"Americans connect dots between global warming and extreme weather"
Washington Post

"More Global Warming Alarmist Games: Doctoring The Temperature Record"
Forbes OpEd  

Do you find such headlines confusing? Exhausting?  Even scary? Or do you skillfully avoid reading them altogether as you navigate your morning paper?

The historic and complex field of climate science has recently burst from anonymity to be caught in the fire of partisan debate and paparazzi-like coverage. In the same year, climate scientists have received both the Nobel Peace Prize and individual death threats. Meanwhile, the Earth continues to experience record-breaking weather events and landscape changes that challenge our civilization to cope and adapt. 

Join us as we wade past the politics and headlines of global warming to construct a clearer picture of our climate system. We'll delve into the basics of climate science to understand what changes are really happening and why. We'll talk about uncertainties surrounding future climate predictions and address the climate skeptics' point of view. Finally, we'll tackle the perhaps more important questions - will climate change impact your life; what can you do about it; and, seriously, why is this weather so crazy? 

By the end of the night, you'll be better informed to figure out just which of those headlines are worth reading . . . and which are most alarming. 



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