Past Climate Tests of Future Climate Predictions: Testing climate model veracity

The pressure to respond to Earth’s climate crisis has further increased with the recent release of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

Presented by: Dr. Richard Peltier – 2013 Canada Council Killam Prize Winner in Natural Sciences
Date and time: November 14, 2013 at 4:00 pm
Location: Room 150, TELUS Centre, University of Alberta
Free admission. Everyone welcome

Climate model projections of our ‘greenhouse’ future are certainly cause for alarm. While models are finely tuned to accurately fit historical climate change records—will the futures they predict be similarly accurate? Join Richard Peltier, renowned physics professor from the University of Toronto, as he address climate model veracity—a presentation that will include examples with a distinctly Canadian flavor, including past events along the ‘Alberta corridor.’

Helping us understand our planet to better understand our future
Richard’s work has shaped our understanding of earth’s interconnected systems—and of the threat we face due to global warming. He is internationally recognized for generating original understanding of ice-age geodynamics. His models of planetary shape changes caused by continental ice-sheet evolution employ sophisticated mathematical concepts to depict how our climate has evolved over the past 750 million years, and project what is likely to happen in the future if climate change continues.

Much of Richard’s research, including his study of the global thermohaline circulation, has sharpened our understanding of Earth’s climate history. Work by Peltier and his students recently shed light on the Younger Dryas event, a 1,000 year period of earth’s history that began about 12,800 years ago that was not previously understood. Their work showed that the event was caused when a massive deglacial flood of freshwater entered the Arctic Ocean through the Mackenzie River outlet into the Beaufort Sea.

Earth system science
Richard’s work has helped pioneer earth system science—which brings together atmospheric science, oceanography, geophysics, geochemistry, geology, hydrology and glaciology to understand how the Earth works as an integrated system. Highly cited and respected for his contributions to geophysics, atmospheric physics and climate change research, he is credited with spawning an entirely new sub-discipline in the solid earth and climate dynamical sciences.