Friday, September 7, 2012

From Math to Civil Rights to Sea Ice to Geoengineering to an Attempt at a Balanced Perspective on Climate Change

Dr. Claire Parkinson presented a Maniac Talk on August 22, 2012 at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Abstract: In recent years, climate change has become a topic of heated discussion, and sea ice has been one of the components of climate receiving considerable attention. This was not at all the situation in the 1970s, when Claire Parkinson got into sea ice studies. Claire will share some of the sea-ice science she has been involved in at Goddard over the past 34 years, as well as key moments on her route to becoming a NASA scientist and key factors influencing her perspective on climate change and the discussion of climate change. These factors include an early passion for mathematics, a keen interest in the history of science, a career in sea ice studies, and concerns about geoengineering.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Modeling Atmospheric Aerosols: Opportunities, Excitements, and Danger

Dr. Mian Chin presented Maniac Talk on July 25, 2012 at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

A physical scientist at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, Dr. Mian Chin is the lead of several projects involving global modeling of tropospheric aerosols and chemistry. In the series of Maniac Talks we’ve had so far, Mian’s talk provides an important linkage between the observations and modeling world. So far we’ve had 9 talks and they focused on the use of satellite and in-situ observations for earth sciences. Mian and her colleagues have developed the global GOCART model (Goddard Chemistry Aerosol Radiation and Transport), which has been used to simulate tropospheric aerosols and related gas species. The GOCART model is suitable for linking satellite and in-situ or satellite-based observations.

In her talk, Mian shared her personal experiences in this field and discussed recent progresses, issues, and perspectives. She did a wonderful job of charting out the development in the modeling of global aerosols that began about 20 years ago. For someone who is not an expert in aerosol modeling, the historical background was a perfect course on when things started, who were the key researchers, what were the key results, what followed from this initial work and where the field is now – including the key groups currently working on various aspects of aerosol modeling. Mian mentioned that now there are many global models in the world developed with various complexities and capabilities. She presented important results and contributions from her group and collaborators in terms of modeling dust, black carbon, organic carbon and sea salt using GOCART model. Comparisons of model results against satellite observations were also presented. Mian’s talk illustrated the wide range of applications of global models, including assessing aerosol climate forcing and impacts on the past, present, and future, forecasting near-real time air quality, supporting field experiments, and analyzing observations from a variety of platforms.

--Summary & Picture by Falguni Patadia