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Meet the minds behind all that climate change data

In This Series

  • Paleoclimatologist studies sea levels in a desert

    Exactly how much did the sea level rise three million years ago? Okay. Probably not a question you’ve asked yourself lately. But the question and, more importantly, its answer are significant. They will help scientists understand how fast and how high our current sea levels are likely to rise as today’s global warming trend melts […]

  • The man behind the climate models

    Warren Washington literally wrote the book on climate modeling. Introduction to Three-Dimensional Climate Modeling, which he co-authored with Claire L. Parkinson in 2005, is the classic graduate-level text in the field. A former head of the American Meteorological Society and an adviser to every president — Republican and Democrat alike — since Jimmy Carter, Washington […]

  • Evidence of climate change springs ahead with blooming wildflowers

    Spring certainly seems to arrive earlier these days than it used to. But is it a sure sign of global warming or just natural variability? After decades of careful research on wildflowers, University of Maryland ecologist David Inouye has some definitive — and disturbing — answers. This summer Inouye returns to the Rocky Mountain Biological […]

  • Are butterflies the silent harbingers of global warming?

    Camille Parmesan studies the effects of global warming by chasing butterflies. Sounds fanciful, but it is anything but. Her careful field observations of butterfly populations have produced compelling evidence of how climate change has already affected our living planet. In several landmark studies, she has helped pave the way for a body of eye-opening research […]

  • Tracking surface water on a warming planet

    Keith Cherkauer studies mud. It’s a dirty business that has revealed a lot about global warming. As he trudged through rural Indiana farmland earlier this spring, Cherkauer, an agricultural and biological engineer at Purdue University, paid close attention to the way his boots sank more than an inch into the mud before they reached the […]

  • Glacier gumshoe seeks secrets of climate change in ice

    It takes a certain kind of person to gather ice cores from remote glaciers, cart them back to a lab, and unlock the clues they contain about the climate record. Such a person needs to be hardy and skilled enough in the field to lead expeditions loaded with equipment into some of the world’s most […]

  • Weighing Greenland

    Scott Luthcke weighs Greenland — every 10 days. And the island has been losing weight, an average of 183 gigatons (or 200 cubic kilometers) — in ice — annually during the past six years. That’s one third the volume of water in Lake Erie every year. Greenland’s shrinking ice sheet offers some of the most […]

  • Finding evidence of climate change in the caves of the American Southwest

    Julia Cole finds evidence of the climate record in some fascinating places. Cole is a geologist at the University of Arizona. Most recently, her research has led her deep inside a limestone cave 50 miles southeast of Tucson. Preserved there, within stalagmites that have formed on the floor of the dark, perpetually humid cave, is […]