“Mother Nature is not happy right now and she’s trying to tell us, in many ways,” says Kimberly Prather, Professor of Climate, Atmospheric Science, and Physical Oceanography at UC San Diego.
New weather patterns and events are causing concern but how do we know these changes are caused by human activity? Climate scientists are looking at trends over time to determine our impact on the planet.
Prather discusses recent CAICE studies aimed at advancing our understanding of how the oceans influence human and planetary health including novel experiments being conducted in a unique ocean-atmosphere simulator.
Watch — How Do We Know Humans are Impacting the Health of Our Planet? – Exploring Ethics
“What we do in my group is we zoom in on the aerosols.”
Vicki Grassian and her team look at aerosols at a microscopic level to determine their impact on our health and our climate. Aerosols can be mineral dust and sea spray from the ocean or created by human activity or stem from any number of sources. They can travel across the globe impacting people, animals, and the planet in their wake.
Grassian’s work seeks to understand how aerosols and other gases not only affect us but how we might harness them for solar geoengineering.
Watch — What is in the Air We Breathe? – Exploring Ethics
Using helicopters, icebreakers, fishing vessels, and autonomous surface and underwater vehicles for over a decade, Fiammetta Straneo and her group have been probing the edge of massive calving glaciers in iceberg-choked fjords in Greenland to explore what is the Achille’s heel of glaciers – the marine edge where glaciers meet the sea.
Their goal? Collapsing ice shelves and calving of large icebergs in Greenland and Antarctica have recently become major drivers of sea level rise. The rapidity of these changes has come as a surprise, revealing major gaps in our understanding of how ice sheets respond to a changing climate. To a large extent, these gaps are due to a lack of measurements so Fiammetta and her group have probed in these polar environments to improve models of sea-level rise predictions.
Watch — Navigating the Perilous Waters at the Edge of Glaciers to Understand Sea Level Rise – 2019 Keeling Lecture