On Monday, March 4, Emily Shuckburgh delivered the second of the MPE2013-Simons Public Lecture Series talk, “Climate disruption: what math and science have to say” at the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco. Nearly 800 people attended the lecture (tickets were sold out) with a nice mix of mathematicians and the general public.
Here are the reflections of one of the attendees, Alison Hawkes, a freelance reporter based in San Francisco, and also the online editor of BayNature.
“What I learned most from Emily Shuckburghâ€™s talk was her approach towards meshing field observations with mathematical models on climate change, and how the two combined can create a more robust set of predictions about the Earthâ€™s future. So often you hear about the recent results from the field in some new study, but understanding more how that gets fed into the underlying math and physics of the worldâ€™s climate system is fascinating.
She also presented some, quite frankly, frightening graphs of the Earthâ€™s future under differing scenarios of greenhouse gas emissions. The graphs show, like nothing else, what a stark choice we have to make about living with the outcomes of our collective decision on what we do about climate change. And Shuckburghâ€™s portrayal of the timeline of these outcomes — a child born today will live in this future — really drove the point home that this isnâ€™t just an academic debate, rather there is an enormous human dimension that we can measure in the lives of our children and grandchildren.”