Dr. Kerry Emanuel is a professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and he came to Colby to talk to us about his focuses on tropical meteorology and climate, and hurricane physics. Throughout his talk he made three general points: climate science being around for a very long time, the many advances in science that helped the develop the field of climate science, and how climate science continues to be a pressing study. Thus, Kerry Emmanuel’s talk exposes the evolution of climate science and from this I understood the value in expanding the exposure of this field in order to learn what is going on in our atmosphere and ultimately prevent the already fast rate of green house gases effect.
As Dr. Kerry Emanuel had mentioned climate science dates back to the 19th century. Danish-Norwegian geologist Jens Esmark, for example, had suggested the effects of climate change in 1824 when studying the evolution of glaciers. The majority of the research done at the beginning of climate science study consist of noticing changes of glaciers and evolution of ice ages.
Further advances in climate science was made possible by the revolutions in geology, physics, and chemistry. Physics and math combining to create the study of quantum physics, for example, was helpful in the creation of the thermometer. Geology, physics, and chemistry made it possible to start creating models and putting theories into practice. Dr. Kerry Emanuel comments how “models are a corner stone in predicting climate,” however, equally important is theory when someone asked about models versus theory in relation to making progress in the field of climate science. Today, we have the example of Hurricane Mathew which was poorly forecasted. Dr. Kerry Emanuel explained how there are computational models that are not perfect, we live in a chaotic atmosphere which makes it hard to predict.
Thus, climate science is a very worthy and needed intellectual endeavor. There are many advances to be made when predicting weather in order for communities, families, and people to better prepare for it. In addition, Dr. Kerry Emanuel comments how the evolution of climate science has informed our current view of climate change. Our generation is not equipped to carry out a course of action that would take efforts from generations in order to truly make a difference on climate change. With this course of action people would be inconvenienced daily for the benefit of society. Thus, one way to make actual change, suggested by Dr. Kerry Emanuel when giving a talk in class ST215, is having more people become very knowledgeable about climate science and continue to study climate science. This suggestion would allow society to make better decisions and take responsibility.