Kerry Emanuel, Cecil & Ida Green Professor of Atmospheric Science (MIT)

Oct. 11 at 7:00 in Lovejoy 100

John_Tyndall_1861_heat_experiment3Most people today view climate science as a field wholly occupied with the practical problem of global warming. But, as with most scientific endeavors, the field has been driven forward by scientists driven by their own curiosity to meet a series of fascinating intellectual challenges, whether or not they had any practical consequences. In this talk, I will tell the stories of the most important revolutions in climate science, from the discovery of the greenhouse effect to the determination of the cause of ice ages, concluding with how these revolutions inform our current view of climate change.

Dr. Kerry Emanuel is the Cecil and Ida Green professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has been on the faculty since 1981, after spending three years on the faculty of UCLA. Professor Emanuel’s research interests focus on tropical meteorology and climate, with a specialty in hurricane physics. His interests also include cumulus convection, and advanced methods of sampling the atmosphere in aid of numerical weather prediction. He is the author or co-author of over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and three books, including Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes, published by Oxford University Press and aimed at a general audience, and What We Know about Climate Change, published by the MIT Press. He is a co-director of MIT’s Lorenz Center, a climate think tank devoted to basic, curiosity-driven climate research.

Student Discussions

  • Revolutionising climate science December 20, 2016 smmitt20Humans have always been a curious species. If they observe something, they desperately seek answers to the ‘how’ and the ‘why’. Study of climate was also born this way. On ...
  • The Climate Revolution December 20, 2016 PokemonHunterFor me, 2016 has been the year of thinking about the climate. Climate has been a big topic in many realms, such as my schooling and in politics. For example, ...
  • On Knowing What the Weather’s Like December 19, 2016 Ben TheyerlThe most interesting aspect of Prof. Emanuel’s lecture on the way that climate has been studied the last one-hundred and fifty years is the relatively naive way we take our ...
  • Revolutions in Climate December 19, 2016 William ReynoldsCuriosity on the magic of life itself has always been a driving force towards discoveries in the scientific field of study. Revolutions, by nature, shatter the existing order of whatever ...
  • Climate Revolutions December 15, 2016 Jeremiah BurnsIn recent years, climate science has gone through what could be described as a number of revolutionary developments. In terms of the climate itself, the impact of human made sources ...
  • The Climate (R)evolution December 12, 2016 Nicholas ArchibaldThroughout this course, we’ve been inundated with so many different kinds of “revolutions”, it is hard to pinpoint what the term means exactly. In the case of the Climate Revolution, ...
  • A Continuous Revolution November 13, 2016 Maya MeltsnerDr. Kerry Emanuel’s talk on Revolutions in Climate Science showcased the many individuals whose efforts contributed to the development of the field. His collection of little revolutions made me question ...
  • The Ultra-greenhouse Catastrophe November 4, 2016 Stacey HouThe weather on our planet seems to be unpredictable and the weather forecast does not always seem to review if it is going to rain in the next 10 hours. ...
  • Climate Science and Our Curiosity November 3, 2016 Reggie HuangFor a long time, climate change has always been an important topic. Especially in this presidential election, different groups represented different ideas on climate change. However, what is the science ...
  • Climate Change Stereotype November 1, 2016 kbpooleHaving been born in the mid 90’s, I have always heard the terms “climate change” and “global warming” growing up. It has been issue in the media, in the classroom, ...