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Global Warming Expert to Speak at the U

Nov. 21, 2006 — Kevin Trenberth, a leading expert on how human activities are causing global warming and making hurricanes more intense, will deliver two lectures on the topic at the University of Utah. The public and news media are invited to attend.

  • At 2 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 28, Trenberth will give a scientific talk on “The Role of Tropical Storms in Climate Change” in the 1st floor auditorium of the Intermountain Networking and Scientific Computation Center (INSCC), which is the building due north of the Park Building.

  • At noon on Wednesday, Nov. 29, Trenberth will deliver a popular lecture for the general public on “Observed Changes in Climate, their Causes and What it Means” in the Sutherland Moot Courtroom at the university’s S.J. Quinney College of Law.

Trenberth’s Wednesday talk will include how global warming will affect Utah, where “the biggest impact is likely to be on water resources as snowpack diminishes and hot and dry conditions increase, increasing heat waves and the risk of wildfire,” according to a summary he provided.

Immediately following Trenberth’s Wednesday lecture, Salt Lake City Mayor Rocky Anderson will speak on the need to take action on global warming, how to overcome barriers to addressing climate change, actions being taken by mayors across the country and some positive steps by corporations and nations to reduce greenhouse gases.

Trenberth heads the climate analysis section at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo. He has been a leading advocate of the view that scientific evidence overwhelmingly shows that warming of Earth’s climate is caused by the emission of carbon dioxide gas from society’s combustion of fossil fuels.

He was the lead author of influential 1995 and 2001 reports on global warming by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, a global organization established by the United Nations to assess the risks of human-caused climate change. He is now the coordinating lead author on another IPCC assessment due in 2007.

Trenberth has come under fire from some politicians and a minority of atmospheric scientists who dispute the link between human activities and global warming, particularly for his highly publicized research concluding that the disastrous Atlantic hurricane season of 2005 – including Hurricane Katrina – was intensified by global warming. He argues that global warming has increased sea-surface temperatures, and higher temperatures put more energy into hurricanes, making them more intense.

Trenberth’s appearance at the University of Utah is sponsored by the university’s Department of Meteorology, College of Mines and Earth Sciences Distinguished Lecture Endowment, the Wallace Stegner Center at the S.J. Quinney College of Law and the Hinckley Institute of Politics, and by the Salt Lake City Mayor’s Office.

For more information on Kevin Trenberth, see his homepage at: