Thursday, June 17, 2010

Meet Dr. Gavin Schmidt, a Climate Scientist with NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies

"My main research interest lies in understanding the variability of the climate, both its internal variability and the response to external forcing. In particular, how changes related to varying forcings relate to variations due to intrinsic (unforced) climate variability such as oscillations in the ocean's deep thermohaline circulation that affect ocean heat transports or atmospheric modes of variability like the North Atlantic Oscilation. I mainly use large-scale general circulation models for the atmosphere and ocean to investigate these questions.

The evidence of long term paleo-climate variability exists primarily in the form of proxy data recorded in deep sea cores, ice cores, tree rings and other proxies such as the the skeletal remains of corals or in speleothems (cave deposits). Much of my recent work has focussed on ways to approriately compare the paleo-data with models. The main difficulty is that the proxy data are records of multiple processes and hence, it is difficult to unambiguously ascribe a climatic cause to any particular recorded event."---Dr. Gavin Schmidt

This is a photo of the famous climate scientist Dr. Gavin Schmidt who works for NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS). On Dr. Schmidt's NASA/GISS site, you can read about his research and go to links where his research is further described. NASA also has a facinating link called Global Climate Change.

Recently, Dr. Schmidt was interviewed by NASA about the earth's surface temperature record. He addressed some controversial accusations made during the "Climategate" scandal that climate data is being manipulated.

Dr. Schmidt runs a site called Real Climate, where scientists, journalists, and others discuss climate change and global warming. It's pretty difficult for the non-expert to follow the discussion, but I have developed some appreciation for all the variables that can affect the climate.
Dr. Gavin Schmidt is a co-author of a 2009 book Climate Change: Picturing the Science. This book is a collection of essays written by scientists in different fields and is a good introduction for the layman to the complex topics of climate change and global warming. Check out the link to learn more about the book and read some reviews.
I think I will add this book to my growing climate science library today. Dr. Schmidt has impressive academic and publishing credentials. He earned his BA (Hons) in Mathematics at Oxford University and a PhD in Applied Mathematics at University College London. In November 2004, Scientific American recognized him as one of the "Top 50 Research Leaders" for the year. He has published more than 60 refereed articles in some of the most respected, peer-reviewed, science journals.


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