CORVALLIS - Several of the nation's leading experts on global climate changes that have occurred in Earth's past - and what those changes can tell us about the future - will visit Oregon State University for a winter seminar series that begins in January.

The series is hosted by OSU's Department of Geosciences.

Titled "Climate Changes of the Past: Lessons for the Future," each of the presentations will be on a Friday at 4 p.m. in Gilfillan Auditorium on the OSU campus. They are free and open to the public.

One of the presenters at the seminar series, Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University, will also present the John V. Byrne Lecture on Jan. 14 at OSU, in the LaSells Stewart Center at 7:30 p.m. That lecture is titled "Global Warming Beyond Denial: How Warm is Too Warm?"

Many of the scientists participating in this event are world leaders in their field, said Peter Clark, an OSU professor of geosciences, paleoclimatologist and expert on glaciers.

"Dr. Lonnie Thompson was recognized this year by Time Magazine as one of the 10 most prominent scientists in the U.S., and has led major expeditions to some of the world's highest glaciers in order to retrieve ice cores that provide important climate information," Clark said.

"Another speaker, Dr. Dan Schrag, was named a MacArthur Foundation Fellow last year. He's used a variety of geochemical techniques to study climate change through Earth's history, and also looked at ocean circulation in recent decades, El Nino and climate variability in the tropical Pacific Ocean," Clark said. "And Dr. Andrew Weaver was a lead author in assessments of climate change done by the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change."

The sponsors of this seminar series include the OSU Department of Geosciences, College of Science, College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences, and an L.L. Stewart Faculty Development Award.

The speakers, their backgrounds and topics include:

  • Jan. 11: Lonnie Thompson, Ohio State University, will speak on "Tropical Ice Core Records from Kilimanjaro: Evidence of a Rapidly Changing Earth"


  • Jan. 14: Michael Oppenheimer, Milbank Professor of Geosciences and International Affairs at Princeton University, will speak on "Global Warming and the West Antarctic Ice Sheet: Looming Catastrophe or Chimera?


  • Jan. 25: Dave Battisti, Joint Institute for the Study of Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington, will speak on "Mechanisms Responsible for Abrupt Climate Change: Thermohaline Circulation Versus the Tropics"


  • Feb. 1: Dan Schrag, Earth and Planetary Sciences at Harvard University, will speak on "A Neoproterozoic Snowball Earth"


  • Feb. 8: Peter deMenocal, Lamont Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University, will speak on "Holocene Climate Variability: Modes, Mechanisms, and Cultural Impacts"


  • Feb. 15: Richard Alley, geoscientist at Pennsylvania State University, will speak on "Climatic Weirdness - The Ice Did It"


  • Feb. 22: Rob Dunbar, geological and environmental sciences at Stanford University, will speak on "Tropical Temperatures and Global Climate: Clues from Coral"


  • March 1: Vera Markgraf, Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research at the University of Colorado, will speak on "Interhemispheric Paleoclimate Change in the Americas"


  • March 8: Judith Totman Parrish, geoscientist at the University of Arizona, will speak on "Paleoclimate Interpretation from Sedimentary Rocks"


  • March 15: Andrew Weaver, School of Earth and Ocean Sciences at the University of Victoria, will speak on "The Uvic Earth System Climate Model: Model Description, Climatology, and Applications to Past, Present and Future Climates"

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Peter Clark, 541-737-1247