WMU News

Researcher to discuss reasons behind changes in climate

Jan. 15, 2003

KALAMAZOO -- A geoscientist who will visit Western Michigan University this month says odd weather patterns might not only be the result of El Nino, but other factors as well, including volcanism and the level of energy given off by the sun.

Dr. Gerard Bond, a Doherty Senior Scholar at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, will discuss the question, "Why Have There Been Recurring Abrupt Changes in Our Present Interglacial Climate?" at 4 p.m. Monday, Jan. 27, in Room 1118 of Rood Hall as part of the WMU Geosciences Seminar Series.

"After the ice sheets melted away about 12,000 years ago, the Earth's climate abruptly shifted into a period known as the Holocene Period, the climate of which resembles that of today," says Bond. "The prevailing view had been that this climate was relatively stable."

Bond's talk will address findings indicating the Holocene Period has repeatedly experienced abrupt changes in temperature and precipitation levels, the most recent occurring between 1300 and 1890. Climatologists refer to this as "The Little Ice Age."

"Data from the last three or four years of research has radically changed our benign view of our present climate," says Bond. "Of the evidence showing the causes behind these climate shifts, perhaps the most surprising is recurring change in the sun's energy output."

Other lectures in the seminar series and the presenters include:

"Active Collisional Tectonics and Foreland Basin Development, Taiwan," presented by Dr. Kenneth Ridgeway of Purdue University, Monday, March 10; and

"The Subduction Squeegee," presented by Dr. Barbara Bekins of the U.S. Geological Survey, Monday, March 17.

All lectures begin at 4 p.m. in Room 1118 of Rood Hall and are free and open to the public.

Media contact: Matt Gerard, 269 387-8400, matthew.gerard@wmich.edu

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