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John Zobitz discusses weather patterns with International Business Times

ibtimes_100dpi300x75pxlAssociate Professor of Mathematics and environmental science researcher John Zobitz helped to answer the question posed by many in the wake of a recent record-setting snowfall in the Buffalo, N.Y., area — Why is it so cold and snowy in November?

The reason is global warming, according to Zobitz and other scientists studying the Earth’s climate. Changes in the overall temperature of the planet have affected the jet stream, thereby causing unusual weather. “Yes, the globe is warming in temperature, but that means some places are warm a lot more, and some places are sometimes colder,” Zobitz said. “We happen to be on the cold side of that right now, and no matter how you want to slice and dice it, that’s the reality.”

Read more about how changes in the Earth’s temperature influence weather patterns on the International Business Times website.

350 — the most important number in the world

Aug350There are three numbers you need to really understand global warming, 275, 390, and 350.

For all of human history until about 200 years ago, our atmosphere contained 275 parts per million of carbon dioxide. Parts per million is simply a way of measuring the concentration of different gases, and means the ratio of the number of carbon dioxide molecules per million other molecules in the atmosphere. 275 ppm CO2 is a useful amount without some CO2 and other greenhouse gases that trap heat in our atmosphere, our planet would be too cold for humans to inhabit. Continue reading “350 — the most important number in the world”

McKibben featured at Christensen Symposium

mckibben_convoIn college classes at Augsburg and across the country ,there is rarely dialogue between students and the authors of the texts that are used.

Sometimes it is because a textbook is written by a fairly anonymous author or group of authors. Other times, the back-and-forth simply isn’t possible. After all, it isn’t like having Shakespeare visit a classroom is an option.

That is what makes Bill McKibben’s visit to Augsburg so interesting. McKibben, an environmentalist and author, will speak Monday at 7:30 p.m. in Foss Chapel for the Bernhard M. Christensen Symposium.

McKibben, who writes about global warming, alternative energy, and other environmental issues, will talk about “The Most Important Number on Earth: Climate Change and Moral Challenge.”

Continue reading “McKibben featured at Christensen Symposium”

Sverdrup lecturer to speak on global warming

sverdrup_convoAugsburg College presents the Sverdrup Visiting Scientist Lecture with Stephen H. Schneider of Stanford University.

The number of people in the world is increasing, and they will undoubtedly demand higher standards of living that likely will be fueled by cheap, available energy sources such as coal for electricity generation and petroleum for gas-consuming large automobile sources which emit large amounts of greenhouse gases.

Local, regional, and international actions to put in place both adaptation and mitigation policies are already beginning and much more could be done if there were political will to substantially reduce the magnitude of the risks. There are many actions that individuals, groups, businesses, cities, states, and countries can do to reduce global warming, while at the same time providing sustainable jobs and reduced dangers from importing oil from unreliable foreign sources. These actions help to motivate needed international cooperation. Continue reading “Sverdrup lecturer to speak on global warming”

Focus the Nation on Jan. 31

focusAugsburg will host a teach-in on Jan. 31, targeting a single issue — global warming solutions — as part of a national effort sponsored by Focus the Nation. Across the country, more than 1,000 colleges, high schools, civic organizations and businesses will create a day of brainstorming and engagement in discussions concerning responses to environmental challenges. Focus the Nation identifies a clear goal: “Our intent is to move America beyond fatalism to a determination to face up to this civilizational challenge, the challenge of our generation.” Their hope is “to launch a discussion far-reaching enough to change the future.”

The teach-in schedule lines up with the daily class schedule, so that professors can take their classes to the presentations. Faculty, staff, and students from more than 20 departments will engage their audiences in a myriad of issues and perspectives. A panel of alumni, “Auggie alums and the Environment,” will also network with the campus community during lunch. All sessions are open to the public. Continue reading “Focus the Nation on Jan. 31”

Focus the Nation Teach-in Jan. 31

focusAugsburg College will host a Teach-In on Jan. 31, 2008 targeting a single issue — global warming solutions — as part of a national effort sponsored by Focus the Nation. The primary goal of “Focus the Nation: Augsburg College is to educate the Augsburg community about individual action and build momentum for permanent environmentally conscious practices and institutional actions. These actions include sustainable energy, zero-waste management systems, consumption awareness, and following the President’s Climate Commitment.

Focus the Nation is a national organization that is pushing for global warming solutions in the United States. As their web site says, “In the next few years, we as a nation will make, or fail to make, critical decisions regarding global warming pollution and clean technology investments. These decisions will have far-reaching and irreversible impacts on the lives of today’s students and the lives of their children. At this moment in time, we owe our young people at least a day of focused discussion about global warming solutions for America. Continue reading “Focus the Nation Teach-in Jan. 31”