Groundbreaking Climatologist to Visit UMD

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Michael Mann
: the Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars

Michael Mann, climatologist and geophysicist
Michael Mann and his research materials

Data from tree rings, ice cores, and coral depicts a startling trend

Paleoclimatologist and geophysicist Michael Mann will present a lecture entitled “The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: The Battle Continues” at 7:30 pm on October 9 at UMD in the Life Sciences Building room 175.

Mann is a distinguished professor of meteorology at Penn State University and is also director of the Penn State Earth System Science Center (ESSC). In 1999, Mann and his team used cutting-edge statistical techniques that they had researched to produce a climate reconstruction of the last 1000 years. Their research techniques involved using a variety of signals collected from tree rings, coral, and polar ice cores. Their data was used to create the visualization MBH99, also known as the ‘hockey stick curve’. The phrase was coined to describe the shape of the graph.

Mann was one of the eight lead authors of the 2001 “Observed Climate Variability and Change” chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report. In that document, a graph based on MBH99 was highlighted numerous times, drawing much publicity to the findings of Mann and his colleagues.

A Tumultuous Political Climate

This graph was so important to the spread of climate awareness that the IPCC acknowledged that his work, along with that of many others, contributed significantly to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize to the IPCC and former vice-president Al Gore. At the same time, it drew the criticism from some who are skeptical of human-caused global warming.

The group’s findings have been echoed by numerous independent scientific studies, and all seem to indicate the same thing: the world is heating at an unprecedented rate and is currently the warmest it has been in over a thousand years. Nevertheless, many skeptics remain unconvinced. Professor Mann will address the social dynamic of this important topic in the Thursday evening lecture, and will stay on afterwards to entertain questions from the audience and sign copies of his recent book, entitled The Hockey Stick and the Climate Wars: Dispatches from the Front Lines.

For more information, contact UMD Large Lakes Observatory's Professor Tom Johnson or Professor Byron Steinman

To learn more about Michael Mann and his past research, visit his website.

The hockey graph, depicting temperatures and carbon levels for over a thousand years into the past  
The hockey graph depicts over a thousand years of climate and temperature data  

Written by Zach Lunderberg, September 2014.

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