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Pioneering global warming researcher to discuss role of oceans in climate change, and ways to reverse current warming trend. Tuesday, March 27, 2007

POUGHKEEPSIE, NY – In a recent interview on National Public Radio's "Morning Edition" program, oceanographer Wallace Broecker didn't mince his words, when asked about man-made global climate change.

"We're playing with the whole planet, dammit, just to get energy for a hundred years," said Broecker, a member of Columbia University's renowned Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, and the university's Newberry Professor in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences.

On Tuesday, March 27, at 5:30 p.m., in Sanders Auditorium, Broecker will expand on these thoughts when he discusses "Global Warming: Lessons from the Past." Broecker is widely known for his discoveries on the oceanic role in triggering climate change, and his talk at Vassar will explore the relationship between the human contribution to a changing atmosphere and its effect on oceanic cycles. This event is free and open to the public, and is part of the college's Earth Science Awareness Week.

[Left: Wallace Broecker] Broecker has authored more than 440 journal articles, and nine books, including How to Build a Habitable Planet (1998), and his talk comes at a time of heightened awareness surrounding climate change – a growing concern that has been directly affected by his past work. While researching changes in the Earth's climate over the past two hundred thousand years, Broecker found that major climate shifts might have occurred because of temporary disturbances in the global oceanic circulation. Because the global current is linked in complex ways to the atmosphere, he suggested these shifts might very well be the result of greenhouse gas emissions.

A longtime member of the National Academy of Sciences, Broecker has made fundamental contributions to research in ocean-atmosphere interactions, oceanic circulation, biogeochemistry, Earth's history of climatic change, and radiometric dating. He is the recipient of numerous prestigious awards, including the National Medal of Science, Maurice W. Ewing Medal of the American Geophysical Union, the Alexander Agassiz Medal of the National Academy of Sciences, the Urey Medal of the European Association for Geochemistry, the Blue Planet Prize from The Asahi Glass Foundation, and the 2006 Crafoord Prize.

Wallace Broecker earned his BA in physics at Columbia College, and a PhD in geology at Columbia University. His lecture is sponsored by the department of earth science and geography, the Program in Environmental Studies, and Vassar's Environmental Research Institute.

Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.

Posted by Office of Communications Tuesday, March 13, 2007