Climate study pioneer gives talk

Climate study pioneer gives talk McGill University

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McGill Reporter
May 27, 2004 - Volume 36 Number 17
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Climate study pioneer gives talk

It is better to give than receive, they say, and Syukuro Manabe takes that to heart. The world-renowned pioneer in climate modelling will be receiving an honorary doctorate from the Faculty of Science on June 3, but he's taking advantage of his time at McGill to deliver a lecture.

Dr. Manabe will discuss the changes in freshwater availability (river discharge and soil moisture) which could occur by the middle of the 21st century due to global warming. The results are based on projections of climate change including impacts on freshwater, using sophisticated computer models of the atmosphere-ocean-land system.

The results show drying in many semi-arid regions of the world such as southwest North America, northeast China, Mediterranean coast of Europe and the grasslands of Australia and Africa. This drying induces the outward expansion of deserts. The projections suggest that freshwater would be more plentiful in those regions of the world that are already water-rich, and water stress would increase significantly in regions that are already relatively dry. This poses a significant challenge for water resource management around the world.

Called the "godfather of the greenhouse effect," Manabe began working on computer-based climate modelling in 1969. It was his work that first graphically demonstrated the potential effects of man's activities on the global climate.

In addition to many leading publications in the scientific literature, he has played leadership roles on climate change issues in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the US National Academy of Sciences and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), and has provided testimonies at US Senate hearings. He has received many awards and honours, including the Blue Planet Prize of the Asahi Glass Foundation (1992), the Volvo Environmental Prize of the Volvo Foundation (1997), and the Asahi Prize of the Asahi Shimbun Cultural Foundation (1995).

Manabe, who works at the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory at Princeton University, will speak on Friday, June 4. His talk is entitled "Long-term change in water availability due to global warming."

Macdonald-Harrington Building, Room G-10. For information, call Lucy-Ann Joseph at 398-4367. For more information on Dr. Manabe, see page 8.

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