Tuesday Noon Balloon with Mark Cane


Climate in the Currents of History

Mark Cane

Tuesday April 6th
Room 417 Schermerhorn Hall


Summary: We take a tour of some of the impacts of climate variations on human history, beginning with the origins of agriculture in the Middle East. We will consider historical droughts in North America, especially the Dustbowl drought of the 1930s, and then examine the analogous but more severe droughts some seven centuries earlier and their possible role in the demise of the Anasazi. Ideas about the physical climate mechanisms responsible for these droughts will be presented. We will consider the modern and ongoing drought in the Sahel, and its impact on Darfur, before taking up the projections of drought in the warming world ahead of us.

Mark CaneMark Cane is G. Unger Vetlesen Professor of Earth and Climate Sciences jointly with the department of Applied Physics and Applied Mathematics. He is also chief physical scientist at the International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) and serves on the IRI's International Science and Technical Advisory Committee. Mark and Lamont colleague Dr. Stephen Zebiak together devised the first numerical model able to simulate El Niño. In 1985 this model was used to make the first physically based forecasts of El Niño. He has also worked extensively on the impact of El Niño on human activity, especially agriculture, and carries his research into education as the Director of the Masters program in Climate & Society. Mark's recent research interests include paleoclimate problems from the Pliocene to the last millennium, as well as future climate change. 

Mark received a B.A. from Harvard University and received his Ph.D. in meteorology from Massachusetts Institute of Technology.  He is a fellow of the American Meteorological Society; the American Association for the Advancement of Science, American Geophysical Union, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.  He has written some 200 papers on a broad range of topics in oceanography and climatology, and his professional  achievements been recognized with the Sverdrup Gold Medal of the American Meteorological Society in 1992 and the Cody Award in Ocean Sciences from Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2003.

This is the last Noon Balloon of the semester.  The series will resume in September.  Attendees are welcome to bring their lunch.

All are welcome to attend!