Forecast: climate conversations with Michael White

Forecast: climate conversations with Michael White

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Climate conversations with Michael White
Sergey Gulev’s oceanographic odyssey
Jun 13 • 65 min
Sergey Gulev from Moscow State University grew up in the Soviet Union, forged a career as an oceanographer, and then witnessed the dissolution of much of what he and his colleagues had built. Gone were their four ocean-going ships, and the then-Russian…
Carl Wunsch and the rise of modern oceanography
May 30 • 110 min
Carl Wunsch is at the heart of many of the major advances in modern physical oceanography. The World Ocean Circulation Experiment, satellite altimetry, acoustic tomography, and Estimating the Circulation and Climate of the Ocean: all are hard to imagine…
Carolina Vera on the South American monsoon
May 16 • 62 min
Carolina Vera from the University of Buenos Aires tells Mike about her work on the South American monsoon. Relative to the Indian and Asian Monsoon, the South American Monsoon is understudied — but equally fascinating. The bulk of the land mass is…
Into the tropics with Sarah Kang
May 2 • 56 min
Sarah Kang from the Ulsan National Institute of Science and Technology tells Mike about her work to understand the atmospheric and oceanic dynamics that link the extratropics to the tropics. Paleoclimate research has long shown that climate perturbations…
Jay Famiglietti on GRACE and global hydrology
Apr 18 • 66 min
Jay Famiglietti from NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory tells Mike about taking the plunge into using the GRACE gravity-measuring satellites for hydrology research. Keep in mind, this was at a time when hydrology was viewed as noise in the gravity signal,…
Around the world with Maisa Rojas
Apr 4 • 63 min
Maisa Rojas from the University of Chile tells Mike about her work on regional climate modeling, paleoclimate, and the Southern Hemisphere westerlies. The story begins with Maisa’s birth in Chile, but quickly moves on to the family’s dramatic escape from…
Michael Greenstone on environmental economics … and basketball
Mar 21 • 76 min
World-famous economist Michael Greenstone tells Mike about his main professional mission: to apply the tools of economics to reduce human suffering. But that wasn’t always the case. No indeed. For many years, including all of college, Michael’s main goal…
Burning questions with Max Moritz
Mar 7 • 66 min
Max Moritz regales Mike with some of the many intricacies of modern fire science. The dominant narrative in the Western US might be “long-term fire suppression is leading to severe fire seasons”. While there is some truth here, the individual fire stories…
Kaitlin Naughten on ice-ocean interactions
Feb 21 • 64 min
Kaitlin Naughten from the University of New South Wales works on one of the most pressing issues facing modern climate science: interactions between the ocean and the vast ice shelves fringing Antarctica. Existentially, this interaction has the potential…
Sonia Seneviratne on droughts, extremes, the IPCC … and laundry in Switzerland
Feb 7 • 65 min
I met Sonia Seneviratne from ETH Zürich at a climate conference way back in 2013. This was not long after she served as a coordinating lead author of the now-famous IPCC SREX report, which lit a spark under the field of climate extremes. Sonia tells me…
Jessica Oster on speleothem geochemistry
Jan 24 • 59 min
Speleothems — stalagmites, stalactites, flowstones — are a central tool for reconstructing past hydroclimate variability. But what, really, are they recording? Jessica Oster from Vanderbilt University walks Mike through the long, incredibly long, process…
Climate dynamics with Libby Barnes
Jan 10 • 60 min
Libby Barnes, like essentially no one else on Forecast, wanted to be a professor from age 12. Specifically, a physics professor. And indeed, climate science almost lost Libby to neutrinos. But an instrumentation disaster, and the associated personal…
The climate of Westeros with Dan Lunt
Dec 27, 2017 • 65 min
There’s incessant talk about impostor syndrome among scientists. But paleoclimate modeler Dan Lunt from the University of Bristol actually DOES pretend to be someone he is not. Specifically, Radagast the Brown from Tolkien’s Middle Earth and Samwell Tarly…
Reconstructing past sea level with Andrea Dutton
Dec 13, 2017 • 77 min
Andrea Dutton from the University of Florida tells Mike about the many nuances of using corals to reconstruct past sea level. Sounds simple enough: find corals at depth z, date them to year t, and Bob’s your uncle. Yeah … no. Turns out there’s a lot more…
Abby Swann on plants in the climate system
Nov 29, 2017 • 70 min
Abby Swann tells Mike how plants both respond to and affect climate change. Some of this seems obvious: more CO2, more photosynthesis, bigger plants. Maybe, but there’s a lot more to it: nutrient limitations (or lack thereof!), changes in respiration,…
11th Graduate Climate Conference
Nov 15, 2017 • 63 min
In episode 58 of Forecast, Mike talks with Henri Drake, Jennifer Carman, and Molly Keogh, three of the attendees at the 11th Graduate Climate Conference. The meeting itself is a great chance for grad students working on climate change — broadly defined —…
The launch of EarthArXiv
Nov 1, 2017 • 35 min
Tom Narock and Chris Jackson tell Mike about the new EarthArXiv preprint server. The show is a bit of an oddball for Forecast, considering that the show’s usual diet is long-format interviews about a scientist’s life and research. But the launch of…
Corinne Le Quéré on the global carbon cycle
Oct 18, 2017 • 36 min
Deciphering the global carbon cycle is as fascinating as it is difficult. There are carbon fluxes in and out of the planet, all over the place, and at all time scales. Observational gaps are numerous and gaping. Uncertainties on country level emissions…
Joe McConnell on the scientific riches in tiny bits of ice
Oct 4, 2017 • 63 min
Most everyone you’ve heard on Forecast has a twisty career path. But Joe McConnell took an unusually circuitous route to his current role as a leading ice core scientist. Joe bombed as a dishwasher, thrived as a post-hole digger, started a consulting…
Peter Cox’s emergent insights
Sep 20, 2017 • 55 min
In Episode 54 of Forecast, Peter Cox from the University of Exeter gives Mike the inside story about how the “emergent constraints” approach is reshaping our ability to wring every last drop of useful information from climate models. It’s a two step…
Into the woods with Julia Pongratz
Sep 6, 2017 • 60 min
In episode 53 of Forecast, Mike talks with Julia Pongratz from the Max Planck Institute for Meteorology about the role of land cover and land use change in the climate system. Julia began working on the topic with an unbelievable challenge: simulating the…
Antarctic sea ice with Marilyn Raphael
Aug 23, 2017 • 53 min
In episode 52 of Forecast, Mike and Marilyn Raphael from the University of California at Los Angeles talk about Antarctic sea ice. Arctic sea ice is, on a relative scale, well understood: observations and models show a massive decline. Antarctic sea ice…
The hot world of cold ice with Jérôme Chappellaz
Aug 9, 2017 • 62 min
In episode 51 of Forecast, Jérôme Chappellaz regales Mike with all manner ice core tales. The early days of discovering that methane varies hugely between glacial and interglacial states; profligate consumption of ice in the early days; the intensely…
The bassline of climate with Julien Emile-Geay
Jul 26, 2017 • 71 min
In episode 50 of Forecast, Julien Emile-Geay from the University of Southern California calmly presents a somewhat radical world view. Love of jazz as a means of selecting a grad school; universities as revolutionary institutions; pursuit of science as a…
The arc of TEX86 with Jessica Tierney
Jul 12, 2017 • 76 min
In this episode of Forecast, Jess tells Mike about the origins of the TEX86 temperature proxy — an index of membrane lipids produced by mesophilic archaea. The origins in the 1980s in extreme ocean environment; discovery of membrane production in a huge…
Connecting Kevin Anchukaitis
Jun 28, 2017 • 64 min
Kevin Anchukaitis from the University of Arizona is probably best known for his work on dendroclimatology, but this is changing quickly. Now, his broader interests in the connections among history, political science, archaeology, statistics, climate…
Trace metals and thrash metal with Kaustubh Thirumalai
Jun 13, 2017 • 67 min
People find science for all kinds of reasons. Some are born to it, but usually not. Most people find science by bumping into it at a bar, getting help from it while fixing a flat tire, seeing it alight on a leaf, iridescent, or watching it pass by on a…
The Atlantic’s Rob Meyer on climate journalism
Jun 1, 2017 • 50 min
Sometimes papers in Nature are incomprehensible to anyone other than a hard-core specialist. Yes, we use press releases, News & Views, and other reporting to make the leap to our broader readership. But for bringing science to the general public, no…
Extremes are the new normal, with Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick
May 15, 2017 • 71 min
The causes of heat waves are kind of like the controls on a car. We know that pressure systems, land-atmosphere interactions, and modes of variability like ENSO act to control extremes, just as we know that the steering wheel, moderated by the brake and…
Climate economics with Sol Hsiang
May 2, 2017 • 71 min
The field of environmental economics in general — and climate economics in particular — is exploding. And my guest on episode 44 of Forecast, Solomon Hsiang from UC Berkeley, is helping to crack open some of the recalcitrant oyster shells of the field.…
Jennifer MacKinnon and the swirly things
Apr 20, 2017 • 51 min
Most of the big stuff in Earth system science arises from the small stuff. The Keeling curve is the balance between an unknowably large number of microorganisms and the cellular fixation of carbon. Clouds, covering more than half of the planet at any one…
Climate policy with Gretchen Goldman
Apr 4, 2017 • 31 min
Forecast is mostly about climate science — the people who do it, and why they’re stoked about their work. But science is inevitably conducted within a political context, and Mike is a neanderthal when it comes to politics. Gretchen Goldman from the Union…
Jana Sillmann and climate extremes
Mar 27, 2017 • 60 min
Jana Sillmann has carved out a career working on understanding and predicting climate extremes — heat waves, heavy rainfall, atmospheric rivers. What combination of factors controls the occurrence of extremes, particularly in a changing climate? Jana and…
Monsoons with Bill Boos
Mar 10, 2017 • 67 min
Bill Boos and I have something in common. Neither of us is much of a long-term planner, but we both like to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. For me, this approach led to a switch from academia to editing. For Bill, it led to an in-process…
Gabe Vecchi
Feb 21, 2017 • 66 min
Gabe Vecchi is a world-famous atmospheric scientist with a pretty simple attitude to making progress: In order to do something, you need to do it. And Gabe’s done a lot! He was born in Boston but grew up in Venezuela, and witnessed the country’s…
Jory Lerback and gender inequities in peer review
Feb 1, 2017 • 32 min
Today’s interview, with Jory Lerback from the University of Utah, has both nothing and everything to do with climate science. I think for the first time in the history of Forecast, no one mentioned the word climate. Instead, we talked about Jory’s recent…
Nerilie Abram
Jan 24, 2017 • 59 min
Alternative facts are much in the news. The idea is, of course, ridiculous. Some things are clearly facts. Pizza is delicious; cake makes me happy; serving a white Burgundy at 40 F is an abomination; you should never wear a backpack with a suit. Much of…
Noah Diffenbaugh
Jan 11, 2017 • 77 min
I like doing Forecast for a lot of reasons. I get my fingers into the entrails of science in a way that isn’t really possible from reading submissions. I hear some appalling stories, off the record. I’m caught up in the enthusiasm of scientists for what…
Josh Willis
Dec 20, 2016 • 51 min
Normally my show notes are carefully reasoned, sober discussions of the remarkable pathways forged by inspirational scientists, and their subsequent breakthroughs. Not this time. This time, I will begin with a headline about today’s Forecast victim guest,…
Restaurants redux
Dec 9, 2016 • 42 min
My post on restaurant picks for AGU 2016 was one of the more popular blog entries to date on Forecast, so I thought I’d add a quick podcast on the same topic. I got together with two of my colleagues from Nature Chemical Biology, Mirella Bucci and Grant…
Laura Wilcox
Dec 1, 2016 • 57 min
Inequities exist throughout the scientific enterprise. Women continue to be progressively underrepresented at more senior career stages. Access to excellent research universities is unequally distributed. Representation by many minority groups is low.…
Jon Foley
Nov 18, 2016 • 81 min
Jonathan Foley is the Executive Director of the California Academy of Sciences, the previous director of the Institute on the Environment at the University of Minnesota and the founder of the Center for Sustainability and the Global Environment at the…
Bronwyn Wake chief editor of Nature Climate Change
Nov 4, 2016 • 49 min
How, exactly, does one get to be an editor of a Nature-branded journal? What do we do? How do we decide what to publish? And what’s up with all our journals? In this episode of Forecast, I hash out these issues with Bronwyn Wake, the chief editor of…
Daniel Aldana Cohen on urban climate mitigation
Oct 21, 2016 • 55 min
Climate scientists are used to the idea of climate mitigation. But few are involved in the nitty-gritty of what climate mitigation might look like at the local or even neighborhood level. Daniel Aldana Cohen from the Department of Sociology at the…
Amelia Shevenell, big ideas and big risks
Oct 7, 2016 • 61 min
Amelia Shevenell from the University of South Florida specializes in big ideas about paleoceanography and the Antarctic Ice Sheet. She’s also keen to push the methodological envelope, which can be risky if things go pear shaped. For Amelia, though, the…
Scott St. George on tree rings
Sep 16, 2016 • 55 min
Tree rings are one of the key tools in paleoclimate research, and might seem like nothing more than big, woody thermometers. But tree-ring science is ever evolving, constantly debated, and — while it has answered some major questions — still grapples with…
An update on the 1.5 °C warming threshold
Sep 6, 2016 • 19 min
Over the past few months I’ve discussed with a variety of guests the emerging idea of trying to keep global warming below 1.5 °C, and our family of journals has certainly been active on the topic, particularly with regard to feasibility and mitigation…
Rob DeConto and Antarctica in the climate system
Aug 25, 2016 • 59 min
I think I first learned of Rob DeConto when I saw his paper entitled Thresholds for Cenozoic bipolar glaciation, published soon after my arrival at Nature. Specific and testable thresholds for the initiation of large scale glaciation in Antarctica and the…
Susan Joy Hassol and climate communication
Jul 14, 2016 • 57 min
Language is spectacularly imprecise. Susan Joy Hassol from Climate Communication has made a career out of studying how to — and how not to — use language to most effectively communicate climate science to a broad audience. Well, you might think, surely…
Ed Hawkins on policy-relevant climate science
Jul 1, 2016 • 52 min
Maybe once a year I have a nightmare that I’m back in grad school, grinding out an interminable PhD in some entirely new field. Ed Hawkins from the National Centre for Atmospheric Science actually did head back for a new degree and a new career, but,…