Professor John Wettlaufer

"Sea Ice, Climate and Observational Mathematics"

NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM, Thursday, October 10, 2013


Lecture Summary:

To better understand Earth's climate, we seek theories that predict observations regionally and globally, from human to geologic time scales. But what are the relevant observations? And how do we construct useful and realistic theories? We grapple with these questions by creating a mathematical observatory and focusing its telescopes on Arctic ice and climate.




John Wettlaufer is Professor of Applicable Mathematics at Oxford and the A.M. Bateman Professor of Applied Mathematics, Geophysics and Physics at Yale. He is one of the world's leading authorities on the physics of ice and its role in climate. A Fellow of the American Physical Society and a Guggenheim Fellow, he has held visiting appointments at Cambridge University and the Nordic Institute of Theoretical Physics in Stockholm.

Faculty Forum Online
Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013, noon-12:30 p.m. (EST)
Climate Research: Time for a New Direction
MIT Professor Explores a New Direction in Climate Research

Professor Kerry Emanuel

Kerry Emanuel

Research aimed at predicting future climate activity has primarily focused on exceptionally large and complex numerical models. While this approach has provided some quantitative estimates of climate change, those predictions can vary greatly from one model to the next and produce significant uncertainties in the projected outcome. Attempts to reduce these uncertainties have largely failed.


In this broadcast, Professor Kerry Emanuel of MIT's Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences will discuss a new approach to climate science that emphasizes basic understanding over black box simulation.


After Emanuel presents a brief overview of climate research, he will take questions from the worldwide MIT community via video chat on Tuesday, Feb. 5, from noon to 12:30 p.m. (EST).


Emanuel is a cofounder of the Lorenz Center, an MIT think tank devoted to understanding climate activity, and the author of What We Know about Climate Change, which The New York Times called "the single best thing written about climate change for a general audience."

Tuesday, Feb. 5, 2013

Time: Noon-12:30 p.m. (EST)

Faculty Forum Online live webcast and interactive chat

Click here to watch on demand.

More about Kerry Emanuel:

Professor Timothy Palmer

"Predicting Climate in a Chaotic World: How Certain Can We Be?"

NEW ENGLAND AQUARIUM, November 1, 2012

Timothy Palmer

This year's John Carlson Lecture was given by Royal Society Professor of Climate Physics at UK's Oxford University, Tim Palmer, who gave an engaging talk about the limitations of contemporary weather and climate forecast models, and how despite them, even for such an inherently chaotic system, there is still the possibility of making meaningful predictions.

Edward Lorenz's pioneering work on systems whose evolution is unpredictable and chaotic was motivated by a skepticism about the use of statistical models to predict next month's weather. And yet, on the web and elsewhere, one can find predictions not only of next month's weather, but also of the human effect on long-term climate. Can we have any confidence at all in long-range predictions of weather? And should we believe these estimates of human-induced climate change? Or is the whole notion of predicting long-term changes in climate misguided and unscientific?


Predicting Climate in a Chaotic World: How certain can we be?


The talk, to the packed Simons IMAX theater, was followed by a dinner for faculty, donors and guests in the Aquarium.



Pictures from the Fall 2012 Carlson Lecture
Pictures from the Fall 2011 Carlson Lecture

A Man for All Seasons (School of Science Profile of John Carlson)

Tim Palmer

Monday, May 7, 2012

Leo Kadanoff "makes a Splash"

Professor Leo Kadanoff was the first Visiting Scientist the Lorenz Center in Spring 2012, and was a Houghton Lecture speaker. Professor Kadanoff, a professor emeritus of physics and mathematics at the University of Chicago and a member of the Perimeter Institute, has made fundamental contributions to research in phase transitions, dynamical systems, fluid flow, and complex systems. He will return to the Lorenz Center for another two-week visit in late October.

Leo Kadanoff

Leo Kadanoff giving seminar Small Programs, Big Ideas: In Praise of “Little Science” Image: H. Queyrouze

During the week, Leo met with faculty and researchers within EAPS, the School of Science, and across MIT. He also gave two Houghton Lectures, entitled Making a Splash; Breaking a Neck: The Development of Complexity in Physical Systems on April 27th and Small Programs, Big Ideas: "In Praise of “Little Science” on May 3rd.

The Lorenz Center presents the John Carlson Lecture Series

The John Carlson Lecture communicates exciting new results in climate science to the general public. Free of charge, the lecture is made possible by a generous gift from MIT alumnus John H. Carlson to the Lorenz Center at MIT.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Earth's Surprising Climate History

Paul Hoffman

Speaker: Paul Hoffman, Sturgis Hooper Professor of Geology Emeritus at Harvard University

Lecture summary: The geological record shows that Earth's climate has changed in dramatic and surprising ways. Harvard geologist Paul Hoffman will share his fascination with the give and take between those who discovered the ancient changes and those struggling to develop theories of climate change. His story ranges from the beginnings of climate change as a science to his own involvement in the controversy over the ultimate climatic disturbance: snowball Earth.

Time: 6:30 p.m. Community Reception; 7:00 p.m. Lecture

Location: 32-123

Open to: General Public

Cost: Free

Sponsor(s):MIT School of Science

For more information, contact:
Shira Wieder

Earth's Surprising Climate History