Last updated on: 6/11/2010 | Author: ProCon.org

Kerry Emanuel, PhD Biography

Title:
Director of the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)
Position:
Pro to the question "Is Human Activity Primarily Responsible for Global Climate Change?"
Reasoning:

“[C]oncentrations of the two most important long-lived greenhouse gases, carbon dioxide and methane, have been increasing since the dawn of the industrial era; carbon dioxide alone has increased by about 40 percent. These increases have been brought about by fossil fuel combustion and changes in land use…

[G]lobal temperatures have been rising for roughly the past century and have so far increased by about 1.4 F. The rate of rise of surface temperature is… larger than any natural change we have been able to discern for at least the past 1,000 years.

Disputes within climate science concern the nature and magnitude of feedback processes involving clouds and water vapor, uncertainties about the rate at which the oceans take up heat and carbon dioxide, the effects of air pollution, and the nature and importance of climate change effects such as rising sea level, increasing acidity of the ocean, and the incidence of weather hazards such as floods, droughts, storms, and heat waves. These uncertainties are reflected in divergent predictions of climate change made by computer models…

But when the dust settles, what we are left with is the evidence. And, in spite of all its complexity and uncertainties, we should not lose track of the simple fact that theory, actual observations of the planet, and complex models – however imperfect each is in isolation – all point to ongoing, potentially dangerous human alteration of climate.”

“Despite Uncertainties, Need to Confront Climate Change Is Clear,” Boston Globe, Feb. 15, 2010

Theoretical Expertise Ranking:
Experts
Individuals with PhDs, or equivalent advanced degrees in fields relevant to the study of climate. Also top-level government officials (such as foreign leaders, US presidents, Founding Fathers, Supreme Court Justices, members of legislative bodies, cabinet members, military leaders, etc.) with positions relevant to the study of climate.
Involvement and Affiliations:
  • Director of the Program in Atmospheres, Oceans, and Climate at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 1997-present
  • Professor, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, MIT, 1997-present
  • Elected member, National Academy of Sciences, 2007-present
  • Member, Board on Atmospheric Sciences and Climate, National Academy of Sciences, 2003-2010
  • Recipient, Carl-Gustaf Rossby Research Medal, American Meteorological Society, 2007
  • Member, Council of the American Meteorological Society, 1999-2002
  • Fellow, American Meteorological Society, 1995
  • Recipient, Banner I. Miller Award (with Richard Rotunno), American Meteorological Society, 1992
  • Professor and Director, Center for Meteorology and Physical Oceanography, Department of Earth, Atmospheric, and Planetary Sciences, MIT, 1989-1997
  • Member, Board of the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, 1989-1992
  • Recipient, Meisinger Award, American Meteorological Society, 1986
Education:
  • PhD, Meteorology, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), 1978
  • BS, Earth and Planetary Sciences, MIT, May 1976
Other:

None found

Quoted in:
Pro & Con Quotes: Is Human Activity Primarily Responsible for Global Climate Change?