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Making Assessments for Policy: Earth observations and modelling for decision making

Monday 18 September 2017, 16:00 - 17:30
Clothworkers Speakman Lecture Theatre (G.89)
Dr David Fahey, Director, Chemical Science Division, NOAA


David has been with the Earth System Research Laboratory since 1979 and CSD Director since 2014.  His principal research interest is the measurements of trace gases and aerosols in the troposphere and lower stratosphere using instruments on board research aircraft. He is an author of the 2007 climate science assessment of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change and has served as a Principal Investigator and Project Scientist for a number of airborne sampling missions with NASA’s research manned and unmanned aircraft and as a participant in several international scientific assessments of ozone depletion and climate.


Earth’s growing population and increasing climate forcing are leading us to a new regime of impacts that pose unique challenges to society.  A key challenge is understanding our environment sufficiently well that we can describe the processes that define its present state and project how it might change in the future.  In this new regime, society is faced with new and complex decisions regarding our relation to our environment.  Atmospheric and environmental scientists increase their effectiveness by being aware of how their environmental research connects to decisions.  The best decisions require the fundamental understanding that we are continually seeking, and require us to frame and describe it in a manner relevant for the problems at hand and, above all, to communicate it effectively to stakeholders and decision makers.  In this lecture, I will present a few guiding principles and a few examples from my experience as a way of increasing awareness and providing encouragement for the challenges ahead.  I hope the early career scientists meeting at Leeds this week are motivated by some aspect of this need for understanding and are considering contributing in significant ways.

The seminar will be followed by a panel discussion on the role of academics in expert-led assessments, chaired by Piers Forster with panellists from IPCC, IPBES and WMO Ozone.

Panellists: David Fahey (NOAA), Jan Fuglestvedt (CICERO), Jan Minx (Mercator Research Institute), Keith Shine (Reading), Lindsay Stringer (Leeds)

Reserve your place here and invite your colleagues!