As the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Science rolls out its fifth assessment report this week, Athletic Association Professor and president of the American Meteorological Society J. Marshall Shepherd weighs in on the need for common sense on climate change:
For me, the hat with the ball from the IPCC report is that it continues to affirm that our planet is warming, and humans are a significant contributor to the warming.
Andrew Dessler, professor and author of "Introduction to Modern Climate Change," noted in a recent phone conversation the remarkable consistency in the main conclusions of every previous IPCC report. The analysis also provides measured thoughts on implications for the frequency and intensity of certain extreme weather events.
Extreme weather and climate directly affect many aspects of society, including public health, agriculture and national security. Navy Adm. Samuel Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Command, has noted that climate change is the biggest new threat to Pacific security.
Greenland adapts to climate change Greenland adapts to climate change
Recently, an elderly man from my church said, "Doc, what's going on? The weather is different." For a public increasingly inquisitive about what they see around them, it is important to be aware of the distracting hats whizzing around and to keep your eye on the hat with the ball.
Many recent discussions have focused on "uncertainty." Yes, topics of uncertainty exist in climate science as in any science, but this does not render the science unusable. Most readers would take an umbrella or expect rain if the weather forecast called for a 95% or greater chance of rain. How silly would it sound to say, "Don't bother getting an umbrella because there is 5% uncertainty in that forecast"?
Our thanks to Dr. Shepherd and others for their willingness to weigh in on this important issue - easily the most important issue of our day. UGA is committed to the work of its research scientists, whose work is critical to the mission of the university.
A note to media: reporters who wish to contact Shepherd or other UGA research scientists on the subject of the new IPCC report should contact the Franklin College communications office at firstname.lastname@example.org or 706.542.3331.