Undergraduates Learn about Climate Change from Internationally Recognized Scientist

Posted: August 6, 2008 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 30, -0001 at 12:00 am

By Tara Laskowski

This fall, a lucky group of Mason undergraduates will learn about the scientific and societal issues associated with weather and climate variability and change from one of the world’s leading experts. Jagadish Shukla, an internationally known climatologist and founder of the graduate Climate Dynamics Program, will teach CLIM 101: Weather, Climate and Global Society.

Shukla is a lead author and member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the organization that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former vice president Al Gore.

“I hope to give students an understanding of the basic science behind climate and climate changes,” says Shukla, who is teaching an undergraduate course for the first time in his more than 10 years at Mason.

“The goal is for these students to know enough that they can be good, informed citizens and take part meaningfully in the public debate on global warming.”

Students do not have to have a science background to take the course.

Shukla designed the course because he has seen so much increased interest in the issues and hopes to give people a greater understanding of the physical phenomena of weather and climate and how this science affects different sectors of society, including policy-making.

Jagadish Shukla with awards
Climate scientist Jagadish Shukla with the honors he received this year: the International Meteorological Organization Prize for 2007 (forefront); the IPCC certificate (directly in front of him); his commission for climate change (to his immediate left); and a certificate from the American Geophysical Union designating him a fellow.
Photo by Evan Cantwell

He will teach the course with James Kinter, associate professor, and Emilia Jin, assistant research professor. All three are in Mason’s Department of Atmospheric, Oceanic and Earth Sciences, which Shukla chairs.

Shukla is also the president of the Institute of Global Environment and Society and the founder of the Center for Ocean-Land-Atmosphere Studies, a top research center devoted to an improved understanding of climate variability and predictability. He is one of the premier researchers of short-term climate variability and continues to research ways to more accurately predict weather and climate variations in the three-month to one-year range.

A host of organizations have noted Shukla’s achievements, and he has received four major honors within a recent five-month span.

In addition to his IPCC award, he received the International Meteorological Organization Prize for 2007 given by the World Meteorological Organization. In January, Virginia Gov. Timothy Kaine appointed him a commissioner for climate change, and he was inducted as a fellow of the American Geophysical Union in May.

Not only has his research continued to improve the world’s understanding of weather and climate predictability, but he has founded and implanted many weather and climate research centers globally.

For more information on the undergraduate course, visit the web site.

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