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July 31st, 2012

CU-Boulder scientists to give climate change programs at Rifle Public Library in August

In conjunction with the “Discover Earth: A Century of Change” exhibit, two renowned climate scientists from the University of Colorado Boulder will lead climate science-focused presentations at the Rifle Branch Library, 207 East Avenue, on Thursday, Aug. 9 and Thursday, Aug. 16.

Mark Williams, CU-Boulder professor of geography, will present “Save Our Snow: Climate Change, Fracing, Ski Areas, and Water Security in Colorado and the West” at 7 p.m. on Aug. 9. James White, director of the Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research (INSTAAR) at CU-Boulder, will present “Climate Change: Where We Are Now and Where We Are Going” at 7 p.m. on Aug. 16. Both programs are free and open to the public.

Williams is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union and INSTAAR, and his research focuses on snow hydrology and ecology of mountain areas. His presentation on Aug. 9 will center on threats to snow and water security and water’s critical role in the economy of Colorado and other western states.

“I'll explain why mountains are ‘water towers,’” Williams said. “I will walk the audience through strategies to predict future climates in the Colorado Rockies and how changes in climate may change our snow resource. We will evaluate whether we'll have snow to ski on in the future and how these changes may affect water availability, water quality, and ecosystem processes.”

White’s research primarily focuses on how and why climate changes have occurred in the past and how carbon dioxide moves between the atmosphere, ocean, and land plants. In addition to his role as INSTAAR director, he is a CU-Boulder professor of environmental studies and geological sciences. His presentation on Aug. 16 will explore human impact on the planet with an emphasis on climate. The topic will explore related scientific issues and social and ethical issues as well.

“We humans are having larger and larger impacts on the planet as we grow in numbers, and as countries such as China, India, and Brazil industrialize and require more resources,” White said. “We will focus on two key questions: what is our impact? And what is our responsibility?”

Part of a series called CU at the Library, these programs are jointly sponsored by Garfield County Libraries, INSTAAR, the CU-Boulder Office for University Outreach, and The Learn More About Climate initiative localizes climate change for Coloradans by offering public web resources, current research, educational videos, educator tools, and more.

Both programs will complement “Discover Earth,” a museum-quality, traveling exhibit on display at the Rifle Branch Library through Aug. 17. “Discover Earth: A Century of Change” is part of the STAR Library Education Networks (STAR_Net) led by the National Center for Interactive Learning at the Space Science Institute.


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