WPSU's 'Conversation' turns to climate change

A leading expert on climate change shares his findings

University Park, Pa. -- Experts say regulating Earth's climate is arguably one of the most important issues of modern day. However, the key to understanding the future of our environment is to examine the past. Researchers are learning important lessons about earth’s climate history from an unlikely source: ice cores. Penn State professor Richard Alley is one of the world's leading climate researchers and he'll explain his theories about changing temperatures on the next "Conversations from Penn State."

Alley uses ice cores to understand climate change and study how it has progressed over time.

"If we continue 'business as usual,' burning lots of fossil fuel, when you look ahead two, three, or four generations, we will have made life harder for a whole lot of people because of changes in the climate," said Alley. "We will have made life harder for a whole lot of ecosystems because of that."

Alley said researchers must continue to investigate the changes in temperature and determine how our choices affect those numbers.

"Global warming, [developing] new energy sources: that's a hard problem," said Alley. "We are not going to flip a switch and have it solved. This is a 30-year issue."

The show will air on the Big Ten Network at 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 19, and it will air on WPSU-TV at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 20 at 9 p.m. The show also can be viewed at http://conversations.psu.edu/.

Alley is an Evan Pugh Professor of Geosciences and also is associated with the Earth and Environmental Systems Institute at Penn State. He is one of several earth scientists from Penn State who contributed to the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Prize with Al Gore. His current research focuses on glaciology, ice sheet stability and paleoclimates from ice cores.

"Conversations from Penn State" is a new series hosted by veteran interviewer Patty Satalia. The program offers thoughtful, in-depth exchanges with a broad range of remarkable people. In many cases, their trailblazing work has advanced their field and drawn national and worldwide attention. For more than 20 years, Satalia has engaged dynamic individuals from all walks of life and areas of expertise. No matter the guest, she approaches each conversation with the same dedication to research and with a passion for helping people share their stories and insights with the world.

WPSU serves central Pennsylvania with programming, educational services and community outreach. Its public media services produce, acquire and distribute programs that address local interests and reflect the diverse cultural, political, geographic and demographic characteristics of an audience within central Pennsylvania.


Last Updated August 13, 2009