Climate change to be discussed at Penn State Behrend

ERIE, Pa. — Over the past 130 years, average temperatures over all land and ocean surfaces have warmed by roughly 1.53°F.

Earth’s temperatures have always been in flux, but only recently has warming change been so rapid. Ancient glaciers anchored on land are now melting, which is causing global ocean levels to rise and coastal lands to sink.

That shift has triggered much debate about how humans have contributed to the change. It’s a question that Darren Williams, professor of physics and astronomy, will address when Open House Night in Astronomy returns to Penn State Behrend on Thursday, Oct. 22.

“The geologic record shows that Earth has oscillated many times between feverish temperatures to planet-wide snowballs over millions of years,” said Williams. “However, recent warming of our planet has been far more rapid, occurring only over the last century, since the dawn of the industrial revolution.”

The presentation, “Earth’s Changing Climate: Today and in Ages Past,” will be held at 7:30 p.m. in Room 180 of the campus' Jack Burke Research and Economic Development Center. It is free and open to the public.

The lecture will be followed by a 15-minute question and answer session hosted by Williams. Astronomical observing will also be held at the Mehalso Observatory if weather permits.

Open House Nights in Astronomy are an outreach program of the School of Science at Penn State Behrend. These nontechnical presentations are intended for ages 8 and up; for additional information, contact the school at 814-898-6105.

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Last Updated October 21, 2015