The 28th Kuehnast Lecture in the Fields of Meteorology and Climatology
Photo of ice, sea, and meltwater as seen from the USCG Icebreaker HEALY by Jeremy Potter NOAA/OAR/OER.
The Arctic Meltdown: Why It Matters to Us All
Dr. Jennifer Francis, Woodwell Climate Research Center
The Arctic seems very far away, but the momentous changes occurring there affect us all. Global warming, sea-level rise, tropical storms, and extreme weather events are all connected to the rapidly melting and warming Arctic. I'll discuss recent research into this "hot" topic.
Dr. Jennifer Francis is Acting Deputy Director and Senior Scientist at Woodwell Climate Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Her interest in Arctic weather and climate was sparked by a summer spent sailing near Svalbard in her twenties. Throughout her career, she has pioneered the use of satellite data to understand the dramatic changes taking place in the Arctic, and how disproportionate warming there is affecting temperate regions on Earth—where billions of people live. Her groundbreaking work suggests that rapid Arctic warming may be linked to shifting weather patterns in North America and Eurasia, driving more persistent weather regimes that can generate periods of extreme temperature and/or precipitation.
Dr. Francis’ work has sparked scientific debate and drawn public attention. Dr. Francis is frequently quoted in major media outlets and has authored three articles in Scientific American. She testified to the U.S. House of Representatives Science Committee in 2019 and to the Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works in 2013.
Sailing has been an enduring source of inspiration for Dr. Francis’ work. She has circumnavigated the globe and currently lives aboard her sailboat, Saphira.