University of Delaware
Climate Communication's Susan Hassol and Richard Somerville will discuss the issue of communicating climate change on Nov. 7 in the Trabant Theatre. Those who plan to attend are asked to register by Oct. 31.

Nov. 7: John R. Mather Lecture

Climate experts to address challenges of communicating climate change


10:07 a.m., Oct. 25, 2013--Two leading experts on science communication will address the challenges of explaining climate change at the annual John R. Mather Visiting Scholars Lecture at 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 7, in the Trabant University Center Theatre.

Susan Hassol and Richard Somerville of Climate Communication, a non-profit science and outreach project, will tackle issues that come with making climate change more accessible to the public.

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“Somerville and Hassol have an amazing ability to make science clear, concise and understandable,” said Dana Veron, associate professor in the Department of Geography within the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment and an organizer of the event. “Science can have words that have different meanings, even basic terminology, and they break that down to make it all easier to comprehend.”

Their work addresses concerns with the public’s confusion over climate change and what can be done to increase understanding of climate-related issues and facts. The lecture will build on an article Somerville and Hassol published in 2011, “Communicating the Science of Climate Change,” which discussed the urgency of climate communication and how to better inform the public. 

Hassol is the director of Climate Communication and the senior science writer on the National Climate Assessment, which will be released next year. She serves as a communication adviser at the World Meteorological Organization Commission for Climatology and is on the board of directors of the American Geophysical Union. She works with scientists and organizations around the nation to improve how they communicate to the public.

Somerville is the science director at Climate Communication and professor emeritus at the University of California, San Diego. He was a coordinating lead author for a report in 2007 on the state of climate change science at the time for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The IPCC shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize for its work accumulating and spreading research on man-made climate change and starting the process to counteract this change. Somerville’s latest research focuses on the impact of clouds on climate and the role they play in the climate system. 

The John R. Mather Visiting Scholars Lecture honors the memory of John (Russ) Mather, UD professor of geography from 1963 to 2003 and Department of Geography chair from 1966 to 1989. The department joined the College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment in 2009. 

Sandra F. Mather established the lecture to honor her late husband and enable the department to host well-known scholars for the active exchange of ideas related to Mather’s broad interests in climatology and geography.

The general public is invited to attend this free lecture. Those who plan to attend should register online by Oct. 31. Limited seating is available, and at-the-door registration will be based on seat availability. The Trabant Theatre is located inside the Trabant University Center at 17 W. Main Street in Newark. 

Article by Andrew Cooper

Graphic by Tammy Beeson

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