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Abrupt Climate Change


Abrupt Climate Change
Mika Tosca
2 week course || SCIENCE 605 001 || 3 credit hours

Since 1970, global temperatures have risen more than a degree Fahrenheit, yet, despite dire warnings from climate scientists, humanity continues to emit climate-warming greenhouse gases at record pace. In the past two decades we have seen the increasing effects of devastating sea level rise, stronger and more powerful storms, longer droughts, deadly heat waves, destructive wildfires, accelerating loss of the world’s rainforests, growing species extinction rates, and changing water availability. In this course, we will explore the scientific explanation of contemporary climate change as well as the economic origins of our fossil fuel addiction. We will discuss future projections of climate change, the underpinnings of modern “climate change denial”, and whether we can avoid what scientists call “catastrophic climate change” in this century. We will consider current news articles and relevant policy solutions/responses, and class work will involve group work, critical thinking, quantitative practice, relevant scientific readings, qualitative homework, quizzes, an exam and a final project.


FACULTY

Mika Tosca   A plot showing increasing surface temperature (black line) in the Southeastern United States in response to declining industrial pollution (red line)

Mika Tosca
A plot showing increasing surface temperature (black line) in the Southeastern United States in response to declining industrial pollution (red line)

Mika Tosca is a trained climate scientist, having completed her Ph.D. work at the University of California, Irvine in 2012. While at Irvine, Dr.Tosca researched the interconnectivity of the climate with landscape fires and particulate (aerosol) emissions. She continued her work as a postdoctoral scholar at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (a contracted lab of NASA) in Pasadena, CA, working under Dr. David Diner. There she continued researching the interactions between climate and landscape fires, even traveling as far as Namibia in 2016 to research the complex relationships between smoke from fires and cloud formation. At SAIC, she has begun to explore whether scientists can work with designers to determine whether reimagining data visualization can help scientists ask better questions. She continues to explore contemporary science questions concerning climate change and has given several invited presentations to various organizations.