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The Climate for Climate News

Whatever the curent state of the art on presenting/denying/affirming the realities and consequences of a changing global climate, UGA and Franklin College scholars have long been a trustworthy source of expertise on the subject. And it is a complex subject, which is why it calls for scholarship from such a wide range of fields from marine sciences to geography and atmospheric sciences to microbiology, forestry, ecology and the biological sciences, UGA faculty are engaged everywhere from the planetary level down to the impacts of climate change on cities and towns, streets and neighborhoods:

As heat waves become more common and more intense, the suffering will likely fall hardest on the most vulnerable groups, such as the poor, the elderly and people who work out of doors, University of Georgia climate scientist Marshall Shepherd said this week as a group called the Urban Climate Institute met in Athens Monday and Tuesday.

The group includes Shepherd and other top researchers in the field such as Peter Snyder of the University of Minnesota, who have met periodically over the past several years in a National Science Foundation-funded project. In Athens, they talked not only about what’s known about urban heat islands — a lot — but also how best to share that knowledge with people who can help mitigate or even reverse the urban heat effect — “practitioners” such as city planners, builders and elected officials who set policies. The heat island effect works hand in hand with ongoing global warming, but it’s not the same thing.

Congratulations to Dr. Shepherd for arranging this recent UCI meeting at UGA. Our scientists are doing what they should be doing - pursuing the most pressing research questions and following the evidence wherever it goes - and this is to the greater credit of the institution and the state that supports it. Our students come to campus to learn and good public policy relies on unvarnished scholarship. The politics surrounding the issues of a changing climate are powerful, and it is good to know that while debates may rage and popular opinions shift, scientists are working to expand our understanding of the present, and the future.

Image: Photo by Patricia Yager.

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