Curiosity and Climate Science

Kerry Emanuel | ClimateX MIT
Wednesday, August 2, 2017

In this video, Cecil & Ida Green Professor of Atmospheric Science and Co-Director of the Lorenz Center, Kerry Emanuel, explains the origins of climate science and shares with us the areas which interest him most. Professor Emanuel stresses the importance of climate science research and implores talented students to get involved in what he considers to be an underpopulated field.

Climate Science and Climate Risk: A Primer

Considerably more than 90% percent of climate scientists attribute the bulk of the increase in global mean temperature over the past three to four decades to the anthropogenic increase in atmospheric greenhouse gases that commenced with the Industrial Revolution.1 The great majority of these scientists hold that continued warming presents significant risks to humankind over the coming centuries. What scientific evidence led the scientific community to these conclusions? How robust is that evidence? To what extent should we trust uncertain projections of future climate change based on complicated global climate models? How do we deal with climate change as a problem of risk assessment and management?

12.340x Global Warming Science

About this course

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Global Warming Science teaches you about the risks and uncertainties of future climate change by examining the science behind the earth’s climate. You will be able to answer such questions as, “What is the Greenhouse Effect?” and “How and why has earth’s climate changed through geologic history?”

This science course is designed for college sophomores and juniors with some preparation in college-level calculus and physics. 


Kerry Emanuel, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Atmospheric Science MIT

Dan Cziczo, Associate Professor of Atmospheric Chemistry MIT

David McGee, Associate Professor, Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences MIT


ClimateX is an MIT online experiment in peer-to-peer climate education and action, open to the world.

Dr. Kerry Emanuel is the Cecil and Ida Green professor of atmospheric science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, where he has been on the faculty since 1981, after spending three years on the faculty of UCLA. Professor Emanuel's research interests focus on tropical meteorology and climate, with a specialty in hurricane physics. His interests also include cumulus convection, and advanced methods of sampling the atmosphere in aid of numerical weather prediction. He is the author or co-author of over 200 peer-reviewed scientific papers, and three books, including Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes , published by Oxford University Press and aimed at a general audience, and What We Know about Climate Change , published by the MIT Press. He is a co-director of MIT’s Lorenz Center, a climate think tank devoted to basic, curiosity driven climate research.

The Lorenz Center at MIT is devoted to learning how climate works. Named after the late MIT meteorologist Edward N. Lorenz, a pioneer of chaos theory, the Center fosters creative approaches to increasing fundamental understanding.