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Live, Interactive Webcast for Reporters: Will Clouds–the Wild Card of Climate Change–Speed or Slow Warming?

October 21, 2010

NSF invites media to participate in a webcast briefing on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 1:00 p.m., EDT

Clouds are “the largest source of uncertainty” in projections of climate change, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). This uncertainty arises because different types of clouds exert different forces on climate: Some clouds help cool the Earth and some clouds help warm it. So far, no one knows which effect will win out as the climate continues to change.

This uncertainty begs some of the most critical (and most fascinating) questions about climate change: Will clouds help speed or slow global warming? Why is cloud behavior so difficult to predict? And, in the midst of such uncertainty about clouds, how in the world are scientists learning to project the behavior of these ephemeral, ever-changing, high-altitude phenomena?

To help give the role of clouds in climate change its due, the National Science Foundation (NSF) will host a webcast with a leading authority on clouds and climate change: David Randall, director of the Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes and a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University. The webcast will be held on Thursday, Oct. 28 at 1:00 p.m., EDT.

Following the webcast, NSF will release a multi-media package about clouds and climate change titled, “Clouds: The Wild Card of Climate Change.” This package–which will provide a wealth of information to reporters, policy makers, scientists, educators, the public and students of all levels–will be posted on NSF’s website at http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/.

Who: Cloud and climate change expert David Randall, director of the Center for Multiscale Modeling of Atmospheric Processes and a professor of atmospheric science at Colorado State University.

What: A media briefing via teleconference and webcast to discuss why clouds are the wild card of climate change.

When: Thursday, Oct. 28, at 1:00 p.m., EDT.

How to Participate: Reporters in the United States may participate by teleconference or Internet. To participate by teleconference, call (888) 603-7924. Passwords are needed to access the presentation and to ask questions during the live event.  To obtain the password to participate in the teleconference and to obtain the URL and password to access the webcast, e-mail Lily Whiteman at lwhitema@nsf.gov. Before and during the event, e-mail questions for David Randall at webcast@nsf.gov.




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