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Blue Dot 207: Polar Climate Change and Our Weather: A Conversation With Jennifer Francis

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Dave talks to polar climate expert Jennifer Francis about the hows and whys of the north polar region's dramatic warming is affecting weather here at temperate latitudes.

 

From freezing temperatures in Texas to the persistent drought conditions in California, it turns out much of what is happening (or not happening in the case of winter storms hitting California) is due to changes in the polar jet stream caused by a rapidly warming climate at the highest latitudes.

Francis is a senior scientist at the Woodwell Climate Research Center in Falmouth, Massachusetts. Her work was cited by Barack Obama seeking to counter misinformation from Senator James Imhoff (Republican/Oklahoma) who famously brought a snowball into the Senate chamber in 2014 as "proof" that global warming is a "hoax."

 

Turns out, that snowball was more of a canary in the coal mine and an indicator of more severe weather to come in our warming world.

 

Dave Schlom has taught the physical sciences at Corning Union High School since 1991. A lifelong amateur astronomer and astronomy educator, he has a passion for both the earth and the space sciences, which are the principal areas of focus for guests on Blue Dot. He started doing radio interviews on space and astronomy topics for local stations like KFM and KPAY in the 1980s and into the 90s, where he was a popular go-to guest for local radio personalities. He is also an expert on the history and geology of Lassen Volcanic National Park, where he has served as a volunteer for decades. Dave enjoys a quiet life at home with his partner in life, Cheryl, and their two dogs, Elvis and Pearl, at their Red Bluff residence.
Matt Fidler is a producer and sound designer with over 15 years’ experience producing nationally distributed public radio programs. He has worked for shows such as Freakonomics Radio, Selected Shorts, Studio 360, The New Yorker Radio Hour and The Takeaway. In 2017, Matt launched the language podcast Very Bad Words, hitting the #28 spot in the iTunes podcast charts.