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


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 is the longtime host and creator of Blue Dot. From surfing to Voyager in interstellar space, rock guitar to orcas in our imperiled oceans, the topics on Blue Dot are as varied as the host’s interests and connections -- which are pretty limitless! An internationally respected space history journalist, Dave is also deeply fascinated by all aspects of the grand workings of nature’s awesome machinery on scales ranging from galactic to subatomic. And topics take in all aspects of the arts and sciences.
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.