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IndyBuzz provides information about Central Indiana's most stimulating and thought provoking events -- discussions and conferences, art exhibitions, films, music performances. It tells you what's happening … explains why you should be part of what’s happening. More than an events calendar, though, IndyBuzz tries to make events more meaningful for participants by suggesting an article or two to read before the event, recommending books or websites that will be sources of further information after the event, and pointing out related events that are worth attending.

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February 6: Discuss the science and politics of global climate change

Prof. Gabriel Filippelli--Chair Department of Earth Sciences at IUPUI and Associate Director of Center For Environmental Health at Indiana University -- discusses global climate change for the Great Decisions Series of the Indiana Council on World Affairs.

When: Tuesday, March 29 7:00-9:00 PM

Where: Butler University, Pharmacy Building

How much are human practices contributing to substantial and irreversible changes to the environment? What effect are changes to the climate having in different areas of the planet? What response can the international community adopt to lessen the impact of dramatic climate change?

These and other questions will be addressed by Prof. Gabriel Filippelli of IUPUI. Part of the reason why the public and policymakers seem confused about the topic of "global warming" (perhaps more precise would be to call the topic "massive human induced climate change") is that the science is hard. It isn't just that the math underlying the models is beyond our brains, there is also a matter of understanding the nature of the scientific method and the role of doubt.

Filippelli should be a valuable guide, a real live honest to goodness climate scientist who works hard to clarify issues for ordinary citizens. Here's how he describes his research agenda. Filippelli was featured in a WISH-TV feature about global climate change.

“When greenhouse gases like carbon dioxide and methane go up in our atmosphere, because of physics, the atmosphere and the planet simply have to warm,” said Dr. Gabriel Filippelli, IUPUI. Proponents say they have proof. “We can prove this by doing this in a lab experiment in a beaker. You add more of these gases in, the beaker is going to be hotter with the same amount of incident light,” said Filippelli.

The only way to predict future climate is through computer models. “Weather models have a hard time forecasting weather conditions past a week or 10 days,” said Randy Ollis, Forecast 8 meteorologist. Researchers say climate models are
different. “The science behind understanding climate change is much more solid than it was even 10 years ago,” said Filippelli. “Climate models are extremely stripped down and they just deal with some basic aspects of atmospheric physics,” said Dr. Gabriel Filippelli, IUPUI. They’re basic in form, but complex in results. The models don't agree on future climate, but global warming proponents say, “Everyone that I have seen applied projects a warming,” said Filippelli. With that, Filippelli is comfortable enough to say, “If you are looking to buy real estate, Antarctica is I think a good deal right now.”

Prof. Filippelli will surely help connect this global issue to local concerns. We get a taste of this in a news article from last year.

If this event sounds interesting, you should check out the Church of the Saviour's Great Decision discussion of global climate change January 31. And hear a Stanford scientist ask whether we can even measure global climate change on April 18. That makes science sem pretty fuzzy ... so let's listen to the leading authority on the fuzziest of warped and bizarre science on March 7.

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