Kuehnast Lecture Series
Lectures in the Fields of Meteorology and Climatology

In 1992, the University of Minnesota Department of Soil, Water, and Climate was honored by the establishment of an endowment provided by the family of former Minnesota State Climatologist, Earl Louis, and his wife, Leila (Newbrough) Kuehnast. The endowment is used to further teaching and research programs in climatology and meteorology. The Kuehnast Lecture Series is sponsored by this endowment.

-- 19th Annual Lecture --

What Are Climate Models Good For?
(And How Do We Know?)

Dr. Gavin Schmidt
NASA - Goddard Institute for Space Studies

Thursday, October 13, 2011 - 3:00 PM
Room 335 Borlaug Hall
University of Minnesota
St. Paul Campus

This is a public forum ... all are welcome!

19th Annual Kuehnast Lecture Video Replay (QuickTime)


"If we had observations of the future, we obviously would trust them more than models, but unfortunately observations of the future are not available at this time." (Knutson and Tuleya, 2005)

Climate change is ongoing, and trying to explain what is happening now, and what might happen in the future are key tasks that require large-scale complex climate models of the atmosphere, ocean, land surface and cryosphere. But how well do such models perform? Can they predict climate changes in the face of the chaotic dynamics of weather? How have they performed so far? I will discuss how the credibility of model results can be established and what are the current limitations. This involves assessing short term climate variability, the response of the climate system to external factors (such as variability of the sun or large volcanic eruptions), paleo-climate information and how model-data discrepancies get resolved. I will (hopefully) demonstrate that while climate models are by no means perfect, they can be very useful.

For more information contact:

Dr. Mark Seeley
Department of Soil, Water, and Climate
439 Borlaug Hall
1991 Upper Buford Circle
University of Minnesota
St. Paul, MN 55108
(612) 625-4724

Past Presentations in the Kuehnast Lecture Series:

18th Strengths/Weaknesses of Climate Models
Climate Services for Society
Ben Santer
Eileen Shea
September 16, 2010
17th Breathing of the Biosphere: How Physics Sets the Limits and Biology Does the Work Dennis Baldocchi October 15, 2009
16th A World of Change: Climate Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow Susan Solomon November 5, 2008
15th Divine Wind: The History and Science of Hurricanes Kerry Emanuel October 18, 2007
14th The Pileus Project: Climate Science in Support of Decision Making for an Intensively-Managed Agricultural Crop Julie Winkler October 4, 2006
13th The State of Science Education and the American Meteorological Society Walt Lyons October 14, 2005
12th The Role of Sea Ice in Global Climate Wallace Broecker October 12, 2004
11th Climate Change: A View from Underground Henry N. Pollack October 13, 2003
10th Global Climate Change: Uncertainties, Risks, and Values in Determining Public Policy Panel Discussion October 11, 2002
9th An Idiosyncratic History of Climate Richard H. Skaggs October 19, 2001
8th Beyond Global Warming Yes or No Roger Pielke, Jr. October 6, 2000
7th Evapotranspiration: From Canopies to Continents John M. Norman September 24, 1999
6th What's happening with El Nino and La Nina  Kevin E. Trenberth October 15, 1998
5th Global Nitrogen Cycling Elisabeth A. Holland October 2, 1997
4th A Brief Excursion Into Three Agricultural Revolutions Donald G. Baker October 11, 1996
3rd CO2 and the Biosphere Sherwood B. Idso October 12, 1995
2nd How Much Land Can 10 Billion People Spare? Paul E. Waggoner October 4, 1994
1st Is Climate Still Important? Stanley A. Chagnon October 5, 1993