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Our Science: Protecting the Public in the 21st Century

October 8, 2015
Alexander E. MacDonald, AMS President
Hosted by FORTCAST

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Abstract

Science is not a passive bystander in our lives. It is our protector through the generations. I illustrate this talk with examples of the role of science as it has affected six generations of my own family. Our science protects people in many ways, from forecasting floods and hurricanes, to determining the threat of anthropogenic climate change. I will give examples of some of the possible environmental catastrophes of the 21st century, and how Earth system science could lead to favorable outcomes ­or not. We have been given powerful tools; global observing, advanced computing and models, profound understanding of how the Earth system works. Success is not a given ­ it depends on how effective we are in science, technology, and the larger political sphere.