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Scientists to speak on climate change at Hamilton College

Posted 3/31/23

Two climate scientists will offer public lectures in early April during visits to Hamilton College as this year’s Robert S. Morris Class of 1976 Visiting Fellows.

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Scientists to speak on climate change at Hamilton College

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CLINTON — Two climate scientists will offer public lectures in early April during visits to Hamilton College as this year’s Robert S. Morris Class of 1976 Visiting Fellows. Both events are free and open to the public. 

Jonathan Overpeck, Hamilton class of 1979, is one of the nation’s leading experts on climate change and is the Samuel A. Graham Dean of the School for Environment and Sustainability at the University of Michigan, the Hamilton College announcement said.

His lecture, “Climate Change 2023: Challenges and Opportunities,” will take place Thursday, April 6, at 7:30 p.m., in the College’s Kennedy Auditorium, located in the Taylor Science Center. 

Julia Cole, a professor of earth and environmental science at the University of Michigan, will present her talk, “Coral Reefs in the Anthropocene – What’s Next?” on Friday, April 7, at 6 p.m. This event will also take place in the Kennedy Auditorium. 

The Robert S. Morris Class of 1976 Visiting Fellowship provides support to bring a preeminent scholar in the field of math or science to Hamilton. A Morris Fellow provides emerging topic expertise intended to complement Hamilton’s academic offerings.

The College’s math and science departments host a fellow of their choice on a rotating basis, and this year’s fellows are presented by Hamilton’s Geosciences Department. The fund was established in 2013 by Hamilton Charter Trustee and 1976 graduate Robert Morris.

An interdisciplinary climate scientist, Overpeck has published more than 220 works in climate and the environmental sciences and was one of 33 lead authors on the report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore. 

He was recently appointed by Michigan Gov. Gretchen Whitmer to the state’s new Council on Climate Solutions. Its charge is to create and oversee a statewide climate action plan. 

Overpeck has led active climate research programs on five continents. His research is focused on understanding drought and megadrought dynamics (and risk) the world over, and he has also served as the lead investigator of the Climate Assessment for the Southwest and the SW Climate Science Center, two major programs focused on regional climate adaptation.

He earned a bachelor’s degree with honors in geology from Hamilton and his master’s and doctorate degrees in geological sciences from Brown University in 1981 and 1985, respectively.

Cole’s research explores past environmental change by developing paleoclimatic data from corals, caves, and other sources. She also investigates ways to combine analyses of paleodata with climate models to refine interpretations of both. 

Cole earned a bachelor’s degree from Brown University, and her master’s and doctoral degrees from Columbia University.

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