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Nov. 3: Mather Lecture

Nov. 3: Mather Lecture

Leading climate scientist to discuss Greenland’s contribution to global sea level

Noted climate scientist Laurence C. Smith will discuss Greenland’s contribution to global sea levels at the John R. Mather Visiting Scholars Lecture at 6 p.m., Thursday, Nov. 3.

The lecture will be held in the Gore Recital Hall in the Roselle Center for the Arts on the University of Delaware campus in Newark, and kicks off a yearlong celebration of geography’s 50th anniversary as a department.

The event is free and open to the public, but registration is required

Smith is professor and chair in the Department of Geography and professor of Earth, planetary and space sciences at UCLA. His primary research focuses on the Arctic, hydrology, satellite remote sensing technologies and climate change.

In his lecture, he will discuss his work using field, satellite and underwater autonomous vehicle (UAV) technologies to assess surface water hydrology of Greenland’s southwestern ablation zone, an area of the ice sheet considered most susceptible to melting.

Meltwater runoff from the Greenland ice sheet is a key contributor to global sea levels, but according to Smith, has received little direct study as a hydrological process. His ongoing work uses a unique summer 2015 dataset of supraglacial river discharge to test the reliability of climate-model predictions of Greenland's runoff contributions to the global ocean.

Smith was named a Guggenheim Fellow in 2006, and his work appeared prominently in fourth and fifth Assessment Reports of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 2007 and 2014. He was an invited speaker at the 2016 World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. 

Smith is a fellow of the American Geophysical Union. He is the author of over 80 peer-reviewed journal articles and one book, The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilization’s Northern Future

His work has been funded by the National Science Foundation and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, and widely publicized in the media, including the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and The New York Times.

Smith earned a master’s degree in earth science at Indiana University and a doctoral degree in earth and atmospheric science at Cornell University, in 1991 and 1996, respectively. 

About the Mather Lecture

The John R. Mather Visiting Scholars Lecture honors the memory of John (Russ) Mather, who served as a professor of geography at University of Delaware from 1963-2003, and as chair of the Department of Geography from 1966-89. 

Sandra F. Mather established the lectureship to honor her late husband by enabling the department to host well-known scholars for the active exchange of ideas related to Mather's broad interests in climatology and geography.

The lecture is hosted by the Department of Geography, which is housed in UD’s College of Earth, Ocean, and Environment.


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