This fall, the New England Aquarium has opened its doors to the public through its free Fall Lecture Series. Last week, climate scientist, John Wettlaufer, explained the complexities of studying fluctuations in arctic ice. Wettlaufer used video clips and slides to explain how the basic principles of science are applied in the arctic. So, what were the main things attendees learned?
1. Earth and climate science is based largely on observation and modeling rather than experimentation.
2. A layer of ice about 2.5 meters thick stays frozen all year round, and this ice is very important for regulating the planet's climate.
3. Ice is important to the earth not only because of sea levels, but because of albedo for reflecting the sun's radiation.
4. Correctly modeling climate is difficult because there are so many different variables.
5. When creating models to predict the future using all of these variables it is important to remember that: Things need to be simple enough that they can be analyzed thoroughly, but complex enough that the results approach reality
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