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Public talk aims to 'warm' skeptics to idea of reducing global CO2 emissions

Prompted by recent newspaper articles claiming global warming doesn't exist or at least isn't very serious, former NASA scientist Thomas Schmugge felt compelled to offer the other side of the story.

Thomas Schmugge, former NASA scientist and current remote sensing specialist for the Physical Sciences Lab at NMSU, will give a public talk on global warming Nov. 11. The event is free and will begin at 7 p.m. in the PSL Auditorium in Anderson Hall.

The NMSU physics department will host the public talk "The Discovery of and Physical Basis for Global Warming" on Nov. 11 which will feature Schmugge, a researcher in the NMSU Physical Sciences Laboratory.

"My purpose is to try to show the scientific basis for the warming," Schmugge said. "I thought it was a good opportunity to present what I think is happening using material from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)."

Schmugge's presentation will focus on the balance of radiation that is necessary for maintaining Earth's life-sustaining temperature. This balance exists between the incoming radiation of the Sun and the outgoing infrared radiation into space.

According to the IPCC report there are three fundamental ways to alter the earth's temperature: Changes in the incoming solar radiation, changes in the fraction of solar radiation that is reflected back into space and changes in the infrared radiation from the earth.

Schmugge specializes in using space observation models for monitoring land surfaces. While his research in satellite observations of terrain isn't specifically on global warming problems, it can, and does, encounter the consequences of them.

Schmugge will show slides during the talk beginning with comparative images and graphs of arctic sea ice, some of which fall under his research, and how it has sustained significant changes throughout the last decade. Results recorded from 1979 to 2000 were marked as average, and those in 2007 show considerably less ice when measured at the end of the summer.

"I want people to get a better understanding of how increased CO2 is affecting our climate," Schmugge said. "It's difficult to reduce the amount of CO2 already in the atmosphere, so we'll need to cut back future emissions."

Schmugge went on to say there is no way to know all of the side effects of global warming yet, specifically noting desert areas with their lower water vapor levels and how they may experience greater effects from the increased CO2.

Schmugge retired from government service with NASA and USDA and came to NMSU as the Gerald Thomas Professor of Natural Resources in the College of Agriculture and Home Economics from 2005 to 2008. Schmugge gave a similar public talk during his time as Gerald Thomas professor. He is currently a remote sensing specialist in the Physical Science Laboratory.

The public talk will take place at 7 p.m. on Nov. 11 in the auditorium of the Physical Sciences Laboratory in Anderson Hall.