NASA researcher communicates the climate story

Gavin Schmidt, chief of the NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, recently spoke at FIU.


For Andrea Nodal, a freshman majoring in marine sciences, meeting a NASA climate scientist was the perfect opportunity to learn how scientists and future researchers like herself can better share information about their discoveries with policymakers and the public.

Gavin Schmidt, chief of NASA’s Goddard Institute for Space Studies, spoke recently at FIU. He studies past, present and future climate change and is an expert on communicating climate science to general audiences.

While the environment offers some of the best stories and narratives, Schmidt said many scientists struggle to tell those stories because they don’t start in the right place. He gave his insight on how new knowledge of past climate change can allow people to start at the beginning of the story and gain a better appreciation of where the world is and where it is headed.

“As a scientist, telling these stories is part of the job, but sometimes the message gets lost in translation,” Schmidt said. “Understanding the story will ensure Earth’s climate narrative is shaped by and for all of its characters.”

Schmidt’s talk, “Speaking Science: Communicating the Climate Story,” was part of the Our Common Future lecture series, presented by the School of Environment, Arts and Society and the Donald Blechman Memorial Lecture Series.

The annual lecture series features renowned researchers, scholars and public figures. It strives to increase awareness of environmental issues and inspire public action and engagement on local, national and global scales.

Previous speakers include Joshua Ginsberg, president of the Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies; Annie Griffiths, National Geographic Society photojournalist; and Robert W. Corell, a global climate scientist and now a senior faculty fellow in the School of Environment, Arts and Society.