I am an atmospheric scientist. I study climate change, one of the most pressing issues facing the planet today.
I don’t accept global warming on faith: I crunch the data, I analyze the models, I help engineers and city managers and ecologists quantify the impacts. The data tells us the planet is warming; the science is clear that humans are responsible; the impacts we’re seeing today are already serious; and our future is in our hands. As John Holdren once said, “We basically have three choices: mitigation, adaptation, and suffering. We’re going to do some of each. The question is what the mix is going to be. The more mitigation we do, the less adaptation will be required, and the less suffering there will be.”
I am an associate professor in the Department of Political Science and director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University, part of the Department of Interior’s South-Central Climate Science Center. My research focuses on establishing a scientific basis for assessing the regional to local-scale impacts of climate change on human systems and the natural environment. To this end, I analyze observations, compare future scenarios, evaluate global and regional climate models, build and assess statistical downscaling models, and constantly strive to develop better ways of translating climate projections into information relevant to agriculture, ecosystems, energy, infrastructure, public health, and water resources.
I am also the founder and CEO of ATMOS Research, where we bridge the gap between scientists and stakeholders to provide relevant, state-of-the-art information on how climate change will affect our lives to a broad range of non-profit, industry and government clients. We are currently working with the state of Delaware, the cities of Cambridge and Austin, and Boston Logan Airport to assess the potential impacts of climate change on their infrastructure and future planning.
My work has resulted in over 100 peer-reviewed papers, abstracts, and other publications and many key reports including the U.S. Global Change Research Program’s Second National Climate Assessment; the U.S. National Academy of Science report, Climate Stabilization Targets: Emissions, Concentrations, and Impacts over Decades to Millennia; and the upcoming 2014 Third National Climate Assessment. In addition to these reports, I have led climate impact assessments for a broad cross-section of cities and regions, from Chicago to California and the U.S. Northeast. The findings of these studies have been presented before Congress, highlighted in briefings to state and federal agencies, and used as input to future planning by communities, states, and regions across the country.
I am proud to serve as a scientific advisor to Citizen’s Climate Lobby, the EcoAmerica MomentUS project, the Energy and Enterprise Initiative, the Evangelical Environmental Network, and the International Women’s Earth and Climate Initiative.
I am a member of Climate Voices, a network that brings scientists and their fellow citizens together to engage in meaningful, ongoing dialogue about climate change effects on local communities, regions, and the country.
I also serve on the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s What We Know panel to communicate the “Three Rs” of climate change: Reality, Risk and Response, and their Dialogue on Science, Ethics, and Religion; the American Geophysical Union’s Hydrology Committee on Uncertainty; the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Climate Predictions and Projections team and the NOAA Climate.gov advisory team; and have contributed my research to and served as an expert reviewer for the Nobel Peace Prize-winning Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
Together with my husband Andrew Farley, a professor of applied linguistics and best-selling author of The Naked Gospel, I wrote A Climate for Change: Global Warming Facts for Faith-Based Decisions, a book that untangles the complex science and tackles many long-held misconceptions about global warming.
My work as a climate change evangelist is featured on the documentary series Years of Living Dangerously and The Secret Life of Scientists and Engineers, and in articles appearing in On Earth, Grist, the LA Times, Climate Progress, and others. In 2012 I was honoured to be named one of Christianity Today’s 50 Women to Watch.