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Climate Researcher Speaking in Relocated CCPO Series

A climate researcher from Rutgers University will visit Old Dominion University on Monday, Feb. 4, to present her findings linking enhanced warming in the Arctic to recent extreme weather over the mid-latitudes of the Northern Hemisphere. Her talk, which is free and open to the public, is part of the Center for Coastal Physical Oceanography (CCPO) Seminar Series.

Jennifer Francis, whose Ph.D. is in atmospheric sciences, believes that Arctic warming can result in the periodic slowing of upper-level winds, which brings persistent, or stalled, weather patterns. Persistent weather is associated with droughts, flooding, cold spells and heat waves.

The CCPO Seminar Series is one of the longest running weekly presentations of its kind on the ODU campus, and for spring 2013 there is a change of venue that is expected to make it even more popular.

Because of construction near the CCPO offices in the Innovation Research Park Building 1 on the eastern edge of campus, the seminar series this semester will move to Room 1202 of the E. V. Williams Engineering and Computational Sciences Building. The new location is near the center of campus and close to most offices, laboratories and classrooms of the College of Sciences.

The lecture by Francis, titled "More Evidence Linking Arctic Amplification with Extreme Weather in Mid-latitudes," will begin at 3:30 p.m. Monday. A reception with refreshments will be held beginning at 3 p.m.

Francis writes in the abstract for her presentation that she will build on analysis of other researchers "in which mechanisms were proposed and demonstrated that link enhanced warming in the Arctic during recent decades with changes in the trajectory of the upper-level flow in mid-latitudes. Evidence suggests Arctic amplification may have contributed to an increase in large-scale wave amplitude and slower upper-level zonal winds, both of which favor more persistent weather patterns in mid-latitudes."

In an interview last year with The New York Times, Francis explained, "This means that whatever weather you have today - be it wet, hot, dry or snowy - is more likely to last longer than it used to. If conditions hang around long enough, the chances increase for an extreme heat wave, drought or cold spell to occur," she said.

From 1980 to 1985 Francis and her husband circumnavigated the world in a sailboat on a trip that included sailing in the Arctic Ocean. That experience sparked her interest in Arctic weather and climate.

Eileen Hofmann, the professor of ocean, earth and atmospheric sciences and CCPO researcher who oversees the Seminar Series, said the lineup this semester will cover topics ranging from oyster restoration, to wind energy, to new approaches to sampling the ocean. "Aspects of several of the topics are relevant to the ODU Climate Change and Sea Level Rise Initiative," Hofmann added.

Visit http://www.ccpo.odu.edu/Seminars/seminars_spring2013.html to learn more about the CCPO Seminar Series for spring 2013.