Our Flooding World


Published on Aug 7, 2014

University of Washington paleontologist Peter Ward is one of the world’s leading experts on the mass extinction events that delineate the geologic record. His thesis that all the mass extinctions (save the one that divides the Cretaceous and Tertiary periods and killed off the dinosaurs) were brought on by rapid climate change much like what we ourselves have initiated has become established science in the last few years. His 2007 book: Under a Green Sky is about how he unearthed the evidence that changed the scientific paradigm ending the debate on what caused the myriad mass extinctions of eons past and gives powerful insight into our likely fate if we are unable to force necessary changes in time.

The writer of 15 books on popular science, Professor Ward does not confine himself to the ivory tower. Neither does he apparently feel comfortable containing himself in one scientific field. He is also a professor of biology and of earth and space sciences and serves as an adjunct professor of zoology and astronomy. His career has included teaching posts and professional connections with Ohio State University, the NASA Astrobiology Institute, the University of Calgary, McMaster University, and the California Institute of Technology. He was elected as a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences in 1984.

Dr. Ward’s broad scientific background and his work in understanding the mechanisms by which climate change destabilized the biosphere leading to mass extinctions in the past puts him on the cutting edge of what we know about global warming.

In this program, Professor Ward turns our attention to sea-level rise and examines the consequences of varying sea-level rises on civilization. He brings this home as he examines some of the effects it will have here in Seattle. His latest book is The Flooded Earth: Our Future in a World Without Ice Caps.

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