environment | October 24, 2012

Climate Scientist Laurence C. Smith Travels to Greenland, Sees It Melting [VIDEO]

Environmental speaker Laurence C. Smith isn't just studying climate change for the benefit of niche researchers interested in learning about the Arctic. Rather, he says that the work he is doing with UCLA on Greenland's melting ice sheets is "important to the world as a whole." This past July, Smith was in Greenland studying the massive melting taking place and documented the extraordinary changes happening to the landscape. For the first time since 1859, Smith has found that 97 per cent of the massive ice sheet in Greenland has begun to melt. To put that into perspective: "if all of that ice were to melt, it would raise sea level by about seven meters—which would wipe Florida off the face of the earth," he says.

To date, it has been hard to tell how much of the melt-water coming off of the ice sheets is making it to the oceans, one of Smith's colleagues says in a video about their research. Smith and his team have been using drone boats (with similar scientific measuring devices to those being used on NASA's Mars Curiosity) to measure how much water is moving toward the ocean, which direction it's moving in, and how fast. It's breakthrough research like this that has led to Smith's prominence in the climate science community. His research and writing on the future of the Northern world is highly regarded not only in scientific circles, but in the broader media as well.

His debut book The World in 2050: Four Forces Shaping Civilizations Northern Future won the Walter P. Kistler Book Award, and he has received tremendous support for his work from both the National Science Foundation and NASA. In other words, when Smith speaks—people listen. In his eye-opening talks, he gives a politically-neutral, objective analysis of our changing planet, and predicts what's to come so we can be better prepared for the future.