Climatologist to deliver 2018 Norman Ford Lecture

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October 5, 2018

Mark Seeley

Mark Seeley

Mark Seeley, professor emeritus at the University of Minnesota and a frequent media contributor, will deliver the 2018 Norman L. Ford Literacy Lecture at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 24 at Pellegrene Auditorium, Saint John’s University.

Seeley will speak on “The Ethics of Scientific Communication and the Challenges to Public Education About Climate Change.” The event is free and open to the public.

He will describe some lessons learned as a University of Minnesota Extension Climatologist covering 40 years.

“Evidence abounds in the scientific literature that climate change is real,” Seeley wrote. “However, there are disparities in the measured signals of climate change (data), as well as uncertainties in the model projections in what climate change will look like.

“Serious consequences have already surfaced and real challenges to adaptation, both with respect to the management of natural resources, as well as the management of societal infrastructure. Localizing the message and finding common ethical grounds are mandatory for civil and meaningful dialogue on this topic,” he concluded.

Seeley is a regular contributor to Minnesota Public Radio’s “Morning Edition.” He has also appeared on Twin Cities Public Television’s “Almanac” program.

A climatologist is someone who focuses on what is happening with the weather today, rather than predicting what will happen tomorrow, which is what a meteorologist would do. “I’m more about measuring and then interpreting what the patterns are,” he told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune in a January article.

He has served as a climatologist/meteorologist, coordinating weather and climate educational services with the National Weather Service, the Minnesota State Climatology Office and various state agencies. Seeley also wrote the “Minnesota Weather Almanac” in 2006 and updated in 2015.

Seeley received his bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of California-Berkeley, his master’s degree in meteorology from Northern Illinois University and a Ph.D. in climatology from the University of Nebraska.

The Ford Lecture Series addresses contemporary and cutting-edge scientific topics while encouraging students and the public to become more conversant with the relevance of science in our everyday lives.

The series is made possible through the generous support of a Saint John’s alumnus who wanted to honor one of his favorite and most inspiring professors.

Ford taught biology at CSB and SJU for 31 years, until his retirement in 1998. A specialist in ornithology (a branch of zoology that concerns the study of birds), he was published widely in his field, and his skill as a professor was recognized in 1998 when he was presented with the Robert L. Spaeth Teacher of Distinction Award.