This July, global temperatures soared to the warmest ever recorded. Ocean surface temperatures hit record highs. Extreme weather-related events are becoming ever more common, seen this spring and summer with the wildfires in Canada and Hawaii, flooding in Vermont, and a tropical storm in Los Angeles dumping almost three inches of rain in one day.
Renowned climate scientist Michael Mann, Presidential Distinguished Professor of Earth and Environmental Science and the Director of Penn’s Center for Science, Sustainability, and the Media, has been following the changing climate for decades, starting with his doctoral work, which focused largely on natural climate variability. In the ’90s, he and colleagues published the now iconic hockey-stick curve, an estimate of how temperatures varied in the past using natural sources like tree rings, corals, and ice cores. His new book, Our Fragile Moment: How Lessons from Earth’s Past Can Help Us Survive the Climate Crisis, publishes at the end of September.
OMNIA spoke with him about this summer’s weather events, how we can move forward in this climate reality, and why he still believes there’s still time for action.