STEM Café to host ‘Tumultuous Temperatures: Winter Bites Again’

Campus snowball fun – Winter 2013Last year’s polar vortex caused some of the most severe winter weather Illinois has seen in the past 50 years, and the recent cold snap has everyone wondering what this winter will bring.

Is the polar vortex part of global warming or proof that it doesn’t exist?

STEM Café invites you to find out at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 17.

The December STEM Café – “Tumultuous Temperatures: Winter Bites Again” – will be held at O’Leary’s Restaurant and Pub, 260 E. Lincoln Hwy. This month’s speaker is climatologist David Changnon, NIU professor of geography.

Changnon grew up in central Illinois and first became interested in weather and climate in high school.

“Illinois experienced three consecutive extremely cold and snowy winters, which included a large number of snow and ice storms as well as arctic outbreaks,” Changnon says.

Such harsh winters opened his eyes to the socio-economic impacts of weather, he adds.

“I became interested in how unusual weather and climate anomalies impact weather-sensitive sectors like agriculture, energy, transportation, insurance and recreation,” Changnon says. “I want people to understand that there are direct and indirect costs related to these kinds of anomalies.”

David Changnon
David Changnon

Changnon says that his talk will focus on the winter of 2013/14. He plans to describe just how unusual that winter was from a meteorological and climatological point of view.

He will also address global warming and answer the question that he and other climatologists get asked frequently: “Should we expect these types of climate anomalies as our planet experiences global climate change?”

This talk is part of NIU STEM Outreach’s popular monthly STEM Café events, which invite people to meet at restaurants throughout the area to eat, drink and have lively discussions about the latest innovations in science, technology, engineering and math.

STEM Cafés are free and open to the public. Food and drinks will be available for purchase from O’Leary’s.

For more information, call (815) 753-4751 or email jdymond@niu.edu.

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