Ken Caldeira is a senior member of the Carnegie Institution’s Department of Global Ecology. Dr. Caldeira has a wide spectrum approach to analyzing the world’s climate systems, and his work has brought him to the attention of policy makers and the media. His research focuses on the global carbon cycle; marine biogeochemistry and chemical oceanography, including ocean acidification and the atmosphere/ocean carbon cycle; land cover and climate change; the long-term evolution of climate and geochemical cycles; and energy technology. Caldeira is a lead author of the “State of the Carbon Cycle Report,” a study requested by the U.S. Congress. He was one of two technical advisors accompanying the U.S. government delegation in climate-change negotiations in preparation of the 2005 G8 Summit in Gleneagles, Scotland. In 2005, he was chosen to be coordinating lead author of an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report on carbon storage in the ocean. Between 2002 and 2004, he was a member of the UNESCO International Oceanography Commission CO2 Panel of Experts. Between 2001 and 2004, Dr. Caldeira was a member of the U.S. Carbon Cycle Steering Group, an advisory panel to U.S. agencies involved in carbon-cycle funding. From the early 1990s to 2005, he was with the Energy and Environment Directorate at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. While there, he was awarded the Edward Teller Fellowship (2004), the highest award given by the laboratory. Dr. Caldeira received his B.A. from Rutgers College and both his M.S and Ph.D. in atmospheric sciences at New York University.
Most of the carbon dioxide emissions from burning coal, oil, and gas are ultimately absorbed by the ocean. Carbon dioxide reacts with seawater to form carbonic acid; this acid can dissolve the shells and skeletons of marine organisms. The current trend of increasing carbon dioxide emissions threatens the extinction of many types of marine organisms, including corals, with unknown consequences for marine ecosystems globally. Dr. Caldeira discussed what is known about ocean acidification, the environmental consequences, and actions that could be taken to avoid the risk of environmental catastrophe in our oceans.
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