CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In West Virginia, a mention of the phrase "climate change" is likely to prompt attacks on the Obama administration, harsh criticism of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and claims from the mining industry about a "war on coal."
Next month, two state natives who are top climate change researchers will try their best to bring some actual science to the table for a different sort of climate change discussion.
The husband-and-wife team of Lonnie Thompson and Ellen Mosley-Thompson are scheduled to deliver a public lecture, "Climate Change: The Evidence, People and Our Options." The event is scheduled for 6 to 7:30 p.m. March 10 at the Clay Center.
Mosley-Thompson said the couple hopes to provide their Charleston audience with enough information that they understand the science, but not so much that those who attend become confused or lost in the details.
"I just want to give people some of the basics," said Mosley-Thompson, who has led nine expeditions to Antarctica and six to Greenland to retrieve ice cores. "I would like people to realize that as humans, we're part of a bigger, complex system."
The Kanawha Garden Club put together next month's event.
"The goal of inviting the Thompsons to do this lecture is not intended to be a political one, but the presentation of their actual scientific research from which people can ponder the evidence and arrive at their own conclusions," said Judy McJunkin, chairwoman of the club's conservation committee.
The event is free to the public, but tickets are required and can be reserved by calling 304-561-3570 or visiting www.theclaycenter.org.
Lonnie Thompson, a Gassaway native, and his wife both graduated from Marshall University. Together they lead the internationally famous ice core paleo-climatology unit at Ohio State University's Byrd Polar Research Center, where scientists work to reconstruct past climate by studying chemical records preserved in ice cores around the globe.
Thompson has done 58 expeditions in 16 countries, pulling ice core samples from glaciers and ice sheets, looking for clues to help advance the world's understanding of climate change.