Dr. Henry Pollack

Henry Pollack

"The New Face of the Arctic"

(Wed, Sep 13th, 4:00pm, Holloway Commons)

The Arctic region is experiencing climate change at a pace far faster than the rest of the globe. The summer sea-ice is in rapid decline, the winter sea-ice is also diminishing, the surrounding permafrost is thawing, methane is being released to the atmosphere, and Greenland is melting over much of its surface and shedding ice to the sea at an accelerating pace.  By mid-century we may see an ice-free Arctic Ocean in the summertime for the first time in human history. Such dramatic changes will spur geological and biological resource exploitation, territorial disputes, maritime transportation, tourism, and military activity.

Henry Pollack, Ph. D. 

Professor of Geophysics, Emeritus
Department of Earth & Environmental Sciences
The University of Michigan
"Nature's best thermometer, perhaps its most sensitive and unambiguous indicator of climate change, is ice. When ice gets sufficiently warm, it melts.  Ice asks no questions, presents no arguments, reads no newspapers, listens to no debates. It is not burdened by ideology and carries no political baggage as it crosses the threshold from solid to liquid.  It just melts."

Henry Pollack is a geophysicist at the University of Michigan engaged in research on many aspects of Earth’s changing climate, most recently the dramatic effects of melting polar ice. His early research advanced knowledge of heat flow within Earth's interior and at its surface. Using boreholes in the continental crust to reconstruct ground surface temperatures over the past 500 years, Pollack and his colleagues were able to provide historical context to the dramatic increase in surface temperatures since pre-industrial times. Pollack's research has brought him to the forefront of climate change science, serving on advisory panels for the National Science Foundation, testifying before National Academy of Science and U.S. Senate committees, and providing briefings about climate change to Congress and the White House. He was a Contributor to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Assessment Report that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice-President Al Gore and currently serves as a science advisor to Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project. 

Pollack has worked on seven continents, published widely, and earned a reputation as an excellent writer and public speaker who explains complex scientific ideas simply and clearly to general audiences. He routinely travels to both the Arctic and Antarctica as a guide and naturalist, helping eco-tourists gain first-hand understanding of Earth’s changing climate. These voyages include the pioneering cruises through the Northwest Passage by The World in 2012 and Crystal Serenity in 2016. He is the author of two widely praised books: Uncertain Science, Uncertain World (2003, Cambridge University Press) and A World Without Ice (2009, Avery/Penguin). At the University of Michigan, he developed the popular courses Earthquakes and Volcanoes, Climate and Human History, and The Science and Politics of Global Warming. Video and multimedia productions include PROJECT: ICE and A World Without Ice Installation

Pollack received his A.B. from Cornell University in 1958, an M. S. from the University of Nebraska in 1960, from a Ph.D in 1963 from the University of Michigan. 
Visit this website to learn more about Henry Pollack