Convention & Visitors Bureau
2440 Pearl Street, Boulder, CO 80302 | 303.442.2911
Glaciers are, paradoxically, the epitome of slow motion, and today, among the fastest-changing parts of the Earth’s natural environment. Glacier and ice sheet changes worldwide indicate the power and speed of environmental change, and foretell human consequences ranging from sea level rise to loss of local and regional water resources. Witnessing these changes first-hand is a privilege few of are granted; with that privilege comes the responsibility to study and understand the processes of change and to report our knowledge accurately and completely.
As a glaciologist, teacher, and photographer, W. Tad Pfeffer has had the opportunity not only to visit and study glaciers around the world, but also to serve as a communicator of our understanding of glaciers and their importance to elected officials, planners and policy makers, and to the general public. This communication sometimes involves only the delivery of technical knowledge, but more often – and most effectively – takes place on several levels simultaneously: technical, social and aesthetic. This combination of quantitative and qualitative, specific and general, “knowledge” and “belief” is a subtle but powerful tool, and the most effective means to tell a story that is complex, unfinished, controversial, and of critical importance to all of us.
About the Speaker:
W. Tad Pfeffer is a glaciologist, geophysicist, and photographer at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He is a Fellow of the University’s Institute of Arctic and Alpine Research and Professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental, and Architectural Engineering. Pfeffer’s research is focused on glacier mechanics and dynamics, and particularly on dynamics of ocean-ending glaciers and glacier contributions to sea level. He has done field research for more than 30 years in glacier regions from Alaska to Antarctica to the summit of Mt. Kilimanjaro. He has served as an advisor to the United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP), the Arctic Monitoring and Assessment Program (AMAP), and is a Lead Author for Chapter 13 (Sea Level Change) in the IPCC Fifth Assessment/Working Group I.