Mark Brown/University of St. Thomas

In the News: John Abraham Joins PBS NewsHour to Discuss Climate Change Tipping Points

John Abraham, mechanical engineering professor at the University of St. Thomas School of Engineering, was recently interviewed during the PBS NewsHour broadcast. He discussed current conditions of climate change and the role that oceans play in our changing planet.

From the story:

Host: OK, so let’s unpack that, though. On climate change, in particular, as we warm the atmosphere, the oceans do get warmer. We know that that’s a pretty well-documented fact. El Niño, as you mentioned, we’re on the tail end of one of those. That can warm the oceans as well. If you had to put these as a percentage, are we principally talking about climate change here, or how do you apportion blame here?

Abraham: Well, if you want me to quantify the effect – and this is just off the cuff. This is a rough estimate based on my intuition. I’d say it’s about half global warming, and maybe a third of it is El Niño. And then the remainder, maybe 20% or so, is a question mark. And that 20% could be some extra global warming that we hadn’t accounted for, but it could be something else. But the majority of this, and the real reason we’re setting records every year, is global warming. But, as you pointed out, this year is a – the scientific term is bonkers year. This is off the charts. And it’s more than we would have normally expected, even with an El Niño.