What would you ask a climate scientist?

October 21, 2011 | 2:43 pm | , Science and Solutions Director

Source: NASA

There’s a lapel pin on my office bulletin board that says “climate wonk.” I try not to give that wonk full rein, but allow me — if you will — to geek out for a minute.

Next week, I get to hang out in Denver with both rock stars and up-and-comers of the climate science world at the World Climate Research Programme Conference. Speakers will cover topics from extreme weather, to sea ice, to the impacts of climate change on human health.

There also will be an ongoing display of true, healthy climate skepticism: Not a wholesale denial of science for political reasons or economic gain, but public exchanges between scientists who may not agree with each other about aspects of data collection or interpretation. For instance, participants are encouraged to read these position papers and come to the conference prepared to discuss them. Note that these aren’t back-to-basics, “is carbon dioxide causing climate change” kind of conversations. They are advanced debates that build on the knowledge accumulated by previous generations of scientists.

I’ll be tweeting and blogging from the conference, so check back next week for updates. In the meantime, however, I’d love to give you a chance to exercise your own internal climate wonk. If you were able to spend 10 or 20 minutes with a climate scientist, what you ask that person? Leave a comment and I’ll try to get some of those questions answered next week.