Dr. Robert Kaufmann

Dr. Robert Kaufmann

Ph.D. 1988, University of Pennsylvania
Professor, Center for Energy and Environmental Studies, Department of Geography, Boston University


My research focuses on four areas: global climate change, world oil markets, the global carbon cycle, and land-use changes. Research on global climate change includes topics such as: is climate changing and how will changes in climate affect human well-being? I use recent advances in time series techniques to attribute changes in global temperature to human activity.

My research on world oil markets combines the geological, engineering, and economic determinants of oil supply, oil demand, and oil prices. These techniques have allow me to explain why US oil production fell even as prices increased, why oil prices are so high, and whether increases in income will increase or decrease oil demand. Recently, I focus attention on the coming transition from conventional crude oil.

My research of the global carbon cycle focuses on efforts to identify locations where plants are increasing their uptake of carbon. I have pursued this research using a combination of satellite data, date on tree rings, and ground based measures of temperature and precipitation. Using this information, I am sorting the effects of early springs, later falls, and "greener summers" on the atmospheric concentration of carbon dioxide.

Finally, research also focuses on the relationship between socioeconomic development and land use change. To do so, I have developed ways of linking satellite images to ground based measures of economic activity. I have applied these techniques to economic development in the Pearl River Delta of China and the increasing production of soybeans in the Brazilian Amazon.

Title of Talk: Climate Change for Beginners

Climate vs Weather
Heat balance of planet Earth
Human do humans affect radiative forcing?
Detection: Is climate changing?
Attribution: Are humans responsible for higher global temperatures?
Climate models: How, where, and how much will climate change?
Climate change impacts on the environment and economy
The Policy debate

Climate Change (PowerPoint 5.9MB Jul10 07)

Dr. Kaufmann's home page at Boston University

Dr. Robert Kaufmann and Dr. Cutler Cleveland have authored an introductory environmental science textbook published by McGraw Hill. Click the book for more information.

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change

Reports from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change