Climate change and its contributing factors — join the discussion

climate change iceburg

A talk and discussion exploring the contributing factors to climate change will feature guest speaker William van Wijngaarden, professor and researcher in the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the Faculty of Science at York University.

William van Wijngaarden
William van Wijngaarden

The event, titled “Climate Change: What on Earth is Going On?” takes place Feb. 14 from noon to 1:30pm in the Senior Common Room, 140 McLaughlin College.

The 2014 report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns about record melting of the Arctic ice cap, rising sea levels, ocean acidification and more severe storms caused by increasing atmospheric carbon dioxide produced by fossil fuels. Some scientists express concern about some climate change claims.

This talk discusses how climate is affected by the sun, volcanoes and the atmosphere. Temperature and rainfall observations of the past few hundred years are compared to climate model predictions. Observed changes in sea level, ocean acidity and storm frequency are also presented.

Van Wijngaarden has an impressive record of academic administrative leadership, including chair of the Faculty of Science and Engineering Council (2005-06) and York’s Senate (2010-13), as well as being elected to several leadership positions in the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (2002-08), and positions in the American Physical Society and the Canadian Association of Physicists.

He began research at the University of Windsor, studying the electron impact excitation of SO2. He graduated in 1982 with a BSc in computer science and a separate BSc Honours in physics. He went to Princeton University and obtained an MSc in 1984, followed by a PhD in physics in 1986.

Van Wijngaarden joined the faculty at York University in 1988. He has 75 refereed publications and he has delivered more than 200 conference presentations and invited seminars. He  received the University of Windsor Board of Governor’s Medal in 1982, the 1967 NSERC graduate scholarship, Princeton University’s Joseph Henry Scholarship and a number of large research grants.

For further information, contact Vicky Carnevale at ext. 33824 or

This event is hosted by the Office of the Head of McLaughlin College and the York Collegium for Practical Ethics.