Kate Marvel is a climate scientist, science writer, and Associate Research Scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Columbia Engineering’s Department of Applied Physics and Mathematics. She has her own column in Scientific American called “Hot Planet” and is a science communicator who speaks at a variety of events about climate change.
She attended the University of California at Berkeley in 2003 and she received a Bachelor of Arts degree in physics and astronomy. After she graduated from UC Berkeley, she attended the University of Cambridge as a Gates Scholar. She received her Ph.D. in 2008 in theoretical physics. After she received her Ph.D., Marvel decided to concentrate on the effects of climate change on the planet.
She then studied climate science and energy as a Postdoctoral Science Fellow at the Center for International Security and Cooperation at Stanford University and at the Carnegie Institution for Science in the Department of Global Ecology. She then studied at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory as a postdoctoral fellow and then she joined the research faculty at NASA.
Marvel’s research predominately centers on climate modeling. Climate modeling uses mathematical equations to predict how energy and matter will interact in different parts of the planet. Through the use of climate modeling, she investigated the effects of cloud cover on rising temperatures. She has also studied and documented the shifting soil patterns from samples taken from different parts of the world to model the effects greenhouse gas has on patterns of drought.
This study was published in the journal Nature in 2019. Marvel and her colleagues were able to identify three distinct phases of drought. They discovered in the first half of the 20th-century draughts were caused by human intervention, then there was a decrease in drought from 1950 to 1975, and then a rise in drought from 1980 until 2019.
Marvel often has public speaking engagements where she discusses the impact of climate change on the planet. She has made guest appearances on different science shows like StarTalk and BRIC Arts Media TV where she uses her expertise in climate change to encourage others to act.
She gave a TED talk on the main stage at the 2017 TED conference about the double-edged effect clouds can have on global warming. She said, “We still don’t know for sure what the future holds, but we’re sending our kids to the future, and they’re not coming back,” Marvel says. “I want them to be prepared for what they’ll face. This is why it’s so important to keep our Earth-observing satellites up there, and to hire smart, diverse people to improve climate models.”
To see a full list of her scientific publications, please visit her Google Scholar profile here: https://scholar.google.com/citations?user=cC8JXpQAAAAJ&hl=en&oi=ao