UM Rosenstiel School Announces Line Up for 2016 Sea Secrets Lecture Series

The Weather Channel anchor Bryan Norcross kicks off the series with talk on hurricanes

MIAMI—The 2016 Sea Secrets lecture series, presented by the University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science and The Ocean Research and Education Foundation, invites the South Florida community to meet distinguished scientists and explorers to learn more about our blue planet – from unraveling the mysteries of hurricanes and climate change to understanding how killer whales think and feel, and so much more.

Sea Secrets will kick off on Thursday, Jan. 21 with a lecture by Bryan Norcross, senior hurricane specialist at The Weather Channel and the channel’s anchor of national coverage of hurricanes and typhoons. Norcross became nationally known after he “talked South Florida through” Hurricane Andrew in 1992.

The lectures, which run through April 14, are free and open to the public and designed to provide insight and information about our planet to a non-scientific audience. Programs take place in the Rosenstiel School auditorium, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Virginia Key, beginning with a reception at 5:30 p.m., followed by a lecture at 6:00 p.m. Seating is limited and RSVP is requested. Members of the public can RSVP by contacting Carla Lovinsky at: or 305-421-4061.

The 2016 Sea Secrets lecture series is sponsored by The Shepard Broad Foundation, Southern Wine & Spirits, Sheryl Gold, William J. Gallwey, III Esq., and WPBT PBS Channel 2 Miami.

Winners of the UM Rosenstiel School 2016 Underwater Photography Contest will be announced following the April 14 lecture, and winning images will be on display at the Rosenstiel School library.

2016 Sea Secrets Lecture Series schedule:

Brian NorcrossThursday, January 21, 2016 – THE HURRICANE PROBLEM: SUCCESSES AND NOT SO MUCH

Bryan Norcross, Senior Hurricane Specialist at The Weather Channel

Topic: The last time a Category 3 hurricane made landfall in the U.S. there were no smartphones and Facebook was only open to students. Twitter didn’t exist. And according to Moore’s law, computing power was less than a 200th of what it is today. Today’s faster computers have dramatically improved hurricane track forecasts, and we have an unprecedented ability to reach people wherever they are and whenever they want information. But there’s a question whether these advancements have helped or hindered our response to hurricanes. This talk will examine the counteracting forces at work.


Carl Safina, Founder and President of The Safina Center

Topic: Carl Safina spent time working with researchers who’ve spent decades studying particular families of wild elephants, wolves, and killer whales. He got to know these free-living creatures as individuals, along with their children and grandchildren. In this talk he tells us of amazing strategies and judgment calls these actual wild creatures have made to ensure their families’ survival in times of crisis. Safina will explore similarities in our consciousness, self-awareness, empathy, non-verbal communication, imitation, teaching, and a surprising capacity for grief widespread among elephants, wolves, whales, and even certain birds. The main thing that Safina will show is that animals think and feel a lot like people do— because after all, people are animals. He’ll show that their lives and their minds aren’t really too different from ours. They know who their friends are. They know who their enemies are. They have ambitions for status, and their lives follow the arc of a career. Relationships define them, as relationships define us.


Marcia McNutt, Editor-in-Chief at Science Magazine

Topic: Earth’s oceans are absorbing the majority of the CO2 and heat from climate warming. The resulting acidification and warming of the oceans are changing ocean physics, chemistry, and ecosystems in ways that impact the ecosystem services that oceans provide to humans. Risk from rising seas and storms are increasing. Society has several choices in response to climate change: mitigation, adaptation, and intervention. While each of these approaches has its own advantages in terms of costs and effectiveness, they very much differ in terms of their ability to address ocean impacts.


Arash Sharifi, Ph.D. candidate of marine geology and geophysics at the UM Rosenstiel School

Topic: Archaeological and historical records from around the world have documented rise and fall of human societies and early civilizations across the Mesopotamia, Eastern Mediterranean, China and South America.  However the main drivers of the collapse of the great civilization such as Persian Empires, Mayans Civilization and Chinese dynasties remains a matter of debate. Since all of these civilizations directly relied on the natural water resources such as lakes, ponds and underground reservoirs, it would be logical to think that any changes to the availability of resources may have directly impacted the state of these societies. During the hour we will spend together, we will start by talking about how scientists reconstruct climate conditions of the past (paleoclimate) by introducing the tools of the trade and different climate archives. Then we present the results of different research projects conducted at the Rosenstiel School to show how the findings tie the climate variability to the rise and demise of civilizations.


About the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School

The University of Miami is one of the largest private research institutions in the southeastern United States. The University’s mission is to provide quality education, attract and retain outstanding students, support the faculty and their research, and build an endowment for University initiatives. Founded in the 1940’s, the Rosenstiel School of Marine & Atmospheric Science has grown into one of the world’s premier marine and atmospheric research institutions. Offering dynamic interdisciplinary academics, the Rosenstiel School is dedicated to helping communities to better understand the planet, participating in the establishment of environmental policies, and aiding in the improvement of society and quality of life. For more information, visit:

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