Elizabeth McCarthy/MEDILL

Veteran scientist Wallace Broecker says it's time for action on climate change, just as communities of the past had to take action on sewage and trash.

We can't treat atmosphere as a garbage can, warns veteran climate scientist

by Elizabeth McCarthy
Oct 28, 2013

WALLY 2013

Elizabeth McCarthy/MEDILL

Columbia University climate science pioneer Wallace Broecker offered presenters questions and comments at the 2013 Comer Conference in Wisconsin.

Wallace Broecker works at the forefront of climate science, an elder statesman of global research at Columbia University's Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory.

He grew up in Oak Park, earned his Ph.D. in the 1950s at Columbia and won fame in his field of geoscience. He coined the phrase global warming in the 1970s and discovered the conveyor belt of the oceans, a vast circulatory system with profound influence on global climate.

Broecker developed a close relationship with the late Gary Comer, philanthropist and  founder of Lands' End, who provided Broecker and a widespread corps of other scientists with funding for fellowships to mentor climate research. Comer's children Stephanie and Guy carry on that legacy through the Comer Science and Education Foundation.

Broecker helps coordinate the on-going Comer support for continuing and seminal climate research presented each year at the Comer Abrupt Climate Change Conference held in Wisconsin.