Jeremy was born and raised in the heart of the midwest. He started doing improv comedy and playing music in elementary school and hasn't been able to break the habit since. These days he be found mountain biking in Pocahontas State Park or the James River Trail System when he's not at the Science Museum of Virginia.
Jeremy graduated summa cum laude and with Distinction in Geology from Augustana College in Rock Island, Illinois, then earned his Ph.D. in Geology with a focus in Paleoclimatology at Oregon State University as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. He is now at the Science Museum of Virginia as their Climate & Earth Science Specialist, producing climate science educational content like this and this and what you can see below.
Jeremy regularly engages with audiences of all ages and background to explore climate change and how it works on multiple timescales from human (decades) to geologic (millions of years). See Jeremy's research and public speaking experience below.
RESEARCH & PUBLICATIONS
Hoffman, Jeremy S., Clark, P.U., Parnell, A.C., and He, F. (2017), Regional and global sea-surface temperatures during the last interglaciation (Science 355, 6322, pp. 276-279 DOI: 10.1126/science.aai8464). Reprint available HERE.
Listen to the AAAS Science Minute podcast from Bob Gershon featuring this work here.
- What was the last interglacial? The last interglacial was the last time Earth's climate was generally comparable to our preindustrial climate (around 1750 CE): CO2 was about 280 ppm and there were no large ice sheets covering North America. The last interglacial lasted from about 129,000 years ago, when the Earth came out of the second-to-last ice age (called the penultimate glacial maximum or Marine Isotope Stage 6), until about 116,000 years ago, when the Earth began to descend into the most recent ice age (culminating in what is called the last glacial maximum).
- Why is the last interglacial important to me? Many lines of evidence point to global sea level being at least ~20 feet higher than present during the last interglacial (Dutton et al., 2015), but global mean temperatures appear to be about the same as today (McKay et al., 2011). This relationship suggests that Earth's climate experienced a series self-amplifying feedbacks to generate a higher global mean sea level. Can these feedbacks contribute to higher sea levels than we've predicted for future climate change? Tens of millions of people live within ~20 feet of sea level today, so figuring this out is an important contribution to our knowledge of past and future climate changes.
- So what did I do? Using a global database of climate proxies (or natural thermometers left behind by the Earth for us to figure out), I reevaluated global and regional patterns of sea surface temperature during the last interglacial. According to my (yet to be published) results, the global ocean during the last interglacial reached temperatures about 1°C warmer than the preindustrial ocean. This result is significant because human-caused climate change has already warmed the ocean about 0.85°C since 1880 (IPCC, 2013). Basically, we're approaching ocean temperatures not seen by Earth for almost 130,000 years! If the ocean played a role in generating the last interglacial sea-level high stand as is hypothesized by some scientists (see the Dutton et al. paper cited above), we might be committing ourselves to around ~20 feet of sea-level rise in the next century. This risk should play a role in planning for adaptation strategies for coastal communities and cities.
Hoffman, Jeremy S., *Brown, Z.E.I., Clark, P.U., Mix, A.C., Haley, B.A., *de Jesus, E., Andrews, J.T., and He, F. (2016), Deglacial subsurface warming at intermediate depths of the North Atlantic and its relation to Heinrich event 1 (in prep).
*denotes mentored undergraduate research assistants
- What are Heinrich events? Few discoveries have galvanized the paleoclimate research community more so than Heinrich events. Heinrich (1988) related rapidly deposited, quasi-periodic or repeated layers of coarse sands found in ocean sediment cores from the North Atlantic ocean to iceberg discharge events from the major ice sheets during the last ice age. Broecker et al. (1992) coined the term "Heinrich event," and interpreted the layers as being created by "armadas of icebergs" originating from the Laurentide Ice Sheet, a now extinct mountain of ice that sat on top of North America and extended as far south as Des Moines, IA, during the last ice age. Heinrich events thus represent a striking example of a spectacular Earth process where ice sheets that connect to the ocean rapidly disintegrate and produce icebergs at an almost unbelievable scale. What remains to be determined about Heinrich events, however, is exactly how and why they occur.
- Why are Heinrich events important to me? Figuring out the cause of Heinrich events can play a role in how we predict the rates of future sea-level rise, which will redefine the Earth's coastlines. One leading hypothesis for the origin of Heinrich events involves how ocean temperatures interact with and change the stability of the ice itself - and has an analogy with the present-day West Antarctic Ice Sheet. When glaciers flow into the ocean, part of them stays frozen to the seafloor, and the rest extends out over the surface of the ocean like a giant floating ice tongue. These are called ice shelves. If ocean temperatures get warm enough at the place where the ice is still frozen to the seafloor, it sets off a chain reaction that causes the ice shelf to break up catastrophically and any ice behind it to surge into the ocean. Some modern-day ice shelf breakup events in West Antarctica (for example, see the Larsen B ice shelf collapse) can be partially attributed to this process. If Heinrich events are attributable to rising ocean temperatures and their destabilizing effect on ice shelves, how will future warming of the ocean affect similar ice shelves in West Antarctica?
- So what did I do? With the help of two undergraduate research assistants, I explored how a climate proxy of ocean temperature changed over time in two sediment cores from nearby the Hudson Strait outlet, right in the pathway that icebergs would have taken during a Heinrich event. Climate models also predict that these ocean sediment core locations would capture any ocean temperature warming that would affect the frozen base of the ice shelf that formed prior to Heinrich events. Preliminary results suggest that indeed, ocean temperatures increased prior to Heinrich events. These results suggest that continued ocean warming around the base of West Antarctic ice shelves could lead to more catastrophic disintegration events. The scientific community should continue efforts to monitor the ocean temperatures around these floating ice shelves in order to help refine predictions of future sea-level rise.
Hoffman, Jeremy S., Andrews, J.T., Clark, P.U. (2016) Characterizing Late Quaternary Labrador Sea sediments using qXRD and principal component analysis (in prep).
Hoffman, Jeremy S., Carlson, A.E., Winsor, K.,Klinkhammer, G.P., LeGrande, A.N., Andrews, J.T., Strasser, J.C. (2012), Linking the 8.2 ka event with its freshwater forcing in the Labrador Sea, Geophysical Research Letters 39, L18703, doi:10.1029/2012GL053047.
- What was the 8.2 ka event? The 8.2 ka event (8.2 ka = 8,200 years ago) is the most significant large-scale climate change event recorded in Greenland ice cores during the otherwise relatively stable Holocene (the last ~11,000 years). The effects of the climate cooling during the 8.2 event were varied around the Northern hemisphere, including reductions in the Asian, African, and Indian monsoon cycles, loss of precipitation in northern Brazil, and advances of Norwegian glaciers (Rohling and Palike, 2005). These effects are all consistent with an abrupt shift to colder temperatures in the Northern hemisphere. The leading hypothesis for the cause of the 8.2 ka event suggest that the sudden drainage of glacial Lake Agassiz into the Labrador Sea and North Atlantic ocean caused a slowdown in the world's oceanic heat regulator, the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation (AMOC). Some estimates (Li et al., 2012) suggest that this lake drainage contributed as much as ~2 meters (almost 7 feet) of sea-level rise. However, evidence from climate proxies was inconclusive about whether or not the cold & fresh waters of Lake Agassiz actually entered the relatively warmer & salty Labrador Sea - until now.
- Why is the 8.2 ka event important to me? Rapid shifts in climate (on the order of years to decades), termed "abrupt climate change" (National Research Council, 2002) would greatly outpace society's ability to effectively adapt to them. Knowing how such Earth processes work can provide us with "worst-case scenario" estimates of future climate change. Is it likely that in the future a lake the size of Lake Agassiz will form and drain rapidly into the North Atlantic ocean, causing a similar cooling to the 8.2 ka event? Not very. Is there a chance that the cold & fresh water flowing off of the melting Greenland Ice Sheet could disrupt the AMOC in the future? Yes, but it depends on how quickly and how much our global temperature rises.
- So what did I do? Using a climate proxy for surface ocean temperature in the shells of plankton (foraminifera), we show that the fingerprint of the Lake Agassiz drainage was obscured in previous studies by the competing effects of temperature and salinity on the isotopes (or, "flavors") of oxygen in these plankton shells. When plankton form their shells they lock in the chemistry of the ocean in which they are living, including the oxygen isotope ratio of the water. Cold water usually has more of the heavy oxygen isotope, oxygen-18, in it. Melting glacial ice has more of the light oxygen isotope, oxygen-16, in it. Thus, the cold & fresh water in the Lake Agassiz drainage would have been "stealth" chemistry for the plankton shells. By isolating one of the variables in that equation (temperature) we were able to show that surface ocean cooling of around 3°C masked the fingerprint of the glacial Lake Agassiz water in the ocean.
PUBLIC ENGAGEMENT & OUTREACH
- Richmond Environmental Film Festival, expert Q&A guest, documentary "Time To Choose."
- Sierra Club Falls of the James Chapter General Meeting
- Sierra Club Virginia Chapter "Defending not Defunding Science" Public Roundtable
- Longwood University Chichester Colloquium Series
- Virginia Junior Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting, George Jeffers Memorial Lecture
- Virginia Academy of Sciences Annual Meeting, Environmental Sciences Section Invited Speaker
- Science Museum of Virginia public lecture series "Lunch Break Science"
- American Public Gardens Association Annual Education Conference Plenary Speaker
- Citizen's Climate Lobby & Virginia Commonwealth University, panelist for public viewing of "Facing The Surge."
- Hillside Retirement Community (McMinnville, OR) Adventures in Learning Lecture Series, title: "Oregon's climate: past, present, and future."
- Oregon State University Science Communicators Brown Bag Lunch Series, title: "Singing for science: when data aren't enough."
- Oregon State University TRIAD Faculty & Staff Club, presentation title: “Singing for science: when data aren’t enough.”
- University of Leeds (Leeds, England, UK) School of Earth and Environment Department Seminar, title: “Preliminary model-data comparisons for last interglacial sea surface temperatures and its implication for global sea level.”
- Keynote speaker for OMSI/NOAA “Science on a Sphere” (SOS) User Conference “BIG”, Presentation title: “Putting Paleoclimatology in the Public Eye.”
- Community Services Consortium (CSC) Benton County Alternative Youth Program, title: “How do we know that global climate is changing?”
- Science Department, Central Oregon Community College, Bend, OR. Presentation title: “When Climate Goes Wild – Global Climate Changes since the Demise of the Dinosaurs.”
- Department of Environmental Science, Willamette University, Salem, OR. Presentation title: “On the Hunt for Heinrich Events.”
- Geology Club of Southern Utah University, Cedar City, UT. Presentation title: “Linking the 8.2 Kiloyear Cold Event with its freshwater forcing in the Labrador Sea.”
PRESS & SCIENCE CONSULTING
- VCU School of Engineering: "VCU Researchers to Map Richmond's Heat Wave Danger Zones."
- AFAR Magazine: "7 Captivating Destinations Threatened by Climate Change"
- CBS6 WTVR: "Science shows Richmond pollen season more intense than before."
- ABC8 WRIC: "As mosquitos return, so does Zika threat."
- Richmond Times-Dispatch: "Researchers plan to map how heat affects Richmond neighborhoods."
- Richmond Times-Dispatch Discover Richmond: "Science Museum of Virginia climatologist Jeremy Hoffman delves into a hot topic."
- Parliamentary Office of Science and Technology POSTnote363: "Rising Sea Levels"
- University of Colorado-Boulder Inside the Greenhouse Comedy & Climate Change Short Film Competition 3rd Place Winner, http://insidethegreenhouse.colorado.edu/news/winners-announced-comedy-climate-change-video-competition
- Corvallis Advocate feature article about science outreach, http://www.corvallisadvocate.com/2015/oregon-states-jeremy-hoffman-video-goes-viral/
- Featured climate science guest, Extinction Radio Podcast (interview at ~42:00), https://soundcloud.com/xtinctionadioorg/extinction-radio-episode-39-dec-18-2015
- Upworthy.com feature article about science outreach, http://www.upworthy.com/this-hilarious-song-shows-how-frustrated-scientists-can-get-when-you-ignore-climate-change
- Featured Graduate Certification in College and University Teaching (GCCUT) student, Oregon State University Ecampus website, http://ecampus.oregonstate.edu/about/learn-more/students/profiles/jeremy-hoffman.htm
- Climate science consultant, 77th Parallel Productions, documentary: “Greenland’s Glaciers.” Provided climate science information and editorial assistance.
- Featured student interviewee, ScienceMediaNL production “10th Anniversity of Urbino Summer School in Paleoclimatology,” https://goo.gl/ffdS1c
- Featured Graduate School Award Recipient and Interviewee, Oregon State University Graduate School website, http://goo.gl/VrDd4i
- Featured guest, Oregon State University’s 88.7 KBVR radio station program and podcast “Inspiration Dissemination.” This episode was featured on the OSU website. http://goo.gl/5M7iHO
- Featured front page of Quad City Times (Moline, IL) for being awarded the first AGU David E. Lumley Young Environmental Scientist Scholarship http://goo.gl/cPlGF3
- Featured press release about being awarded the first AGU David E. Lumley Young Environmental Scientist Scholarship, https://www.augustana.edu/x33120.xml
COMMUNICATIONS TRAINING & ACADEMIC WORKSHOPS
- National Network for Ocean and Climate Change Interpretation Training, Virginia Institute of Marine Science.
- Selected Representative for Oregon State University, American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Catalyzing Advocacy in Science and Engineering Workshop, Washington, D.C., http://www.aaas.org/page/case-agenda
- Participant, Past Global Changes-Paleoclimate Modeling Intercomparison Project (PAGES-PMIP) Working Group on Quaternary Interglacials Workshop “Warm Period Extremes,” Cambridge University, Cambridge, UK.
- Participant, OMSI Science Communication Fellowship Extensions Workshop: “Preparing for a successful interview about science.”
- Participant, International Geosphere-Biosphere Program/Scientific Committee on Ocean Research (IGBP/SCOR) Working Group 138, Modern Planktic Foraminifera and Ocean Changes Workshop, Wrigley Marine Science Science Center, Catalina Island, CA.
- Participant and presenter, Cultivating Ensembles in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Education and Research (CESTEMER) Workshop, University of California-Berkeley, Berkeley, CA.
- Participant, Massive Open Online Course EdX – “Making Sense of Climate Denial.”
- Participant with Certificate of Proficiency, Sustainable Development Solutions Network Massive Open Online Course – “Climate Change Science and Negotiations.”
- Participant, Past Global Changes (PAGES) Holocene Climate as Context for Future Climate Change Workshop, Mt. Hood Timberline Lodge, Oregon.
- NSF Scholarship Participant, Urbino Summer School in Paleoclimatology, Urbino, Italy.
- Participant, Paleoclimate Modeling Intercomparison Project (PMIP3) Understanding Changes since the Last Glacial Maximum Workshop, OSU Campus.