As part of our FIND Sloan Grant, we've been awarded a friendly scientist! When Kristin and Jenny were in L.A. last week, they were finally able to meet Wolfgang Buermann, a geologist and assistant professor at UCLA, to discuss FUTURE WEATHER and the scientific issues woven into the story
Wolfgang, a movie-lover himself, enjoyed the intersection of environmental science and activism in FUTURE WEATHER. He has been an environmentalist since witnessing the formation of the Green Party in Germany in his teens (the hot topic then was nuclear power), and this sparked his interest in physics.
Wolfgang's research on carbon sinks and the terrestrial carbon cycle were the perfect foundation for the discussion of Laduree's experiment on comparing two trees' abilities to sequester CO2. He even provided Jenny with allometric equations to calculate the biomass of each tree. Plus, his studies of changing patterns in biodiversity provided an excellent background for discussing Laduree's mission to save the Ohio Pigtoe.
Jenny was a little worried when it came time to review Laduree's predictions for ways that increasing atmospheric CO2 may change our lives in the coming decades, but according to Wolfgang, her predictions were all scientifically sound. Yikes!
Wolfgang's field work has brought him all over the U.S., Finland, Sweden, and southern Africa (among other places) to research how current patterns of biodiversity are linked to contemporary environmental gradients and historical processes. Considering the fact that he's studied terrestrial hot spots around the world and performed postdoctoral research under a recognized pioneer in the field of climate research and carbon cycles, we think it's safe to assume he knows what he's talking about.
With his knowledge of topics that are at the forefront of current environmental issues, and the help he has already offered our film (after just one meeting!), we are grateful to welcome Dr. Buermann to our team.