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Past presentations

The Trials of Joan of Arc

During this Food for Thought presentation, Provost Professor Winnifred Fallers Sullivan discussed Joan of Arc’s story and what it tells us about the relationship of religion, law, and politics.

Description of the video:

[Music] do now the flames they followed joan of arc [Applause] as she came riding through the dark no moon to keep her armor bright

no man to get her through this very smoky night

she said i'm tired of the war

i want the kind of work i had before a wedding dress or something white to wear upon my

la la la la

la la la la la

well i'm glad to hear you talk this way you know i've watched you riding every day

and something in me yearns to win [Music]

and who are you she sternly spoke to the one beneath the smoke

why i'm fired replied and i love your solitude i love your pride


me [Music] then fire make your body cold [Music] i'm gonna give you mine to [Music]


and deep into his fiery heart


[Music] he hung the ashes of her wedding dress [Music]



it was deep into his fiery heart

he took the dust of jonah [Music] and then she clearly understood if he was more than she must be i saw her wince i saw her cry i saw the glory in her eye

myself i long for love and light

but must have come so cruel and oh so bright


[Music] oh


good evening on behalf of the indiana university college of arts and sciences i would like to thank you for joining us tonight i'm vanessa khloe and i serve as the college's director of alumni relations as part of the college's special programming for celebrating alumni contributions 200 plus years of impact initiative our food for thought live streaming series serves as an opportunity for our alumni and friends to hear from faculty experts explore topics of interest and stay connected with our u and the college of arts and sciences during a time when we are unable to easily connect in person i'm delighted to to introduce tonight's featured speaker provost professor winifred fowler sullivan from the department of religious studies a prolific author professor sullivan's research examines the complex and cultural phenomena that both generates law and is regulated by law in addition to her work with the department of religious studies she is also an affiliated professor of law with the i.u maurer school of law and directs the center for religion in the human following her presentation professor sullivan will be joined by professor and religious studies chairperson constance fury as they discuss the principles behind their joan of art course professor fury is an award-winning teacher and a scholar of renaissance and reformation christianity with a particular interest in the emergence of new types of religious and intellectual communities and theoretical questions of relationality and intersubjectivity afterwards they will participate in an audience q a session you can submit your questions at any point during this evening's discussion simply click on the questions tab located in your webinar toolbar hover your mouse over your screen and your toolbar should appear now it is my pleasure to welcome professor winifred sullivan thank you vanessa and good evening to everyone um vanessa told me that there are more than 200 registrants for this event um i want to say very emphatically that is because of joan not because of me that is one more piece of evidence for her remarkable charisma so as vanessa mentioned my friend and colleague constance fury and i are co-teaching a course on joan of arc during this week's this year's three-week interim online pandemic session in january and we look forward to helping students to understand how joan is both a person of her time and place in early modern france and a person who reaches across history to speak to us today so i will tell you remind you of her story and talk a little bit about my interest in joan and then talk with constance about that but let me first show you some images some familiar uh and some perhaps less so so this first image here this is the only image we have of joan um from her time it's actually a doodle in the margin of a chronicle uh by someone who never saw her uh which will be what he has in common with everyone else who uh tries to imagine joan we have no idea what she looked like but let me show you some of the images uh here she is um a village church in northern england

in notre dame cathedral in paris

in riverside on riverside drive in new york city

here is a british suffragette dressed as joan and here marine le pen the leader of the national front in france uh in front of an image of joan

here we have the archangel michael giving joan her charge from classics comics and joan as the heroine of a recently invented video game

here she is as imagined by alexander mcqueen the british fashion designer

and finally this is a doll a refrigerator magnet of joan given to me by a student are many many more across the world joan of arc is everywhere in public parks in comic books in movies plays video games on the runway who was she why did she die was she killed by the church or the state was she killed because she refused the church's judgment that the voices she heard were from the devil or was she killed just because she legitimated charles's claim to the french throne over that of the english king henry vi and why should we care at a time when we are having difficulty ourselves disentangling religion and politics joan's story speaks powerfully of the predicament of the individual caught in between but also importantly of whether we any more than her judges can see otherwise worlds alternatives to the politics in front of us so let me remind you of her story almost 600 years ago in february of 1429 a young woman appeared in the court of charles of balwa one of the pretenders to the french throne it was toward the end of what would come to be called the hundred years war between france and england and france itself was in the middle of a protracted civil war what we call france today was then divided among at least five governments there were rival claimants to the french throne and rival claimants to the papacy when joan left her home in domer me in loren contested territory she probably knew the civil war in her village as a child more than 300 miles away from where charles's court was when she left to travel to the loire valley the english and their burgundian allies held the northern part of present-day france north of the loire river while the armagnacs the supporters of charles held most of the south that's the part in green so you can see here domrami which is joan's hometown here so she traveled across france to the loire valley to meet with charles then the pretender to the throne when she arrived in china at the court joan told the young prince that she had heard voices from god telling her that she should start wearing men's clothes obtain an army and lead an attempt to raise the english siege of the nearby town of orleans on the analog river charles apparently believed her story after the subsequent victory at orleang then charles and joan fought their way north through burgundian territory as you see through the purple uh light purple there uh to the ancient cathedra cathedral city of rams where just five months after jones arrival in court in the midst of a stalemate really a paralysis of the of the force french forces charles was consecrated king of france

after the consecration charles wanted to make peace with the burgundians and he began to pursue peace negotiations although the war continued

but joan wanted to go ahead and take paris and from the english and force the english out of france she was captured outside paris in may of the following year by burgundian soldiers who sold her to the english for ten thousand pounds verily a king's ransom she was a prize prisoner because of her threat to the claim of the english king she was taken to their french headquarters in rule where she was tried for heresy and for war crimes after a lengthy trial during which she was examined by more than 40 theologians mostly from the university of paris she was convicted and burned at the stake in july of 1431.

the rue trial importantly was not her first trial she was a much tried young woman before she left dom remy she had been called before a magistrate for breach of promise we don't know much about that trial except that she refused to marry the young man her family had chosen for her because she had made a religious vow to remain virgin as a young girl when she arrived at charles's court he had her examined both by women of the court to determine that she was in fact a virgin and by theologians to determine whether she indeed was sent by god they were all apparently satisfied and the record of that exam examination although it is lost to us is referred to in many sources that would be the second trial of joan the trial that condemned her to the fire was the third and not the last 25 years after her death when charles had finally secured france and the english had gone home to deal with their own problems a trial was held to review the legality of the trial of condemnation many of those who knew her as a child and those who fought with her testified and that court found the earlier trial to have been irregular and voided its judgment rather too late for joan of course but it comforted her family and friends finally in 1920 a trial was held at the vatican in rome to determine whether she should be canonized as a saint of the catholic church so we know joan very much through legal documents and legal process in all of these places we get glimpses of her as well of course as in poems and chronicles and letters written during her life but it is in the trial of condemnation of which we have a very full record that we think we hear and see her

asked by her judges to put on women's dress she said no she was more comfortable in men's clothes asked to swear an oath she replied that she they had not yet told her what she was charged with asked whether the saints who appeared to her have clothes she asks them whether they think god cannot afford clothes for them

we thrill to her defiance she is a way ahead of them always

and it was not just the oath she demanded her right to be guarded not by english soldiers but by nuns as a woman prisoner she demanded an appeal to the pope of which she had a right although it was never granted

she is really seems to step out from the pages of the trial but what motivated her what gave her the strength to speak back to these men more than 40 judges was she a crazy visionary enthrall to the prompting of imagined saints was she just a front for charles's propaganda machine as some have argued in the powerful images that have been made of her some of which i've shown you but i will show you some more now

she most often comes to us alone

alone on her father's farm when she first hears her voices alone leading the army alone before the coat court and of course alone at the stake these images are from a popular french children's book about her so i too am writing a book about joan

there are libraries full of such books

one of the things i want to argue is that we do her a disservice if we imagine her as a lone figure a lone heroic figure without a mind without a politics what if instead of seeing her as george bernard shaw did as an essentially modern woman we imagine her strength as collective as coming from a community what if we imagine her as the leader of another france not the france of char of charles and not the france of the church and not the france of henry what if we imagine her as a leader a leader one that gathered around her as she summoned her country to imagine themselves together beyond war beyond corruption one that saw her temporarily as la defrance when she arrived in a town people crowded around her we have many accounts of this the soldiers who fought with her respected and admired admired her and sought her advice

from whence came her authority with these people what was her political project her authority came from her mystical communion with her saints her intelligent understanding of the political situation and her integrity but it may also be understood to have come from an alternative religious and political history one as i say beyond the church and the state one that has been explored and invoked by the great italian historian carlo ginsberg in many books he has argued that there is evidence of a persistent and widespread peasant resistance to the institutional oppression of the church and the monarchy in early modern europe christine de pisan a writer of jones time who lived in paris wrote a poem about her just after the raising of the siege of berlion in it she recalled that merlin prophesied half a millennium earlier that a young woman would come from loren to save france this story is a part of what historian francoise meltzer calls the celtic tradition of french origins an alternative to both the right wing catholic royalists and the revolutionary secularists that tradition is evident also in the questions that jones judges asked her about the fairy tree that young girls danced around in her home village they were suggesting that she participated in pagan religious practices and she easily parried their questions seeing the trap saying that such things were childish but are they also evidence that joan could be seen to belong to an older and longer tradition than that of either the french state or the french church and that her appeal to uh then and now lies beyond both

this is not an uncomplicated argument pre-christian europe has been enlisted in service of much that is unsavory but revisiting these histories may help us to see joan as an interestingly complicated political figure not just as an action figure one who might help us us to a different political theology during the so-called arab spring of 2011 in the demonstrations in tahrir square in cairo a young woman held up a sign saying i am woman i am egypt when i saw that photo i thought of joan

i thought of another people imagining an alternative politics one struggling to be born

there is much more

to say about joan and many many more pictures and poems and plays and movies and operas and pop songs leonard cohen wrote the long ballad that you heard at the opening of our program

maybe we should just let her be but somehow we can't thank you for listening now we're going to the second part of our program here and turn to my colleague constance fury for her perspective as an early modern historian

thank you so much winnie uh that was really fascinating and i always love hearing you talk about joan i also want to thank vanessa for the occasion of being here and all of you for being here with us um as when he mentioned early on or maybe vanessa mentioned in the introduction when he and i are teaching a class in the intersession this wonderful one of the you know many uh small good things that have come out of this very horrible bad thing of the pandemic that the our changing calendar has meant this opportunity to do some experimental classes in this small three-week intercession and we're planning to do one a one credit class it was so exciting to have an opportunity for the two of us to think together in a classroom with students and we are grateful to have this early moment to do that here with you all as well um so i what we're going to do is spend maybe 10 minutes doing a little bit of back and forth just talking about joan and then opening it up for questions so you should certainly feel free to answer some questions now i won't be looking at them as we talk initially here but um after about 10 minutes i'll say we'll now open it for questions and i'll i'll do what i can to review the questions that are there and to um and to ask them several of them in the time that we have remaining so when you have a struck early on you said in your talk you said we know joan through legal documents and you are of course a lawyer as well as a scholar of religion you have a jd and a phd so we might expect that you know joan primarily through legal documents and that made me wonder how did you first know joan how did you first come to know joan well it's interesting you know um when i ask other people this question um people tend to say uh i've always known about joan um it's remarkable my own first um what i remember is that when i was in high school uh we did our senior play about john uh it's the lark and i also worked in a professional summer theater where we did george bernard shaw's uh play of joan of arc so i guess i first was introduced to her through the theater um and then after i met my husband i learned about the joan of the catholic church so he grew up in a francophone part of massachusetts where he went to a french school that was taught by the sisters of joan of arc so but but the first time i really seriously looked at the record of the trial was when i taught a course at in the law school at the university of buffalo to law students about her trial it's finding trying to find ways to introduce law students to law and religion outside of the american constitutional context because we tend to think about law and religion really through the first amendment so i was trying to expand our repertoire a bit and how what was that like teaching joe to law students and and did they was it of course i mean i i would imagine i have never been to law school but i would imagine it would strike them as very curious the idea that they'd be learning about something that isn't in sort of modern histories and modern courts isn't part of a modern legal system did did were they was it an optional course that they signed up and what did they make of it um well yes of course it was an optional course yes um and i but i was lucky to have um a law student who had a masters in medieval history so he was a fantastic ally for me in uh helping the students to uh you know get enough up to speed on france in the 15th century i think that law students american law students are simply amazed that

that courts in the 15th century um had due process that joan had rights that found that astounding they would regard first of all any trial that was a religious trial as highly suspect and couldn't possibly be about justice but particularly the inquisition that this was the inquisition and yet she talked about rights in a very modern way which is what appealed so much to george bernard shaw yeah and i think about how there's um how joan is you know because of you saying how is it that we come to know joan and most people can't remember how they came to know joan i i realize i don't know either but someone once gave me a a great old poster of catherine hepburn as jonah mark right catherine hepburn played joan of arc so i realized oh the theatrical model and that of course especially in the modern um context at least as i knew it for those kind of movies catherine hepburn and then through to the you know three or four more that came after that it's always the heroic woman right the feminist before her time the proto-feminist and and a great model for any woman any girl looking for a strong woman in the past um strong female models but then i had the opportunity um my husband actually played for the silent film um about a famous um silent film about john of arc where the really the what's so upsetting there is the way in which she's um are startling for those of us who aren't used to it the way she weeps all the time and then and then of course the horrible uh execution at the end and the burning of her so that juxtaposition really struck me the ways in which she's seen as so strong and yet also um so compelling as a site of of of terror and horror and the ways in which male authority triumphs over her and i wonder if that gender dynamic how you've had how you've worked with that gender dynamic in terms of how you teach joan how you thought about joan

you know there's um i've become more and more cautious about um

using joan for our purposes although um that that that's what you see in in so many places and maybe i'm doing that too um i think that um one of the hardest parts of joan's story for modern to understand is her devotion to her voices um her voices are so hard to explain in fact many of the students that i teach at iu about joan don't have a very clear idea that she actually about the voices they kind of uh you know sort of blur that part of her but i think it's a tremendously important aspect of her strength and her ability just kind of hold it together in front of the court because she has and she protects very fiercely her secret life with the voices and that gives her a kind of strength i think um i should also say in terms of the gender of course is the clothes

right exactly that she's cross-dressed she's the cross-dresser or or that you would eat right but not ever concealing not ever it's never meant to be a concealment she doesn't try to pass um there are as you know even better than i do there's many stories of of medieval women who who transvestite saints is a very it's a lot and that made me think about that question that older and longer tradition that you're talking about and one of the things i'm learning um from you and thinking about so when as someone who teaches medieval christianity often and early modern christianity i'm often i mean there is a long tradition of women visionary women mystic women i mean not all mystics were women but a lot of women we know about whose writings remain uh with us who became saints uh or para themed heretics were um became notable because they were mystics and in fact in my medieval christianity class i i teach that there are sort of three prominent forms of authority in christianity uh through the middle ages and one is intellectual authority and another and that's sort of claimed by theologians because of their and so therefore mostly men though not only men um uh because usually it has to do with learning and having access to universities once the universities emerge and or monasteries and then two is institutional authority and that's certainly in the uh stan in the um european catholic church was a male only institutional hierarchical authority but then third is spiritual authority and women had a lot of access to spiritual authority and i wonder whether you think thinking about joan as having spiritual authority i i guess it's a question both about the distinctiveness of joan and the tradition you want to link her to like is there a way that you see her as in the lineage of women claiming spiritual authority through their relationship to god or and or is there something distinctive about the kind of authority you see her claiming or is authority even your primary question when you think about joan

so um it's always so tempting to say that john stands alone you know um i i don't know how but it's important that this is a time of huge social uh unrest upheaval division in france i think it's really important to realize that and she was not the only visionary appearing in court um charles and both men and women itinerant visionaries mystics prophets france was kind of littered with them right in the 15th century everybody's trying to what what i think the way in which um such a little different than your women mystics i think um who uh through their uh religious experience or their connection with god or with uh claim and authority that is separate from the male realms of the university and the church and the court um i think one of the things that's so appealing about joan is that she does seem to sort of be a crossover figure um in the sense that i and i i really would like to see her almost as a political theologian as a as a thinker not just as a feeler the way you know women often are and that that she was a kind of political genius um that she knew that frank she had to get charles two rams and consecrated in rams because that's where clovis had been consecrated you know uh 800 years earlier or more um so uh so i think that one one way i think about this is that she kept her um spiritual experience or mystical experience if you like secret um almost occulted in a way to separate religion and politics so that it gave her that's not how i thought that sentence was going to end so she kept it sort of secret to separate religion and politics yes so i think you can see her in a way as gaining strength and uh and authority because you know her companions thought of her as called by god and having the authority of god but she refused to talk about the details of it okay that actually is a perfect segue to one of the questions i'm going to take from the q a and so i want to remind others you're welcome to ask questions now as well and i'm going to start us off because i think this is perfectly ties to what you were just saying which is a question about um how to think about joan's silence during the trial and the ways that she speaks during theatrical production so the voice she's given in these kind of more you know dramatic uh examples but also the dramatic um context but but the silence that we know was notable or that you maybe you could tell us a little bit more was notably part of her trial uh she speaks to the voices but doesn't feel the need to speak to the court and so thinking about what is she what is as you just said occluding i think you said how is silence part of that so for sure she uh she refused to speak a lot um so she not only sort of sassed her judges which everybody likes but she also refused to speak a lot and it's difficult to completely understand that but there have been various theories one her judges were and you know much more than i knew about this were trained scholastically and they they asked her questions which asked for a kind of you know binary bifurcated kind of scholastic kind of answer and you see her trying to find a way to sort of not succumb to their world view in a sense and so i think she uses you could see her sort of using the silence between the judges coercively it's not simply um a refusal it's a strategic refusal in which sometimes frustrates them but sometimes also pulls pulls the court toward her [Music] uh right say about that right and so for you that i mean this seems as though you're saying too and i'm of course interested in others asking more questions about this way of the way that you think with joan about the relationship between politics and religion or the possibility of dividing them but or distinguishing them or how we might distinguish them as we imagine a world otherwise as i think you said uh early on um but the way that you were just saying so that there's a sense that you're seeing this as a kind of the genius also of her ability to handle um the cards she was dealt basically in this court context to play with the cards she was dealt i guess but also that that is part of the things that she wouldn't speak about partly my name distinctions she was trying to draw is that a fair way to say what you're saying distinction she was trying to draw between the kind of the privacy or i know that's an anachronistic obviously but um what it is that she might be in the realm of her relationship to god and the voices and what it is that was being asked of her and what she was then called on to speak of in court yeah i think it is that um i mean one of the puzzles about joan is that although she was tried as a heretic she was a outwardly totally conventional pious catholic totally conventional she did not have any um heretical ideas she um she asked constantly to be allowed to go to mass she talked about a very pious upbringing she said her prayers so outwardly she was an entire i mean in her public life she would entirely conventional and pious woman um so um you might see that as as another way of sort of enabling her political life in other words what's what's bold is her political life not her religious life so her the the the religious life that's occulted that secret and that she kept keeps cigarette refuses to talk about she will not tell the judges what she and the voices talk about right yeah okay right um all right so i wanted there's a couple of questions about the politics and then a couple of questions about religion i'm trying to think of the right order to do these and maybe maybe the next one that would um could fit here is the one about joan's social background i think this goes to the ways in which you're claiming both how conventional she is in her religiosity uh but also thinking about her as a thinker uh thinking about her as connected to possibly a long tradition of as you invoked ginsburg as saying a kind of peasant religiosity so this person asked specifically about um she's mythologized as an innocent peasant girl but is this accurate is there other recent research into her origins or education her social media that might help us think about how to understand her social background yeah thank you for that question i think that's really important to clarify um so her father was an important farmer he participated in the administration of the local town so she was she was not poor and she was probably illiterate although i think that's also something we have to think carefully about she's obviously highly intelligent and how we understand the intelligence of women like her in an oral culture i think is something that um is important to she's seen for example um she wrote letters probably she dictated them but she wrote letters uh lots of letters um she wrote letters to the the leaders of the town she was about to um you know capture but she uh but she wrote letters lots and lots of letters um so uh so so yes i think uh calling her an ignorant peasant girl is a way to not listen to her really and to make her into an uh a com just an icon or a figurehead yeah right um okay another one one last question about the politics um what someone was asking about the as this question starts by saying france in the 15th century was in total political chaos and then there's more details here the english occupying large area is the land mass henry the fifth gun henry vi is king um so was she a person with local french popularity who charles tied his star to to justify his claim to the french throne uh and um the idea then how to think about how sort of parochial in some sense french politics was that how sort of small these distances are only a few kilometers separating places and then also the question goes on to ask about a part that i might have to speak to and i'm not so sure i'm um up for it but the what about the avignon papacy and the church split so do you want to any part of that chaos total political chaos uh dissent within the uh splits within the church that all of that

yes so um total political chaos um you know i i hope i have made clear i'm just you know i'm just an american lawyer i am not a historian of medieval france and i i would guess that my questioner knows more about this than i do um

i think so she was asked about the split in the papacy actually that was one of um and and one of the ways they tried to trip her up was to see if they could and she was always completely on to these kinds of questions they wanted her to take it aside in order for them to then use that in their argument against her um

uh as far as

you know the more i learn about the period one of the things i'm really working on right now to understand better is the period between the consecration of charles and her capture and it's incredibly complicated the number of negotiations individual towns changing sides between the burgundians and charles and um and the uh sort of alliances the sort of negotiations diplomatic little skirmishes all around uh between the loire valley and paris and there's of course english politics everybody can learn about that from shakespeare who didn't have a very high opinion of of joan um it's it's really complicated um it is in a sense very parochial i do think that maybe the quest one thing that the questioner might be getting at here is there is no france at this point you know uh marine le pen wants joan to stand for a xenophobic france today but there was no france then there's henry vi of england had an equal client dynastic claim to charles um to the french throne there is no reason why i mean

you know some people will believe that it's because of joan that that alone um but but things could have gone very difficult differently and and that sort of mess that the the questioner asked about could have ended up in very different national configurations although charles turned out to be a better king than most people give him credit for right so you do have some opinions on how the on the politics of the time um yes and i think that i mean just as a moment to think a bit about the ways in which uh the church the split within the church and the competing claims papal claims of authority uh both are a great reminder that there was no singular uninterrupted sort of sense of apostolic succession or at least it was often contested and certainly most dramatically at this time at some point uh the papacy wasn't even always in rome which is always which is itself kind of a shocking thing but i always think when i teach medieval christianity there's that moment where charlemagne is crowned by the pope and i ask people um so there's two parts to that scene right charlemagne kneels or at least as it's depicted uh and the pope puts the crown on his head and then the emperor charlemagne stands so who has more power right you know there's this moment where he has orchestrated such that then the papacy is the one standing over him with the ability to put the crown on his head and he then stands with that authority um and uh you know certainly standing alongside the papacy and that's one way to attract all the different uh the ways in which that particular kind of um competition for uh power played out but never just between two you know just between two stable entities papacy and king or papacy and emperor because that's sort of the part of the story so there's a lot of dynamic movement and room for people like joan to appear uh and become part of this um play of authority which can that's one of the reasons i'm interested in your thought thinking about how to how both she sequesters her religiosity but also how we might sequester or delineate or differentiate her religiosity from her politics and you then go on to say that she's a political theologian at one point it's i think that's a locution a lot of people won't have heard of um it depends you know that's something people use a lot now in religious studies in another context but maybe you can explain what you mean by political theologian but also how you think joan might help us think about that and that ties to a question that was asked um here about uh when uh imagining a world otherwise could you say more about joan as gesturing to a political theology beyond church and state and how how are you thinking about that in terms of political theology yeah i mean maybe one thing i would say is that uh just following on what you were saying that remembering that she's from dormer me right so she's from uh loren she's from the edge of of french territory at that point so there's um there's a way in which she can be imagined as participating in some political you know political communities far from paris and far from the sort of consolidation of royal power um in paris and with with the with the english crown um so so so uh in imagining you know her appeal and her ability to think politics alternatively um

political theology is is in some senses kind of a loaded term today but i i want to use this with a small p and a small t just to say that um

to gesture beyond a kind of hard secularism in which we pretend that political life has no religious aspects and that theories of the the ends of politics are entirely secular political theology is just for my from my point of view a way to say how do we think uh religion and politics together um and what ways are there to think them together and i and i want to suggest that um that joan is um doing a com possibly this is a bit speculative at this point i'm at the beginning of this project is um putting together um an alternative sense of community that comes out of this uh long peasant tradition that ginsburg talks about she occults her relationship with the saints so it's not to make that part of her claim to political authority or to claim that the political world ought to be organized around religious authority right um so it is a secular politics in a sense but it's one that's attached to religious ideas of uh the end of human community but a broader sense okay that's really interesting i want to um uh tie it to the question that was asked about and it's partial answer i think to this question what do you say to people who think that joan is a fanatic so someone started uh by saying you know that as a catholic child he had admired jones so much and as an atheist adult as the questioner identified himself um the he feels now that she seems like a fanatic and some you know and i wonder in ways i wonder if you think about the ways in which she might seem scary because of her uh the ferocity of her convictions but also her appeal to religion as a source of her conviction so in that sense it's not it can't be questioned you know the voices can't be in some sense questioned although that would be something we could talk about but anyway how do you think about that

um i guess i would say uh go read the trial transcript um and listen to joan herself um and um i'm not sure exactly what a fanatic is um yes she was convinced um and she derived some kind of authority from an internal experience that we would understand in different ways today but i think she kept herself quite separate from you know the um church authorities um

and yeah i i i'm not quite sure how to uh um

i i think i want to say that um this this notion of joan is a fanatic i think comes from her use by by marine le pen and others in other words i don't think that's joan i think that is the way in which she has appealed and this is a long and interesting story to the french right and this is a story that emerges in the 19th century um you know many centuries after joan was burned um and it's uh and the appeal that joan has for um a kind of monarchist and xenophobic uh uh french nationalism of a certain kind i think is what colors people's view of john um i mean i i find that if i talk to people who grew up in france or who are french and say i'm interested in joan of arc they kind of step back like oh you're one of them um as if i'm associated with this right-wing politics but then they will often go go on to say how much they loved joan as a child um as as this uh questioner did and um i guess i would say trust your child like self um that there was something but there was something lovable about joan um that uh that is worth still paying attention to in spite of marine le pen i don't know i think that the i mean this also goes to a question that was asked of what we thought we would hope to be able to do in an intercession course which is a very good question to ask given the complexity and and that you're writing a book and also we've gotten just a little glimpse of what it might might mean to be rethinking joan and in book form and then what can we accomplish but that's always where you go and it's where i i've follow you in that and think uh that you say we have to listen to joan we're going to read one book and i'm going to be the trials of joan of arc that her voice will be a voice that will do so much of the work that we're always interested in doing in religious studies which is to say that there are no clear oppositions for example even the idea of faith is not a simple idea that we all already know you know that so we can decide or the idea of heroism or the idea of devotion i think will turn out to be in her words what i've heard you describe about teaching other versions of this course and then but even in this conversation that there's the idea of the difference it's not that there's a fine line between a fanatic and a devotee but the effects of devotion are multifaceted even in their time and might still be understood to us as multifaceted in ways that then as you're describing could be ways of thinking the world otherwise which doesn't mean it's necessarily going to be liberatory or necessarily going to be oppressive and right wing in some way but that it might have unintended and unexpected effects and that's what joan seems to be one person who her complexity makes it possible to think about that i mean for one thing i mean you know considering our recent politics she resisted and very actively resisted efforts to sort of um make her into

a kind of miracle-working character she refused efforts to um people wanted to touch her and have her come and touch their kids and heal them and she she kept all that she refused to to play that role um okay so we are getting close to the end and i have there's so many good questions about how joan is represented i want to try and find a way to thread a few of them together um one uh and how she's represented also of course has to do with what her catholicism is or under is understood to be so one part of a question is could you or would you be interested in speaking to a relatively late canonization which may relate to a question about very how rare it is to see churches named after joan of arc um so that question of her place in catholicism but uh somebody did i have to say ask about um shakespeare's joan and henry vi and i know that might be something you'd be very especially interested in someone as a foreign theater person who follows these things closely um so representations of joan and shakespeare but also um whether you also might be interested in naming any thoughts you have about say mark twain's portrayal of john you can take any part of those the late canonization of course is very interesting because it it canonizing joan was really a puzzle for the church because she had been judged a heretic um and found to be a heretic and although the subsequent trial found the trial to be irregular it did not say anything about whether she was uh a heretic or not um and she was not a martyr for the faith um she doesn't fit into any of the categories that for canonization i mean she ends up basically being canonized for france i mean it it's about french nationalism her canonization um and there's no question about that but as far as churches being named for her um there's a church in indianapolis named for for her the churches all over america named for her because and just as that uh statue on riverside drive that i showed you um and there's one in in philip they're there there are statues of her all over the united states so um her canonization clearly uh sort of renewed attention for to her um mark twain uh mark twain said in the introduction to his last novel which was about joan that she was the only good person who had ever lived

um it's a remarkable he was completely besotted with joan some people connect this to the death of his daughter on some in a somewhat more uh

somewhat more maybe prurient vain regards i don't i'm not mark twain expert but then he had a fondness for young girls so his joan is a young girl pre-adolescent my joan is a grown woman [Music]

and shakespeare shakespeare oh well shakespeare's joan is is is a street rebel she's kind of a disreputable character um but i do want to say it's not just because shakespeare was english um uh yeah our colleague in the english department uh medievalist uh came to the class and told me told our class that she thinks one of the reasons that joan is missing from english chronicles of the period is that the english were ashamed of what they had done and there is an argument that in fact shame is the main reason we all respond to joan's story and it's um there's no other way but just to be in a sort of species shame that a young woman was burned to death um publicly for doing nothing more than being herself um it's uh it's a shameful episode and there's not in a sense there's nothing more to say about that it makes me think also about the um the silent film the famous uh film of joan um that someone did ask me here that i mentioned briefly that my husband had done an accompaniment um to that silent film at iu cinema and what did how did it change my feeling about joan and i think it maybe did for me what i think we hope that the reading the um trial will do for our students which is uh it closed the distance partly because my husband did it in a he used guitar you know he presumed an accuracy he presumed that he could not do a um you know he used an instrument and a style that was um from the 20s but in 1920s so not trying to sort of imagine and recreate some medieval music and so that is a way of speaking across time and ways in which thinking about joan and with joan uh can sort of transcend time and the distance but also the ways in which the film and then the exercise and discipline of trying to put music to it makes you linger over the the each scene and of course that film is is is exactly does that that it it slows down in a way that it's very very can be very frustrating or shocking actually even to all of us given our use the way we're used to seeing films the way things are supposed to move so i really appreciate the way that your attention to joan and all of her specificity without presuming something about joan or without already having us or predetermined which slot you know predetermined set of slots in which slot will she fit in makes possible for us that itself is an exercise in seeing otherwise um so i think that sort of maybe in testimony itself to joan or at least as you present her as someone who might be also imagining the world otherwise and actually listening to her is itself already a form of seeing things otherwise um so with that i think we will close off our evening and thank you for your wonderful work and i really look forward thank you all for for being here for your questions i'm sorry for those questions we didn't get to um or didn't get too fully uh but it really was wonderful to have a chance to talk to you winnie about your work and talk about joan as you said she's worthy of our attention so thank you everybody have a good evening

thank you again for joining us and participating in this evening's live stream i would like to thank professor sullivan and professor fury for their time and expertise we are grateful to you all finally i should acknowledge that events like this would not be possible without the support of donors who understand the value of a liberal arts education if you would like to support the faculty students and programs of the college of arts and sciences please consider making a contribution to the arts and sciences priority fund at the indiana university foundation until next time please take care and stay safe

thank you


Discovery of Transformative Rx to Treat Obesity and Related Diseases

During this presentation, Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Gill Chair Richard DiMarchi discussed the revolutionary advancements in pharmaceuticals that are reshaping the landscape of obesity and its related diseases.

Description of the video:

good evening on behalf of the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences I would like to thank you for joining us I'm Vanessa clo and I serve as a College's director of alumni relations Our Food For Thought live streaming series serves as an opportunity for alumni and friends to hear from faculty experts explore topics of interest and stay connected with IU and the College of Arts and Sciences regardless of your location at this time I'm delighted to introduce tonight's featured present Center distinguished professor of chemistry and a Linda and Jack Gil chair in biomolecular Sciences Richard demarkey A distinguished member of the National Academy of Medicine and the national inv inventors Hall of Fame Professor Demari has dedicated nearly four decades to advancing chemistry and related Sciences formerly serving as group vice president at Lily and later Novo he is widely recognized for pioneering the discovery and development of transformative diabetes and osteoporosis treatments with over 100 US patents and more than 250 scientific Publications Professor dear's academic research and peptides is revolutionizing the treatment of diabetes and obesity since 2003 he has co-founded eight successful biotech companies finally I'm delighted to share that Professor DeMar is also a college Alum earning his PhD in Biochemistry from Indiana University in 1979 following his presentation Professor Demari will be joined by College of Arts and Sciences executive Dean and professor of physics Rick van Cuttin for the audience Q&A session since arriving at IU in 1993 Dean van Cen has served as chair of the Department of physics and as Vice provos for research SE Arch working across a campus as a passionate advocate for scholarly activity he has co-authored more than 750 Publications most in particle physics as both a scientist and an administrator Dean Vantin is an experienced collaborator having guided the research directions as physics coordinator of large International collaborations of hundreds of researchers in his role as the college's executive Dean he remains firmly committed to the importance of a Liber Arts education in the College of Arts and Sciences both for its inherent value and for building the foundational skills of creative collaborative and critical thinking and communication you can submit your questions at any point during this evening's discussion simply click on the Q&A tab located in your webinar toolbar however your mouse over your screen and your toolbar should appear close captioning is also available now it is my pleasure to welcome Professor Demari for his presentation thank you good evening I'm here in my chemistry office on the fifth floor and I appreciate the opportunity to present to you this information that has been a big part of my life um I want to thank the uh the dean for the invitation to do this I want to thank all my colleagues in the chemistry department and in the uh Gil center for the support that I receive and doing the work that we that we we do and particularly I want to thank Jack and Linda Gill for their persistent uh support financially intellectually emotionally and helping us do the things that we uh have been been about what you should see on the screen right now uh is a set of of molecules this is U this is my molec family uh entities that have had real meaning for me and things that we have brought to New Life in performing phenomenal pharmacology at the center is a um a photo of a of a textbook that that Jack Gil had sent to me not long ago from Casey Nicola and his associate that speaks about molecules that change the world there are 34 chapters in that text and 33 of them speak to Conventional molecules small molecules things that are typically orally administered the last chapter speaks to so-call biomolecules large molecules macro molecules of the type that you see surrounding that particular photo glucagon insulin forteo things as I've said that have real meaning to me it's been a persistent search for these miraculous molecules and what I show you here in the upper left hand quadrant is the the photo of of a young fellow at the age of five only 27 pounds of uh of of weight struggling with juvenile onset diabetes he was fortunate that his parents were connected his uncle was a physician that had connections to the Banting best the now Banting best center in the University of Toronto where he was one of those first children to receive insulin therapy um and it's the sameed uh his his his life um you see him 70 years later in 1992 as he came to visit my laboratory at Eli Lily as we were progressing to the submission and registration of yalo lce pro insulin a molecule that I had discovered during my tenure at at Lily he was the first individual to achieve 70 years of life sustained on exogenous insulin uh Administration quite an inspiration came with his family his children some of his grandchildren which just showed you the power of what chemical entities can do now what we do as chemistry and in fact the challenge for me this evening is to try and translate this language of chemistry into English uh and not overwhelm you or intimidate you with the U with the foreignness of of of what chemists used to communicate with one another it gives us the ability to control the physical properties of a substance and in controlling those physical properties we can bestow upon it biological properties and what you see here are a number of those classical oral small molecules that would have been in the first 33 chapters of casy Nicola's uh uh textbook U but they're relatively small in size and quite exotic chemically relative to what you find in in nature for us macromolecule Medicinal Chemistry began in the the late 70s and and accelerated in the decade of the of the 80s and I came back to Indiana from my fellowship at the Rockefeller University on the east side of Manhattan because of the groundbreaking uh capabilities of using microorganisms to produce these large proteins right using DNA to direct the synthesis of these these precious materials and the first of those was human incid uh Lily's pioneering work to produce what became known as umulan and that molecule was first registered in 82 when distributed here in the United States in 83 and so it was in the late 70s the very late 70s 78 through 82 that we did this this work in Indianapolis in taking what had been established in California at microgram scale to um hundreds of kilograms and then thousands of kilograms tonage it was was truly one of the spectacular accomplishments in mind biosciences and I'm very proud to have been a part of it I often say that biotechnology became medicine in Indiana in Indianapolis that's where these first medicines were produced and and and in fact if not for that accomplishment we'd probably be rationing insulin today it provided the unlimited source of of of of insulin uh but for me it was a mechanism to be able to produce molecules that we could modify the the the sequence up until that point in time insulin had come from the pancreas of animals pigs cows growth hormone came from the pituitary the brain of cadavers and and and one of the more colorful ones was follicle stimulating hormone the hormone used to promote fertility uh came from the urine of nuns it was referred to as holywood 10 nuns 10 days one treatment uh for a a single woman seeking seeking fertility biotechnology has liberated us from those those materials and all of the Exotic xenobiotic materials that they could become contaminated with and what you see on the right was my belief that we could design these molecules to do something more than nature was designing them to do because while physiology and pharmacology are aligned they're not identical nature selects for certain properties and pharmacology selects for others stability potency route of delivery poag as I'll show you in in a minute so Humalog was the first in this set of synthetic macromolecular drugs now for those of us that were working on insulin in this period of time it was quite evident that this explosive growth in the demand for insulin was being driven by something more than than just uh the uh the the the organic change in genes um this this was the U the emergence of what we know now know as the epidemic of obesity The increased weight places a stress on the pancreas you're less insulin sensitive and as a consequence the pancreas is is less able to deal with the demands that we place upon it and what you see in the face of this one young lady uh age 14 at that point in time on Time Magazine was that she had what we had known as adult onset diabetes something that occurs with a mean age of 55 years it's now dropped to as little as 45 years but we were seeing it in adolescence and with great concern because that placed the burden of having to manage that disease for many many additional decades on top of the risk that excess uh di uh excess um uh body weight uh placed on cardiovascular uh performance and the star of the show science The Prestige ious Journal uh science last year described a glp1 and these obesity therapies as the Breakthrough therapy of the year Well I assure you it didn't happen in 12 months it reaches back four and five decades to the incron hypothesis that we as as as as as um as functioning uh individuals are sensing the nourishment that we take in the gut to signal to our pancreas to prepare for this extreme nutrient load that we receive roughly three times a day and to signal to the brain that it's time to stop eating it also signals to other distal organs uh from the um the adapost bed to bones and skeletal muscle and the first of these incretin hormones was a substance called gastric inhibitory peptide that was discovered in 1971 and hypothesized to be of use in treating adult onset diabetes something that could be used to lower blood glucose without the risk of hypoglycemia as insulin presents itself it proved to be a failure the substance did not work in lowering blood glucose in disease patients and it was in 1986 that glp1 the the the the the central ingredient in what you would know as as o um in fact uh was described as the chemical substance the hormone that was then refined into the drug many decades uh later that first cloning of that Gene right the DNA sequence of that Gene was conducted by Gran Bell as he was leading uh leaving Chiron Corporation to take a faculty position at the University of of Chicago and in this seminal public that appeared in nature in 1983 has described the gene sequence and it's shown Below in the hyro glyph of what we uh abbreviate Gene sequences with the with the the four nucleotides and then down below it its translation into an active pepon and in the red box what you'll see is what he discovered is that there seemed to be a duplication of the glucagon Gene we'll talk a bit more about the gluc glucagon as a substance in in a minute but there were two additional genes that followed it that had high homology to glucagon itself Pro approximately 50% conservation of sequence suggesting similar similar functions and Graham hypothesized that it was this 37 residue peptide starting at residue one as you see at the bottom of this this slide as lice Arginine a processing site that is commonly observed in polyproteins to generate active peptides and the C terminal end with another Arginine as a processing site to give you a 37 residu peptin that's what he believed was the active substance which turned out to be be wrong um in in fact for those who were closest to glucagon the belief was that it was going to start with this histadine at positions seven and that the active sequence would read from that seven on because we knew the structure function of this molecule glucagon began with a histadine and had a glycine thine phenyalanine at 456 phenyalanine at 22 tryptophane at 25 as part of the active hormone and it made most sense that these duplicated uh hormon duplicated sequence would likely conserve those active sequences M and that's what takes me back to my days in New York where Bruce marfield Robert Bruce marfield going by his his middle name RBM to those of us who knew him who knew him best developed this this this this this orthogonal way to do chemical synthesis of these very substances to actually do chemistry on a solid support an insoluble solid support where most were believing that you could truly inspirational fellow who uh was capable of thinking outside the box working alongside me as as a fellow on a different project was a a a graduate student who became a postro fellow in Bruce's lab named Lana moev she developed the chemical synthesis for producing glucagon and then went off to the Massachusetts General Hospital where she continued her training as her husband did his uh training in um in medicine and and she was the one who in producing those peptides and the R Radio amuno acids that actually determined that the 7 to 37 was the active sequence but unfortunately through the years she was forgotten for the seminal accomplishments that she made and it's only in this last year that we have brought the recognition that she so rightly deserves and you'll see in this science article that appeared in September and later is the awarding of the the the VIN prize future uh award uh in in Hanoi that uh she is now becoming recognized for this this important discovery of this particular hormone now the transition to obesity is a different story because the focus was on glucose control right as a diabetes drug not as an anti-obesity agent and suat aend was the chief of medicine at the kolinska hospital very prominent Medical Institution in Stockholm and uh he was the person who sort of took me under his wing and convinced me that this had the ability to decrease body weight and we began a collaboration while I was at Lily where I and my associates produced the glp1 that was placed into patients and that led to a patent that was filed in November of 1996 so here we are roughly a decade removed from when the hormone was first shown to have this incretin activity the glycemic activity and what was shown is that over four weeks of therapy where it was subcutaneously infused in type two diabetics that were of excess body weight that they lost as much as 3.5 kilograms of their body weight in that that period as opposed to only 1.3 when they were given insulin that's the treatment effect we tend to see that if they had been given vehicle actually insulin tends to promote weight gain not decrease it and in this patent that was issued to Lily two months after I left the company to join uh here in U my faculty position at Indiana University they received claims for reducing body weight with glp glp analoges and glp derivatives the whole class of these these these medicines there was no interest in developing this this this substance the company was was focused on Neuroscience proac cypra sybal stratera fantastic oral drugs very traditional in their their forms and obesity was not viewed as a disease it was something that was relatively benign with an unclear registration path and I was often told even if there were a p through register it very few people would be willing to take an injection to treat that that that disease that has proven so wrong over the course of the last 20 years Novo was the one company by exception that embraced this and continued on with Native uh GP sequence and modified it ever so slightly to place a single fatty acid on the molecule some very elegant chemistry that gave the hormone the ability to bind albumin and therefore would be injected just once a day they added one more modification to the the hormone again reaching back to what I showed you in in in yog that chemistry matters and this hormone when it was administered to patients for one whole year uh what they found was that they could decrease the body weight as much as 89 10% and the vehicle treatment lost 2 or 3% so High single digigit difference in your ability to lower body weight and you'll note at four weeks they lost exactly as much as we had seen in the infusion study with Professor affend that served to form the patent that was issued to Lily but take note that about a third of the subjects lost as much as 10% body weight and as few as one in seven 14% lost 15% and here we are in 2015 30 years removed from the discovery of the hormone the folks that uh uh Novo through some additional elegant chemistry changed the nature of the fatty acid that bound to the to albumin and they also introduced a additional amino acid change to give the hormone resistance against proteolysis this is the active substance that you know as OIC in fact registered for treating obesity as wovi but it's the same active chemical enti Senda with lorag is the same active ingredient in victos the once a day treatment for Di diabetes Senda the once a day treatment for obesity but the spectacular finding and quite frankly the unexpected finding was this additional efficacy that has gener ated this craze for interest in getting access to these medications we're at roughly on10th the dose instead of three milligrams per day3 or 04 milligrams per day as many as half of the patients over a Year's therapy were losing 15% of their body weight and a third as much as 20% of their body weight the um the drug is associated not just with improvements in metabol ISM and body weight but also a decrease in cardiovascular risk what we know as mace right major adverse cardiovascular events deaths Mis and and this is a a highly uh meaningful not just statistical uh Improvement in in General Health and it is something that differs slightly within the class of chemically modified glp1 agin of which uh OIC um has proven to be the the most Superior now here comes the the part that that that relates to our work here in in Indiana I moved again in in 2003 when there was little interest in developing these Therapeutics for treating excess body weight and in 2009 working with students here in Bloomington on the fifth floor in collaboration with uh Professor matius Chu a physician uh who I knew from his post-doctoral days in Indianapolis at Lily when I was an executive who had come to take a faculty position at the University of Cincinnati in the medical school uh focused on on pharmacology and what you see on the right is the Leading Edge of therapy to treat diabetes which represents an integration of three hormones into a single substance which I'll show you in a minute it includes that active ingredient glp1 but two other active ingredients Gip which was thought not to have any efficacy and glucagon which was completely countercultural because the belief was that you had to block glucagon as opposed to stimulate glucagon and that 2009 publication integrates glucagon with glp in 2003 in science translational medicine we integrated glp with Gip which is the precedent for what you now know as mjar Lily breakthrough drug and then in nature medicine in 2015 we integrated all three of these substances into a single molecule which I just mentioned to you is rrr Tide real tongue twisters um for generating what is a 24% decrease mean decrease in um in body weight that's roughly one pound per week for a year 50 pounds incredibly transformative now life in Discovery is far more empirical than than is often told and it takes a heck of a lot longer time than might have been suggested as I said by the award of 2023 for this this this this this hormone and what it's capable of doing we began with glucagon not with glp um and we wanted to do something relatively simple and that was to generate a glucagon that could be used by someone who is insulin dependent diabetic because it is the rescue medication if you have excess insulin therapy you receive it as a a kit that looks something like this where it is a loliz powder you get an acidic diluent you dissolve the powder and give yourself an injection while you're struggling with uh life alter ing hypoglycemia it's not a time when one needs a chemistry kit what you need is something that looks like an epinephrine pen to immediately administer and rescue you from this this hypoglycemic uh Challenge and so we set out to use chemistry here one of my graduate students Joseph shaben and one of the post-doctorate associates Theodor marose that have been longtime trusted Associates that did just spectacular work working with one of my longtime colleagues later on uh Dr John Meyer who's now at the University of Colorado Boulder but led the Lily peptide group in my uh after my departure and what we did is we developed five different methods to take a substance that is virtually insoluble in physiological buff and converted into something that had full biological activity and stability so that it could be used as a medicine no one at Lily no one at Novo no one at the juvenile diabetes Research Foundation was interested in supporting our work the interesting uh aside to all of this was when I asked um Professor Chu uh here shown as a younger man than he is today 20 years ago to administer this to fatty rodents diet induced obese mice they're roughly twice the size of their normal wild type lates it was every bit as effective as as sendin 4 which is a homologue of glp1 so it functions very much like what we later came to know as um a Senda and wovi and what you see in blue is it was every bit as effective in lowering body weight as ascendant was but it was doing it by a different mechanism it was increasing thermogenesis it was making these anal animals less fuel efficient meaning they're burning energy right it's like a car that has lower miles per gallon than one with higher miles per gallon and we asked could we integrate that in with the food supressing effect the appetite suppressing effect of of glp1 a single molecule that could do both of these things and in fact working with graduate students here Jonathan day who's now a senior scientist in the insulin section at at at Lily uh found that he could make a single hormone that could see both of these receptors had both of these activities as if it was a master key opening two doors as effectively as it opens one door and when Matias uh placed these into fatty animals what we found in blue is that they were more effective in decreasing the body weight of those obese uh animals than just one activity and they did it without significantly changing the food consumption they weren't making these animals sick uh to decrease their body weight and their lipid metabolism was much improvs far less lipid in their lip and far less cholesterol and triglycerides in their in their plas and what's shown here by NMR measurements is that these animals had increased their energy expenditure without changing their cardiovascular profile it wasn't an increase in heart rate or blood pressure that was was was driving this improved performance as we shared these results in in nature chemical biology I remember when Good Morning America came here and was filming students were running in every which direction excited most viewed this as just Road in Pharmacology and the the informed advice we got from opinion leaders was you're going the wrong way glucagon is going to increase blood glucose and of course it's going to end up being dangerous and what we were arguing is that we could use it as a catabolic substance to generate a feudal cycle where one substance is catabolic one substance is anabolic and net net what we're doing is decreasing body weight by expending more more more energy we then return to Gip which was the substance that hadn't worked and there was great controversy as to why are you wasting your time because if anything you might want to block this hormone as opposed to stimulate this hormone and we were inspired by some work that came out of the University of Copenhagen where it had been shown in diabetic subjects that if you infuse Gip their ability to secrete insulin was no better than using S it was inactive that's the reason why people were telling us don't waste your time glp by contrast was meaningfully but if you improved the glycemic state of these subjects by infusing insulin or treating them with insulin for four weeks what you found is that you restored the ability to see Gip and enhance the ability to see goop and so we envisioned that we could use G as the first stage of the rocket to improve glycemic control and then gii GI would be able to function and this is an important observation that was made uh again in Cincinnati the first author on this paper was another graduate student uh who like Jonathan uh day Brian finnen was a Gil uh fellow supported by the the generous philanthropy of of Linder and Jack Gil and what you see is when we treat them with Gip alone they virtually they do virtually nothing relative to treating them with v if you treat them with GP they lose body that's why it's such a magical substance and through the first days when we treated them with both hormones they're no different again reminiscent of the fact that you have to induce a pharmacological sensitivity and with continued time all of a sudden they started to separate and to meaningly separate in a positive direction such that we went ahead integrating these into a single molecule and what you see on the left is the single glp aget lorag the active ingredient in seenda in vosa at the same dose with these dual acting compounds you're looking at the blue so you could use either a smaller dose to achieve the same effect less gut side effect or you could achieve greater efficacy and indeed these are the phase three clinical registration results from Lily with this peptide called t uh tepati which is a once a week analog that was developed at Lily having seen the precedent setting direction that we had published upon with GP Gip Agonist and now all of a sudden you see that at those higher doses three qus of the subjects are achieving more than 15% body weight and as many as 23s more than 20% body weight and even as many as a third 40% achieving more than 25% body weight want to put a face on that here just go on to the internet and go Google uh the the efficacy of of OIC or certainly uh tepati which is now sold for obesity under the trade name EP bound here's a a a lady in uh a patient uh in in Tampa Florida who has lost over 100 100 pounds in lecturing at uh Northwestern Medical School in November I met what was an individual out of The 100 Club somebody who has lost more than a 100 pounds she was 53 years of age and still overweight at 190 pounds but she had lost 120 pounds 40% of her body weight and she told me that she can't remember when prior to her um teenage years she was less than 200 pounds and so she felt as if as she said she had gotten to get out of jail card that she had been liberated to have a different life than the one that she felt she had been uh been assigned okay so the last of these is these triple agonists where we then pull these three activities into a single molecule that can see all three receptors if I may say so it's quite an elegant piece of chemistry because it's very much like a Rubik Cube where you finally get two faces set and go to set the third face and end up destroying the first or second Fe and so what we developed were molecules that could equally see these receptors as much as the native hormone did and they can do it with the same potency that the native hormones see those and in fact when we put those inter rodents you could see that the coagonist this active approach that is is is modeled in in chati uh but this being pot peptides we had made at Indiana University and studied at the University of Cincinnati were phenomenally effective here losing more than 15% body but adding in the glucagon component these triple agonists were doubly effective and what you're looking at here is the fat content where those those white circles are lipid droplets in your liver which are a risk factor for liver failure right non-alcoholic steatosis and you can see how much more effective the triple Agonist was than the co Agonist and in June of this year once again uh Lily presented results with their triple Agonist at the Ada meeting and what you see is is that uh at the higher ends two-thirds of the patients lost more than 20% body weight and as many as a quarter of them are losing over 30% body weight and there was a notable effect in decreasing hepatic lipid content uh a very uh promising observation again this is in registration it is not yet a drug approved drug for use and then lastly I'll just close with one last piece of of chemistry something uh that I a company I started in 2003 that was just uh recently purchased by J&J for using this chemistry in uh labeling antibodies with uh uh conventional uh cytotoxics for improving the efficacy in treatment of analytic diseases but in this instance what we did was take a protein such as leptin produced by biosynthesis and use non-native protein uh biosynthesis something championed by uh my colleague in in co-founding this company Peter Schulz who's now president of the scrips Institute where we could introduce uh keton into the molecule biosynthesize something that just doesn't occur naturally and ketone have this important chemical property that you can do orthogonal chemistry to introduce new function to to a molecule so it wasn't just like adding letters to the alphabet this was like adding vowels to the alphabet might wonder how powerful would the English language be if you had a sixth or seventh vowel to work with kind of a strange question to ask but you do wonder about these things when you're sitting alone in a building like the chemistry building this time of night but here's a uh a study that was done in those same obese animals when we treated them with PEG leptin leptin being the so-called obesity hormone that was discovered by Jeff fredman in 1994 which has spectacular efficacy in genetically deficient animals and in humans had no efficacy in what we call Garden variety OB subjects that got there by excess nutrition when you mix that hormone with one of our co-agonist you could do this with the triple Agonist as well there's no difference until they lose about 15% of their body and then all of a sudden leptin kicks in and takes them back to a normal body now the substance was never developed and largely because the question at that time was how would you decrease human obesity by 15% 20% if it's required in mutant I think that's all mute at this point in time given the efficacy that we're now seeing with the these these um these Leading Edge peptides and the potential for now integrating leptin to get to who knows 30 35 40% decrease in body weight and all of the improvements that that means in the comorbidities of the diseases bone muscle pancreas liver potentially brain and so let me close there by just acknowledging the importance of Indiana University um these are the students that that did the work here on this this campus and I'm I'm doubly proud because it was done by so many young individuals that were guided not just by me but the likes of seasoned senior research faculty Jay ly Dave Smiley vasil galanov who's right there in in the in the picture most of them are employed in the pharmaceutical industry at virtually all of the large pharmaceutical companies that you can Envision J&J Lily no toada uh and and many in in in in Asia lean shanang is the CSO of H it's the largest public biotech but pharmaceutical company in in in China and then finally the one one thing that has inspired me and and I and I try to instill in all of our our our students is the ability to think differently right to as as Steve Jobs said uh those those who are are insanely great that ability to do what others just simply can't see from Irv Johnson the the Visionary at Lily that started biotech technology to those seminal Noble ORS uh that that that frequented this campus Herman Mueller James Watson Salvador lauia right all connected to to one another car jasi the chemist who developed contraception Brian Maloy prette and of course I mentioned Bruce marfield and and you'd surely know Maria Collis Martha Graham Pablo Picasso who stimulated our creativity in the way that this campus stimulates my creativity so thank you for the time I hope I didn't run too long and as Paul Harvey used to say now you know the rest of the story thank you well thank you very much uh Richard and I think uh on behalf of it I think there's roughly 115 people out in the audience for just a fascinating uh talk and and just the level of Pride that we have that Indiana University is a part of of this life-changing research is just remarkable so thank you very very much so I I'll just jump into questions and again a reminder to the audience that we're doing it through the Q&A box you just type your question in there and I'll answer it I'll I'm sorry I'll ask a question of Richard and he'll respond accordingly can you discuss promising treatments for osteoporosis from Patricia Brenan yeah so osteoporosis um experienced a a Renaissance through the decade of of the um the the 90s as we um we progressed important uh therapies for treating the disease selective estrogen modulators such as um relox ofine active ingredient in in in a Vista and and forteo a hormone that that I was about uh which um thanks to uh individuals like like Janet Hawk Chuck Frolic John termine on this someone at Lily recognized that it could be used as a daily pulsatile injection to build a a bone and uh it it has become one of those first regenerative medicines that that decreases the the number refractors that that um folks will experience in in in later life there is is still more to be done and particularly when you think about what might be the effect of excess body weight loss because XX body weight has a way of increasing bone mineral density and the fear right now is when people lose as much weight as we experience in these clinical studies that you'll also be losing bone mass muscle mass right lean muscle mass is part of that that weight loss and so um are we putting people at increased risk for a fracture uh simply because uh they they have less resistance to a fall and so there is a need for entities that can go beyond what you can do with a A bisbis phosphinine or anank Lian inhibitor to achieve um safe and effective further increases in in in bone mass associated with that is also [Music] the related diseases of Cartland right osteoarthritis and the tremendous growth in the number of of surgeries to replace joints hips knees and so can we find anabolic therapy that can rejuvenate the joint and and and and and create that that collagen that has uh been been lost that serves as the cushion and leads to so much so much pain I think that is all all possible just just as we now realize that we can treat obesity when so many thought what we are achieving today to be virtually impossible great thank you so from SC Scott kerno are studies ongoing in pediatric patients to prevent development of severe obesity versus treating those adults with severe obesity that already have comorbidities that's a great question yeah it is it is a terrific question and um OB obviously if you can prevent a disease and when it occurs if you can cure it that would be wonderful I should tell you that if you stop taking these these drugs very much like if you stop taking your antihypertensive or your uh your your your your Statin for lowering cholesterol your your body weight is going going to change what you hope is that this stimulates not just a loss in in in in weight due to the pharmacology but a change in lifestyle that that might allow you to change your diet to having or uh healthy exercise routine so that you can survive with if not a a complete absence of a pharmacology uh a lower dose preventative studies are more challenging and particularly preventative studies in in youth right because there are additional requirements uh for treating people at at at at these early stages of of Life U but but it's obvious as I showed you on the face that one one young lady who was on time magazine that there is a a need and and so I I suspect those studies are being done uh but I'm not sufficiently integrated into Novo and Lilia this time to know exactly what's what's being done so I can't comment informatively okay thanks Christine Alp ask first she thank you for for your talk given the length of rodent studies how long do you think it will take for us to understand whether people's metabolism converts back or counteracts these medications yeah so um you know let me start with if there's a reservation that I have at this point in time it's it's in the popularity of these drugs yeah right there's only so much that you can achieve in in a registration study and these studies are designed to emphasize the signal relative to the noise right because you need that in order to demonstrate the uh the results to justify the the registration so the folks who have been in most of these studies look more alike than they are different and as you you you begin to distribute these these these drugs they're being used in um a more heterogenous setting of of patients you've asked about about about children right and uh uh you you know that that that despite uh the fact that they have not been extensively studied uh as they were in uh maturity onset adults of roughly a 100 kilograms of of of weight they are be being being used and they're being used not not just in in tens of thousands of patients but in hundreds of thousands of patients and so you learn a tremendous amount as a drug is is registered and the faster it's be being used the more challenging is to collect all of this data to make sure that there isn't something that we we have missed in addition there's enormous uh uh concern about abuse uh people want to lose weight and so there are some who think that if taking it once a week is a good thing then maybe taking it every day be seven times better well let meure dangerous the way to do it right and so please adhere to the recommendations and and and work closely with Physicians one last concern that that I have is because of the shortage of the drug and the huge huge need there is contraband here in the United States that are coming from external sources I view this as rodent medicine these are research grade peptides for which we don't know what the quality is we don't even know how they've been been been formulated it's dangerous to use use such such substances and so I caution you despite the attraction of the U of the pricing or the availability that this is this is not this is not

advisable this might be answered already well this well these medications have to be lifetime usage so it's not to have reoccurrence of the individual's obesity so you're saying already that if you stop taking it that it the your weight could go back up it it's been shown that that that upon stopping therapy the weight does returned slowly but it does return and so the the incentive is is obviously uh to to use this to get into a better physical shape uh a physiologically healthier State uh but but to use it uh as a catalyst for a more healthy lifestyle there are many people who are significantly overb believed that cannot begin to exercise and in which exercise may be counterindicated because of of of the the strenuous nature of what it represents and so if you can use this to catalyze a better lifestyle then I believe you can exist with less intensive therapy but I suspect you will need to use this as much as you would be using your Statin lifelong to keep your cholesterol check thanks this next one is is I think comes up a lot because people are sometimes adverse for giving themselves injections so um Lisa uh how loot U thanks you for a fascinating talk I thought I'd heard that an oral treatment for obesity was development but given these are all large molecules I'm wondering if that's possible can you please comment well there's a couple of Parts this the first one is there is an oral form of of semaglutide right that's called raelis and and Novo was precedent setting and formulating the peptide so that it could be used as a daily oral medication it's quite effective but not quite as effective as the once a week uh injection they have now reformulated to be bringing forward a higher dose of the peptide to achieve comparable uh efficacy um it is appreciably inefficient that is instead of using roughly two milligrams a week as an injection you're using as much as 14 or 50 milligrams per day that's that's one to less than 1% bioavailability and for some patients who refuse to use an injection is there available um but there's others who feel as if um a a a weekly subcutaneous injection small small volume 31 gauge needle isn't what you might perceive it to be because we have this vision of what insulin therapy is with all of the complexity of glucose monitoring which this does not require and the history of of people believing that because you're taking such a therapeutic it implies that you're sicker than you would otherwise want want to be um I personally if I were taking the drug would use the the less frequent in injection but there is an oral form that that is available and there is reg there are registration studies ongoing right now with conventional small molecules that aim to mimic the single mono agon that means just glp agonism not the combination agonism that I that I shared with you so it is quite possible we shall we shall see whether those successfully register that there will be an an oral let's call oral tablet form of these drugs uh available to you great thanks h a question from Bill Whitaker actually who's on our executive my executive Dean Advisory Board and I'm not surprising that this a very detailed question does the glucagen component have any effect on fat cells converting them into so-called white or metabolically active cells yeah so that's that is that is a great question because in rodents they they're more prone to increased thermogenesis there's more so-called Brown fat uh bill would would would know this some may may not brown fat is more metabolically active where white fat is perceived as being there simply to store your your your your your your triglycerides and and so in rodents I think that that is absolutely correct that the glucagon component is stimulating uh uh increased thermogenesis not as clear in in humans because uh Brown fat is more controversial in humans and and I have not seen any clear evidence that the glucagon component is converting white fat to Brown fat in any any large uh uh way but the ocus is is greater and and it is is definitely catabolic if used alone it would be inappropriate because it breaks down large molecules right it causes lipolysis it caus causes uh uh um uh glycogenolysis right breaking down your your your glycogen stores uh and so it has to be uh balanced buffered by an anabolic substance such as glp1 and better yet glp1 plus plus Gip and that's why I think the trip May yet prove to be the best of of of of these combinations there is still reason to be questioning what will the effect be on the vascular system it can increased heart rate it seems to be um uh greatest when you initiate therapy and and and and glucagon is is is an has an effect on the card on the heart right so it it you just want to make sure that in long-term studies we're not just improving body weight and Metabolism that we really are decreasing cardiovascular Happ thanks uh T Connelly asks this is this is answer a little bit um earlier but it's sort like what would be the regular prescription would exercise specifically weight training be advised or prescribed with the intake of these weight weight loss drugs yeah I I I do think that some form of of strenuous exercise that has been promoted for uh building lean mass and and building uh uh bone mass right is is is advisable particularly when you're setting out to to lose as much weight as uh you you see in the the the extremes I I think there's every reason to believe that there will be some degree of sopia loss of of of muscle mass and some loss of bone mass which is is is is desirable to to minimize or eliminate in fact there's quite a bit of pharmacology uh ongoing Medicinal Chemistry to see whether you can build into these molecules not only the ability to lower body weight but actually stimulate uh those anabolic processes to to defeat what otherwise is is likely uh to to occur if you give yourself you know two large a dose and like regularly like you're saying can you lose a a dangerous amount of weight like can you drive yourself into anorexia for example we have not we've not seen that right so at at at at at toxicological doses you don't cause a CIA with this this sub substance it seems to be a dose limiting as you get closer and closer to a a normal body weight it does particularly the glp component has a profound effect on the gut right it it it it slows gastric motility and as a result there is a very structured algorithm for how to get to maximally effective doses where you'll use each week for a month one dose titrate up for another month titrate up for another month hitrate up for a subsequent month to try and generate a desensitization in the gut to the profound effect that it can have that in in in many patients leads to a a flatulence excess gas a nausea and even uh profound profound vomiting and that's why one has to be very careful not to be too aggressive with the dosing until you have reached what has been a registered appropriate use of these drugs

uh Cecil Williams asks does a site of receiving the shot matter in terms of weight loss typically not as long as you're administering it to the subcutaneous tissue right um I don't believe these drugs have been um been registered for use by uh by IV uh Administration they would have a long duration of action because of the binding to the plasma protein notably albent but there is much much greater likelihood for a a a burst early as you achieve higher higher plasma levels uh earlier as I mentioned semaglutide has been um uh res registered for oral use but used each day because what that does is it flattens the variability that occurs when you have such low oral bioavailability so you're just dovetailing from dayto to minimize each day's uh variability but it it is it is highly inefficient way to deliver the drug thanks uh we have time for just one more question uh from Martha Perkins this is a good one too how long before insurance companies recognize obesity as a disease and cover these drugs for this use and a crawler actually is what makes these medicines so expensive yeah I I can't answer the first one I'd be completely out of my realm of of of expertise um you know clearly it it it reduces longer term term term costs uh by uh minimizing the uh the risk factors that that that obesity um represents to uh to the vascular system and and and other other organs uh as far as the the pricing of of of the drug you might stay tuned next week Bernie Sanders has a senate hearing pertaining to drug PR pricing and you know finding that that that that sweet spot that incentivizes uh people to go and discover these spectacular drugs knowing that eventually they will couple of decades get to be generic substance at less lesser cost but giving people access to these these these drugs is is of utmost importance I mean as I look back on the last 40 years it's just unbelievable the transform and our scientific capabilities to do what many people would have thought uh is is otherwise impossible whether it was HIV whether it was covid whether it's it's it's it's obesity I mean these These are phenomenal advances when I started we were dealing with animal insulin and we barely had glucose monitoring uh for treating creating creating diabetics think about how much more needs to be done what is the molecular basis of a memory that will come to be known right and with that will become profound Therapeutics for for treating cognitive dysfunction or even enhancing physiological so you can see that I'm very bullish about what we're capable of doing and believe that we we're just at the tip of the iceberg in in taking biology which has been largely a qualitative science into quantitative biology ology the ability to to manage it in the way that Rick you would know physics right math mathematics and and chemistry and and that's when you'll see the transformation such that people will be wondering can we manage longevity as as as insane as that may may sound at this point in time so um you know be be bear with us there there are societal uh pressures we want to make sure that people have access to these these drugs but how you find that right place is beyond me um thank you very much actually just in closing given that that like of the you know more than 100 people that are connected here they all a lot of us have the same bond that it's IU alumni maybe just answer the question what does IU mean to you given your long connection both as an alumnus and now I'm I'm here by choice I've often joked that I'm a born again hooer right you can hear it in my my my my my Brooklyn accent of which I'm quite proud um I'm not sure I I I knew whether Indiana was on the left side or the right side of Illinois when I uh were living on the the the the the East Coast but but I've grown in in an affinity for this this state and and the uh just what we we know is who who your hospitality when you are on this campus it's such a phenomenally stimulating place you know whether it's it's the Athletics you know swimming basketball soccer whether it's it's it's music as you walk past the the Opera House the the auditorium you know whether it's the history of the science here who isn't taking Stanis fluoride right now which was discovered right here right to the those those those those those luminaries that I that I indicated the Kinsey uh Institute what a phenomenal place this is you can't go walking it in the middle of January but but virtually any other time to to just walk this campus is so aesthetically pleasing and intellectually stimulating of creativity that I I can't say enough few things about Bloomington and this this this great University great actually that that that's holds for like a a a pitch for that there's going to be the 50th anniversary of the of the discovery of Stanis fluide in Crest actually later this semester um in the chemistry Department I believe that's going to be streamed we'll make sure that that gets out to this to this list um also just before we close if I also that that um Richard did this but I want to Echo it I that I understand that Jack and Linda Gil are connected tonight listening in on this talk and they they have been just generous donors to the to you the college in Indiana University and built essentially uh enabled the building of the Gill Center that supports amazing science just like Richard is doing so again thank you Jack and Linda if you're out there um with that you know we can virtually clap thunderous Applause for Richard Demari and U thank you very much for joining us this evening and hope you have the rest a good rest of your evening great thanks again for joining us and participating in this evening's live stream I would like to personally thank Professor Demari and Dean vanen for their time and expertise we are grateful to you all I would like to acknowledge that events like this would not be possible without the support of donors who understand the value of a liberal arts education if you would like to support programs like tonight's presentation or opportunities that connect uh alumni and friends with the College of Arts and Sciences please consider making a contribution to the IU Bloomington College alumni engagement fund at the Indiana University Foundation until next time please take care

Rivers in the Sky: Extreme Weather and Climate Change

In this presentation, Professor Travis O’Brien discussed atmospheric rivers, extreme weather events, and climate change.

Description of the video:

good evening on behalf of the Indiana University College of Arts and Sciences I would like to thank you for joining us I'm Vanessa Khloe and I serve as a College's director of alumni relations Our Food For Thought live streaming series serves as an opportunity for alumni and friends to hear from faculty experts explored topics of interest and stay connected with Indiana University and the College of Arts and Sciences regardless of your location at this time I'm delighted to introduce tonight's feature presenter Travis O'Brien an assistant professor in the department of Earth and atmospheric sciences Dr O'Brien's research focuses on understanding what controls weather and climate events that impact human and natural systems before joining the IU faculty in 2020 he was a research scientist at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and an Adjunct professor at University of California Davis following his talk Professor O'Brien will be joined by IU undergraduate Ethan Steward for the audience q a session Mr Stewart is a senior majoring in atmospheric Science and Mathematics he serves as the president of the local AMS chapter which helps connect IU and its students to the professional world of meteorology and climate change Sciences you can submit your questions at any point during this evening's discussion simply click on the Q a tab located in your webinar toolbar hover your mouse over the screen in your toolbar should appear closed captioning is also available now it is my pleasure to welcome Professor O'Brien for his presentation thank you thank you very much Vanessa uh very happy to talk to you all today about rivers in the sky extreme weather and climate change a topic called atmospheric Rivers which we'll get into in just a moment now before I begin I recognize that some of you it looks like signed who are joining us are coming from Florida I hope that everything with hurricane Adelia is going okay that your friends and your family and loved ones are all okay I want to start with a story before I dive into the science so a number of years back I was in a taxi going from the airport to a conference and as it often happens in a taxi you know just making small talk and um the taxi driver asks me about you know where I'm from and I tell them well I I live out in Indiana now but I actually grew up in California he goes oh you decided to move out to Indiana from California really I mean honestly what a question to ask somebody but regardless I said yeah you know I mean I lived in California my whole life I have Midwest Midwest Roots I'm really happy to have moved out there the conversation keeps going he asks me about what I do for a living and what I'm uh in the in town for and I told him about the conference and you know he gets quiet for a moment and this question I've been asked this question a number of times in taxis incidentally is global warming really a thing he asks and you know it said immediately yes yeah it is I mean I I wish it weren't I wish I could say different but it is and we know that it's happening um there are a lot of lines of evidence for it uh including just long-term observations of temperature change of changes in ecosystems melting glaciers sea level rise that we can measure all these things yeah it's definitely happening and you know we talk a little bit about more about it and then it gets quiet for a bit and he goes wow you know you must be depressed all the time and I paused that one and said well you know I'm actually not and there's a couple reasons maybe for that I mean one of them is maybe the obvious one there's there's I think a parallel between a medical doctor and a scientist and that you develop sort of a clinical nature and and whatnot but I mean I do think about climate change and the reality of it a lot on a personal level and it is alarming but it doesn't actually cause me to spare because I know I'm confident that we're going to be able to do something about it doesn't mean it's not dire and it doesn't mean we don't need to act immediately but uh the reason that I that I have hope a good example of this is a few years back there was a report called robust uh you're sorry wrong report name Frameworks for uh deep decarbonization deep decarbonization being a fancy term for stopping emitting greenhouse gases and one of the key points of this report was they outlined the fact that Technologies exist right now today that allow us to stop greenhouse gas emissions without reducing our quality of life and I think that's the most important thing because I think when people think about climate change one of the first things that people think about is you know I'm gonna have to live an effectively poor life than I do right now no we can do it the catches it's expensive and it'll cost you know on the order of what the globe spent on dealing with the pandemic just a couple of years ago but it's possible so with that I want to dive into the reality that that yeah the planet is getting warmer so the x-axis here on this animation this graph is time going back over 100 years the y-axis is the temperature anomaly relative to a period around the 50s and what you see is especially in the last couple decades it's systematically getting warmer this year is gearing up to probably be the hottest on record and we've had the hottest year on record quite a few times in the last decade and we know that this is being caused by greenhouse gas emissions carbon dioxide from fossil fuels um now before I really dive into this talk I want to talk a little bit about climate change and this concept of global warming because this might seem kind of like not a big deal one degree what does that even mean I mean as we sit here through this talk it's very likely going to change by about one degree Celsius outside it's about two degrees Fahrenheit so that gets me to the point of what global warming means to us on a local scale so this graph here shows actual observations of afternoon summer temperatures from here in Bloomington Indiana the x-axis is temperature so 30 degrees being about 85 degrees Fahrenheit and the y-axis being the probability or the frequency of that temperature so the peak on this graph here represents the most frequent temperature of about 85 Degrees most days during the summer about 85 degrees um these shaded regions so this blue shaded region and this line here in particular represents the coolest five percent of days so the area underneath this curve to the left of this represents the coolest five percent of days meaning temperatures you know about five percent of the time temperatures are lower than about 22 degrees Celsius which is low 70s that actually happens to be the temperature out right now absolutely lovely especially considering that just last week we were in the top five percent of days so this line here represents uh about so this is the the edge of the top five percent lines about 34 degrees uh Celsius which is in the low 90s just getting to the point where it's so hot especially when it's humid out which it was last week where it's just you think it's too dang hot to go outside so five percent of dates now let's bring back the idea of global climate change we're talking about over the last century a degree of warming what is one degree of average change means and that's the catch it's average change that we're talking about so for a belt curve like this the average and the peak are right about the same thing so an average corresponds to shifting this whole curve over by about one degree now that might seem like it's not much but if you consider this line again again this represents right about the threshold of it's too dang hot to go outside the area under this curve is a lot greater in fact it's as this animation runs again uh two times greater eleven percent of days so one degree of warming increases the number of really extremely hot days that we get by a factor of two imagine what a couple degrees change would mean and this is the reality of climate change and why they say it's dire we're talking about the potential for you know several degrees four five six degrees Celsius warmer depending on how much greenhouse gases we met admit over the next couple of decades this means that our children our children's children our grandchildren their children are going to be experiencing a lot more hot days than we are right now unless we do something like right now this decade like this is the decade that we have to act in and I just want to re-emphasize it can be done now if temperature was the only thing about global warming I wouldn't be giving the stock I wouldn't even be in this line of research because you know the problem would be solved the catch is the Earth is really complicated and warming of the atmosphere impacts a lot of things you start melting ice at the poles so you get less sea ice that means there's more dark ocean and during the summer times that means the Earth is brighter up at that Latitude meaning it absorbs more you start to melt glaciers and land ice and that melts into the ocean that causes sea levels to rise the ocean warms a warmer ocean means more evaporation a warmer atmosphere means it can hold more water exponentially more water and more water in the atmosphere means there's more fuel for rain when storms happen so more extreme precipitation and I say extreme precipitation I am talking about storms like this this is from just a few months ago in Bottle California the type of storms that bring so much rain at once that they cause dammed up Lakes to overtop the dams or even break the dams and cause massive flooding like this um now the thing about rainfall is there's a lot of different ways that rain and snow and precipitation is the term that we use for that happens you know hurricanes are one way that's an obvious one from the news right now this here represents what we call a mesocyclone or a large thunderstorm system these are the types of storms that generate tornadoes they generate a lot of rain and then of course this map here is reminiscent of maps that you might see in a typical you know TV weather forecast showing high and low pressure systems fronts and things like that these frontal systems generate rain low pressure systems tend to generate rain now the thing is the physics the physical processes that control and drive these weather systems are different so hurricanes for example they get all their fuel and energy from warm ocean temperatures so hurricane Adelia is so it it intensified so quickly because temperatures in the Gulf were so warm these mesocyclones they get their energy from warm temperatures at the surface and relatively cool dry temperatures Aloft in the atmosphere what the term we use for that is instability convective instability these types of low pressure systems and frontal systems they get their energy from the contrast in warm temperatures and the tropics and cold temperatures at the poles why am I bringing this all up because to bring it back to climate change climate change is affecting all of these factors in different ways of course warmer temperatures in the atmosphere means warmer temperatures temperatures in the ocean instability that's actually still really active research topic it's not entirely clear what global warming is going to do to this sort of convective storm these frontal systems it's interestingly global warming actually causes more warming in the polar regions than it does in the tropics so it reduces this gradient it reduces the fuel for these types of storms so what I'm getting at is that climate change affects these different types of weather differently and so from my point of view as a scientist that's really interesting because that's the type of thing that I want to study so that brings us to the focus of this talk a specific type of weather phenomenon called an atmospheric River and just to highlight what I mean this is a satellite image that I'm showing and I've just drawn a sort of a cheap outline around the cloud cover which is shown in white here and just for reference this is California here the west coast of the United States this long band of clouds is what we call an atmospheric River if we go to the American Meteorological Society AMS definition of an atmospheric River it's a long narrow transient Corridor of horizontal water vapor transport it's just a fancy way of saying a lot of water is being blown horizontally by the wind in a fairly narrow area why do we call them atmospheric Rivers well if you measure the amount of water vapor so water in the form of gas it's moving horizontally in this atmospheric River it's actually about as much is being transported horizontally in the form of liquid water in the Amazon River these are literally rivers of water in the sky um now they're really important globally for uh climate they transport water from the tropics to the poles they also transport heat but for the purposes of our talk or this talk here they're associated with extreme weather and to bring it back to this specifically this image here comes from a series of atmospheric rivers that happen back to back uh this spring and actually they're this is a really interesting year there are quite a few of these back-to-back atmospheric rivers that hit the west coast of the United States and brought a lot of water now I want to make the point that these uh atmospheric Rivers don't just happen on the west coast because it's for those of you who are coming joining from California you've probably heard about these in the news if other others of you have heard about them you've probably heard about atmospheric rivers in California but they're everywhere um and by everywhere I mean everywhere all the time there are multiple of them so this animation is showing it's about two years worth of data I'm not going to go through the whole thing you can see the counter up here so it's about two days every second or so what the animation is showing the thing to focus on is this quantity called integrated Vapor transport the number just represents how much water is being blown horizontally by the wind so these bright orange yellow red colors they represent areas of strong horizontal Vapor transport you can see often these long narrow bands of horizontal water vapor transport atmospheric Rivers and they're all over every time you see these bright areas light up that represents a new atmospheric River viewer to count um like if I paused it right now it looks like there's maybe three or four in the northern hemisphere maybe five or six in the southern generally there's about 10 at any given time um there's other information in this figure things like fronts and stuff this is actually a technical animation that I use with students to try and train them to identify atmospheric rivers and meteorological imagery but for the purposes of our talk our discussion here we can see that you know they're everywhere all the time the catch is they don't always make landfall in this animation we're seeing them hit the coastline at least the west Western U.S coastline quite a lot but they don't always do that the other thing I want to point out especially if we go back a little bit to Spring you can see them here in the eastern half of the U.S quite a lot in the midwest so they they do matter across the United States and I'll come back to that point in just a minute

okay so when I say it matters whether or not they hit make landfall it's really the difference between drought and flight so this figure comes from the California Department of Water Resources this is what's called the eight station index it's a measure of how much water falls in this Basin in Northern California the horizontal axis is time the left part is October so rain starts to fall in California in the fall so they start their water year in October and the x-axis goes through the next October the y-axis the this axis represents them the cumulative amount of rainfall that falls up to that point in time so let's trace the one of these lines 2016-2017 stands out from the rest so it's easy to follow this was the wettest year on record just a few years ago so if we trace this along no rainfall mid-october suddenly there's an increase that represents a single storm and I can tell you from having studied this year quite a lot each one of these storms is an atmospheric River most of the rainfall actually in California comes from atmospheric Rivers so each time this line jumps upward that's a storm you maybe have series of storms so this wettest year came about because there are a lot of atmospheric rivers and each of them directly hit this area and dumped a lot of water let's contrast that with the one of the driest years on record that just happened a few years later so no rain until November a few small bumps and these bumps there's not many of them and they're not very big so there weren't many atmospheric rivers and when they happened they were just glancing blows on this area so too few atmospheric Rivers means throughout and when I say drought I mean it's the difference between major reservoirs this is one of the largest reservoirs in California lake Oroville in 2015 one of the one of the driest years after a series of years without many atmospheric Rivers you know you um there's some pretty classic images of this this Lake where the docks are 100 feet from the shore right a normal year where you you have you know a good 20 or something atmospheric rivers in the year you have a nice full lick level a year like 2016-17 where you have so many atmospheric Rivers at once you get so much water that the dam managers can't actually keep up the water overflows the dam and actually causes a lot of damage in this case there was no uh no loss of life but lots of damage to the dam itself okay now I want to bring it back to the Midwest here with a very specific example since I know some of you are joining from Bloomington and I know all of you have a connection with Bloomington uh just a couple of years ago June 19 2021 there was a really big storm that happened to be an atmospheric River so you can see here satellite imagery long band of clouds this red line outlines an atmospheric River uh we won't get into the details of how this was how this line was drawn but this was objectively drawn using a computer algorithm the Orange Line represents basically a big cluster of thunderstorms the Blue Area represents a Zone a frontal system like the front line you might see in a weather forecast and then these this color here in the background represents essentially a radar image of rain this other graph represents uh time on the x-axis and then two-day rainfall the reason I'm using two day here is because the record I was analyzing here is actually daily rainfall and this storm went overnight and so the catch is If part of the rainfall was recorded in one day part was recorded in the other so to get around that I'm looking at two day totals in two days over six inches of rain fell at this one station other stations report reported uh about seven inches and actually that rain fell over a period of about six or seven hours overnight um if you look back on the record this was the highest in 100 years third third highest on record in Bloomington caused by an atmospheric River and this was Major for those of you who lived here at the time I'm sure you remember it for those of you who didn't this is Kirkwood Avenue um behind the stop sign here would be uh the uh the gates um so you can see here lots of water on Kirkwood Avenue these are tail lights uh you can see water up to the tail lights Kirkwood Avenue flooded there was a lot of flooding around town this was a massive amount of water again from an atmospheric River if we look more systematically if we look at extreme rainfall um throughout time and I think this was uh this author Emily slinski based this on uh the top 10 or 10 of events um if you count those top 10 percent of events and ask how many of those what fraction of those were caused by atmospheric Rivers you know if you look at California you get what is consistent with what I was just arguing is that most and by most I mean like 70 or more so purples to Reds um most of the extreme rainfall comes from atmospheric Rivers Blues represent 50 so if you look at the rest of the United States the a large part of the Eastern United States 50 or more of these storms are associated with atmospheric rivers and often atmospheric Rivers occurring with other things like these big thunderstorm complexes even in the Midwest and the southeast you know lots like 70 80 percent even up into Southern Indiana associated with atmospheric Rivers so this is one of the big points I want to get across in this talk is um not many people especially out here in this part of the country appreciate that this is a weather feature and that it really matters part of the reason for that is historical this term is fairly new relatively it was introduced in scientific literature only about 25 years ago there was fairly not a little research only a little research of it about atmospheric Rivers for the first decade and it's really been only since about 2010 that it's really starting to take off most of that research by the way at least especially in the beginning focused on California which is why there's such a California Association but over the last several years other authors including myself and my students have been really digging into this idea that atmospheric Rivers do happen elsewhere and I just want to highlight some research that some students and I are doing really demonstrating that these things that these objective computer algorithms identify as atmospheric rivers are really atmospheric Rivers so this diagram on the right is from the American Meteorological society's glossary uh the definition of atmospheric Rivers showing a typical diagram of an atmospheric River showing a cold front a low pressure system off to the Northwest and a long narrow area of integrated Vapor transport this here shows the this figure shows the meteorology during atmospheric River conditions that impacted Bloomington and you see I have blanked out some important parts of the figure but the the colors represent this integrated Vapor transport it's long and narrow you've got a low pressure system to the north um there's a lot more technical information here that I won't really go into but if you look high in the atmosphere so if you were to draw a cross section from east to west through the atmospheric River you would expect the frontal system to tilt you'd expect a strong jet of wind to be blowing perpendicular to the atmosphere River Aloft most of the transport to be happening in the lower layer and we see that in the data so these really are atmospheric Rivers they're the same as the ones that happen on the west coast which is really pretty cool okay so just a recap since that was a whole lot load of information I'm about to change directions a little bit just to recap atmospheric Rivers they happen all over the globe they matter they cause a lot of extreme rainfall which results in flooding but in places that really rely on atmospheric Rivers like the western United States when they don't happen they bring drought this last point because heat waves is a really new area of research like new as in like 2021 people just started to look at this idea it should have been obvious you'll see why in a moment but nobody had really considered this until now the reason uh this should have been obvious is because of a basic piece of physics that I think a lot about of us learn in high school if not in college this idea that evaporation cools which you know just to remind you if you haven't thought about science in a very long time evaporation cools you know this intuitively because if you go outside and it's warm and you're sweating the breeze cools you that's evaporation cooling you off that feels good right condensation is a little less intuitive because we don't experience it quite as directly as evaporation but we do experience it especially out here in the Midwest so consider taking your beverage of choice out of the fridge in a on a hot humid summer day if you don't put a koozie on it the first thing that's going to happen is you're going to get a lot of water condensing on the outside that's water that's in the gas in the air condensing into liquid form on the side of this can now the thing is because of latent heat technical term for energy being released when that water condenses it's just a couple grams of water but this can of soda warms by a couple degrees through that process the Cozy by the way there's a common misconception that the Cozy is insulating the can it is but that's not the important thing what it's doing is it's preventing water from condensing onto the can that's actually the thing that really heats up your drink in the middle of the summer cool huh okay so let's take this back to the atmosphere now if we look at this white region here that root represents clouds clouds are little bits of liquid water that are condensed onto tiny particles in the atmosphere now if you measure a meter cubed of water and just for reference if you take your arm you go from the center of your chest to your arm for most people that's close to a meter give or take depending on how tall you are for our purposes that's great so imagine a cube that's a meter by a meter by a meter within that meter cubed if you were to put yourself inside that cloud there'd be a couple grams of water that couple grams of water warms that kilogram of air so a cubic meter of air is about weighs about a kilogram at least near the surface that warms the air just like it warms the can of soda by a couple of degrees that latent heat release this is a basic piece of physics that we've known about for a long time and a lot of us who study atmospheric Rivers had overlooked until a heat wave a couple years ago um some of you might have lived through it in the Pacific Northwest you might have heard about it on the news there was just an outrageous heat wave that hit Portland in particular really hard warmest temperatures on record by a long shot like they were in the like 115 degrees Fahrenheit range um now I'm going to show an animation here it's got a lot of technical information on it most of it's irrelevant but what I want to highlight here is the red outline again represents an atmospheric River detected using a computer algorithm and there's actually two atmospheric rivers in this image um ignore the green to blue shading that's kind of Irrelevant for the discussion but do focus on this dark line here oh and of course let me Orient you in case uh it's not obvious from your screen what you're looking at here we're looking at a map we're in the North Pacific this is Western North America so you can see California here here's Japan here's China right in this black line here represents temperatures that are high in the atmosphere that are above this lower threshold of about 110 degrees the reason I'm looking high in the atmosphere is because during a heat wave you tend to have air that's high up in the atmosphere be pushed towards the surface and this is the this number represents the temperature that air that's high up would reach if it was pushed towards the surface so you see this band is pretty close to the equator where 10 to be warm but Watch What Happens so we have this atmospheric River moving along you know warm temperatures moving along with it atmospheric River splits off kind of disappears for a second a new one comes about and you start getting the latent heat release and that latent heat joins with warm air that moved up from the south and those two combined to create this giant heat Dome is the colloquial term that you'll often hear uh in media this Dome of really high temperatures Aloft that is then pushed down so reaching temperatures of like 120 degrees at the surface when that air is pushed towards the surface part of the reason that air was so superheated was because of latent heat release from clouds in the atmosphere Road um there's a lot more a lot of research ongoing on this but a really recent article just came out suggesting that a lot of heat waves might actually have contributions from atmospheric Rivers which is pretty cool all right so now at this point to kind of wrap things up and bring us back to the beginning of the talk talking about climate change what about atmospheric rivers in a future warmer climate now I want to prepare you for a minute there's going to be a fire hose of information in a figure that I'm about to show I'll walk you through it bear with me okay so this is what we sometimes refer to as a postage stamp plot so each of these little panels represents a global map if you squint your eyes and look really closely you can see this represents North America South America we've got Australia here in this map again North America South America Australia just to orient you so each of these panels represents a map focus on the top row for a moment this represents observations of atmospheric Rivers column here each postage stamp on this top row represents a different objective way of identifying atmospheric Rivers turns out there's a whole different really interesting talk that I could give you about how surprisingly tricky it is to objectively identify these things but suffice to just say uh it is an important source of uncertainty in by uncertainty I mean like uncertainty and how climate change might affect atmospheric rivers that we gathered a huge group of international researchers together to apply different methods of detecting atmospheric Rivers um now the colors in these Maps represent how often they detect atmospheric rivers with that algorithm the objective algorithm for identifying atmospheric Rivers most of them uh see you know 60 to 100 days a year over the Pacific and North Atlantic some of them see less and so on so this this sort of captures knowledge that we're still building uncertainties the the technical term that we use here in the Sciences now if we go down this first the second row represents a climate model a climate model is basically just a numerical model of the weather these are the same models that are used to forecast weather actually they're almost identical they're just run for really long periods of time and they generate hypothetical sequences of weather in climates that have more greenhouse gases in this case this is just asking the question does this climate model put atmospheric rivers in the right places globally in the places where we observe them if you use the same algorithm and yeah they do so great we can simulate atmospheric Rivers really well now if we look at Future simulation so these represent simulations at the end of the century how many more days a year of atmospheric River conditions do you have and depending on the algorithm you get many more some you know on average about 30 more days a year uh in different areas some algorithms don't actually detect or don't actually project a change and that's an interesting piece of science I would love to talk about more but on average if you look across all climate models that we had available and all the algorithms the the average projection is more atmospheric rivers and warmer climate and more and larger so again technical figure but bear with me we can walk through this so the x-axis is the number of atmospheric Rivers at any given time remember when we were looking at that animation of atmospheric Rivers globally there were about 10 at any given time depending on the algorithm you might get more or less um the y-axis is the area the size of those atmospheric Rivers how large they are each of the colors represents a different way of detecting atmospheric Rivers each of the symbols represents a different climate model the closed symbols that tend to occur on the left those represent the present day number and size of atmospheric Rivers the open symbols represent the end of the century you know 2070 to 2100 and for pretty much every pair of atmospheric River and climate model that we looked at the trend is upward meaning more atmospheric rivers and larger atmosphere Rivers all right so just to recap to take us all the way back to the beginning yes the Earth is warming it's because of fossil fuel emissions it's dire but we have the ability to do something about it we as Society have to invest in doing something about it in terms of impacts more water more sorry warmer atmosphere means more water more water means more precipitation for atmospheric Rivers we see uh this is a aspect that I didn't talk about but atmospheric River rainfall tends to increase atmospheric Rivers get larger there tends to be more of them in future climate simulations so that's our hypothesis for future climate change um and just again really the one of the biggest points I wanted to get across is sort of an awareness of atmospheric Rivers if it is a thing that impacts us here one of the reasons I think we don't hear about them often in the midwest is because it just hasn't quite been studied enough in the literature to get to weather forecasters so that they actually start using this term I'm working with colleagues in the National Weather Service to change this now but you know maybe sometime in the next five years we might start to see this more forecasts out here now just to wrap things up I want to recognize that what I've shown in this talk it comes from a lot of people and I want to recognize postdoctoral researchers who've worked with me these are students who have completed their phds and did research training with me um some former PhD students former interns and some of my current students and as well as a number of undergraduate researchers including Ethan Stewart who you'll hear from momentarily who have worked with me over the years on this so many thanks to them for all the contributions and for just keeping things interesting uh you know always asking lots of really great questions and with that I would like to thank the department of energy who funded the bulk of this work through a project at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and also the Lilly endowment which here at IU funds uh super Computing Center that I use to do a lot of my research and it's in addition to the really great students we have here is one of the many reasons that I love being here at IU so thank you very much and with that I would like to reintroduce Mr Ethan Stewart one of our seniors in atmospheric Science and Mathematics who will be moderating questions from this uh from the audience so thank you all thank you very much Dr O'Brien um as we know we are on a little bit of a limited time here so we can't answer every question but we will try to get through as many as we can so starting us off Dr O'Brien we have a question from Gary who's asking that given that we know that climate change is real and happening what do you think the source of this climate change is is this more on the carbon emission side or is this more on the natural side of things yeah it is definitely the human cost side um I'm just realizing there's a slide that I meant to have in my backup slide deck um if we have a slight low in the Q a I might actually be able to pull it up and come back to it in a moment but so let me answer a slightly different question here one of the most common things that I hear colloquial or colloquially and sometimes just in media conversations is you know climate has changed all the time there uh it changes all the time past in the past there have been warmer temperatures there's been more carbon dioxide yes that is absolutely true but for the last million years we have held staple at about 280 parts per million it's gone up and down with ice ages but not much more in the last 150 years we've gone from 280 to 400 way higher than anything that's been observed in the last million years and that is exclusively because of fossil fuel emissions digging up sources of carbon that weren't in the carbon cycle before they were stored and buried for hundreds of millions of years um so unfortunately that's the problem um the part of the solution of you know deep decarbonization that report that I referred to earlier is transitioning to energy sources that are less carbon intensive so reducing usage of fossil fuels gaining more energy from solar from Electric possibly from uh nuclear sources ocean energy other sources like that and to the extent possible minimizing the use of fossil fuels because that really is the culprit uh we have another question from Roxanne who says that ARS can produce both a lot of precipitation and then some drought so what are some factors that kind of distinguish the precipitation events from the drought events yeah so that is a really interesting question um so one of the things that let's think back about that animation these atmospheric Rivers sort of forming over the ocean and moving Westward the thing that causes drought is if they don't make landfall and the thing that prevents them from making landfall if there is if there's something in the atmosphere that causes them for talking about the west coast to Veer northward or Veer Southward it's a thing called a blocking pattern so high pressure system one of the things that can systematically cause a high pressure system is actually changes uh like year to year variability is the term that we use in ocean temperatures so El Nino and La Nina for example cause uh shifts in high and low pressure systems that can actually cause large deviations in weather or the term we use as changes in circulation so that's one of the factors that leads to Drought so if you have a large a blocking condition high pressure that causes the atmospheric rivers to miss but it also the other thing that happens with high pressure is you get that substance the warm air from a loft descending towards the surface that warm air tends to cause more evaporation and dry out the surface so really the drought is just simply lack of atmospheric Rivers for one reason or another things like El Nino and La Nina are one of the reasons so yeah we have a question from Steve who wants to know that why we are seeing the increase in precipitation with atmospheric rivers and do we see that effect on the bodies of water that this water comes from do we see things like Lakes decreasing in their water content yeah okay so also really interesting question this is one of the weird paradoxes of climate change so I it might sound like I'm speaking out of both sides of my mouth because a lot our time scientists in general when we talk about climate change we talk about more extreme rainfall and more drought how can both be true they can't so think about it like this uh we have essentially a budget worldwide for how much rainfall rain can fall in a given year that budget is about three millimeters per day the reason for that budget incidentally is because of latent heat release condensation that we talked about rainfall is really important for the global energy cycle so rainfall heats up the atmosphere and that offsets cooling just you know cooling of Earth through through long wave radiation is the term that we use to space so that budget of about three millimeters per year means that if you increase the amount of really hard precipitation events it means you must have a decrease in the amount of moderate rain events or just a decrease in the frequency of events altogether so it means that the weather becomes essentially flashier when you get rain you get a lot of rain you get it all at once and then you're back to Drought conditions in between add on top of that warmer temperatures mean more evaporation from the ground meaning more uh loss of water from the ground which also tends to um increase drought congestion so it's yes we can see the effects of climate change in lakes in that they're drying out despite the fact that you know some years they almost over top because of all the extreme precipitation that happens this might be kind of related to the last question we have uh Neil who's asking how you know global warming has caused this increase in static weathered patterns and how events like extreme heat in Texas how those events can be prolonged and how does that kind of work yeah the the this question is one that is really actively being researched and there's not uh I can't give you a solid answer but I will tell you one of the I'd say most popular theories um looks at the atmosphere again like a river but not in the atmospheric River sense so one of the key features of global circulation so imagine the globe we've got a jet of air so about 10 000 feet in the air 30 000 feet sorry um you've got a jet of really strong winds that circulates the globe about you know 35-ish degrees north um this band of air separates the warm Tropics from the cold polar regions weather is basically the big bends in this so when you get a bend in this jet stream cold air comes from the north when you go to northward Bent warm air comes from the south all right so we've got this wavy jet stream that kind of acts like a river now remember earlier in the talk I talked about this idea that a warmer climate means much more warmth at the poles so less of a contrast well it's that contrast that drives this jet so less of a contrast means a weaker Jet and this is where the river analogy comes in so think about rivers in a really steep Mountain environment those rivers run straight downhill they don't Meander at all right I mean they'll call these big valleys they don't go left and right at all um they just go straight downhill so those are really high energy Rivers contrast that with rivers like the Ohio river in really flat regions those Rivers have huge bends in them these low energy so low flow has huge bends so the analogy is that a weaker jet might be able to accommodate larger and more persistent bends and that gets this question of will climate change cause more persistent weather climate models are mixed on this theory is there's there's debates about the validity of this Theory and this analogy with uh with rivers but there seems to be some evidence that yes it looks like you can get larger bends in the web in the jet stream and they're more persistent bends um I wish I had a more solid answer for you maybe in a few years we'll know more about that

all right we have a question from David who wants to know a little bit more about how these algorithms are able to automatically detect atmospheric Rivers yes I can explain the heck out of that question um I am one of the world's experts on this um okay uh let me actually go back to my slideshow sorry you got me excited um all right so remember I talked about this quantity integrated Vapor transport um this quantity is really the key thing for that most algorithms use to define atmospheric Rivers the catch is we have a qualitative definition remember I quoted the American Meteorological Society is atmospheric rivers are long um long and narrow bands of horizontal Vapor transport okay and sorry in strong horizontal Vapor transport it's a strong meaning relatively high so one of the most basic ways to do this would be to just put a threshold and the one of the first uh papers that really systematically looked at atmospheric Rivers globally just put a threshold of 250 kilograms per meter per second of Transport um the problem with that is that you see a lot of these regions in the tropics that are over that threshold where you have gray to Purple colors if we look at the animation they're not long they're not narrow and they behave totally differently from these long narrow features in the mid-latitudes this band comes about because of a global circulation feature called the intertropical Convergence Zone it's just basically you have a lot of water vapor in the air in the tropics because it's warm down there you get the easterlies they blow that air and that causes high transport that's not an atmospheric River okay so next most sophisticated thing you might do is say okay is there a way that we can filter out these large blobs somehow one way might be to say okay if we look at the shape of a potential atmospheric River we might ask is it long is it narrow so you could you could quantitatively measure that and if the length is some multiple of the the width then you might say that's an atmospheric river that would rule out these large bands also you could just you know filter out the tropics you could actually literally just say I'm not even going to look at anything from about 15 North to 15 South some algorithms have done that so each of these ways that I'm describing that you could objectively identify atmospheric Rivers translates to a quantity a choice that somebody has to make in that algorithm and that's where all that uncertainty and that global climate change figure came from is different researchers making different choices on how to objectively identify these things and unfortunately it actually really turns out it matters for our understanding of future climate change and Atmospheric Rivers

so we actually had another question about that same animation okay um do you need a second to pull that up uh got it okay perfect so Jeff wants to know that he noticed that there's a lot of atmospheric rivers that aren't existing in Russia and he wanted to know if that's more of like a typographer uh topography reason why that's happening or maybe there's just a lack of large bodies of water over there what's the reasoning behind that yeah I really like that hypothesis topography and that is exactly very likely that actually I don't know if I've seen anybody actually attribute that for Russia um there are papers that have uh rigorously demonstrated that for Western North America so if you look at this region here you know you've got uh the Rockies the Sierra Nevadas the what we call the Basin and Range Province lots of high topography in this part of the United States if you look when atmospheric Rivers hit this area they disappear pretty quickly that's because as soon as that water vapor hits a mountain it's forced upward and one of the first things I teach any of my Atmos beginning atmospheric River students is basically the ingredients for rainfall is water moving upward that's really all it takes you move water upward in the atmosphere you're going to cool it down to the point it condenses if you're condensing water the drops are probably going to get large enough that they're going to rain out of course it's way more complicated than that and we have tons of courses that we offer to our students to teach them about all those details but for our purposes that's a really good conceptual model so this air that was moving horizontally gets pushed upward and rains out that rain represents removing water vapor from the atmosphere so the less water vapor you have the less water vapor transport you have so you don't often see atmospheric rivers that make it all the way across this mountain range likewise there are large mountain regions in Europe the Alps for example and others that tend to drain atmospheric rivers of moisture also when you uh the this Atlantic region is really active for these weather features we call mid-latitude Cyclones or extra tropical Cyclones and often atmospheric Rivers occur next to these and those are really efficient at draining water from atmospheric Burgers they produce a lot of rainfall so once you go Inland and don't no longer have the ocean as a source of moisture anything that's driving rainfall is just going to make the atmospheric River Peter out so yeah in general they tend to occur more over the ocean and die off as you go inland really great question

uh we have a question from Devin who wants to know if the source of water for atmospheric Rivers is mostly coming from evaporation in the ocean or is it more of like a redistribution of the water vapor in our atmosphere that converges into an atmospheric River you're one of my scientist colleagues just like uh hanging out in the audience this is this is actually a legitimate really good science question it is actually debated um the it's both is the answer so uh the traditional conceptual model that people thought of for atmospheric Rivers is called tropical moisture export basically you're just moving water out of the tropics that's redistribution um the other model is local convergence meaning that you have air coming together that both through evaporation as that air moves and just the air being pushed together and sort of essentially pushing the water together in a small narrow region leads to really high concentration of water vapor in some situations it seems like that convergence dominates over the tropical export but that hasn't been systematically looked at globally this is still an interesting question one I'm personally really interested in examining more I don't know what the answer is but I suspect it's probably more convergence than tropical moisture export

okay shifting gears a little bit more towards general climate change questions um Boone wants to know if we're doing enough today to slow down climate change and if we're not what can we do to help slow down global warming

um the answer is no uh not yet um and I say that definitively because if you look at greenhouse gas emissions over the last several years they're actually higher than some of the climate change projections some of the most extreme climate change projections from the last decade so no we need to slow a lot a lot um what we need to do I mean individual action definitely does help and I didn't emphasize that enough doing so doing things that increase Energy Efficiency lead to decreases in fossil fuel usage that said the problem is not going to be solved totally through individual action it has to be Society Global Society somehow coming together and saying we are going to stop emitting carbon dioxide there are lots of solutions I mean the the recent Paris Accord and the inner governmental panel on climate change um the United Nations framework for climate change UNF Triple C missing a c in there these are international bodies that pay a lot of attention to this but really what it comes down to is individual countries themselves have to agree and then commit to changes in policy that drive changes in how we use energy things that incentivize using alternative energy sources things that incentivize people trying to invent new ways of using energy things that incentivize people to actually try and physically pull carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere and somehow store it back in the ground this is called carbon capture and storage so if in my personal point of view and this I am getting political for the first and probably only time in this talk if climate change is something that really matters to you you have to at a minimum let the people who politically represent you know that it's important to you if enough people do that that might start to change things if it's really really important for you consider running for office I think there's not enough people who do that we'll leave it there so what would you say are some of the like the personal day-to-day things that we could do to avoid climate change like for example Jim suggests would increase tree planting and replacement help combat climate change and then he has a follow-up question about that would increasing the amount of trees we have actually divert atmospheric Rivers oh that's a cool question um okay I'm not going to allow myself to get totally distracted by that one let me come back to that um so trees are let me step back um overall question day-to-day actions so you know the basic things turning off lights um trying to keep your AC at a slightly higher level throughout the day these things reduce energy usage reductions in energy usage translate directly to reductions in carbon emissions because the majority of our energy sources right now are carbon energy sources um other things that so transportation is another major source of carbon dioxide emissions so reducing travel is one way that some people a choice that some people make that gets into what I was referring to earlier on is you know I personally favor ways of dealing with climate change that don't make us give up quality of life and I think travel is a part of our high quality of life right now but until we come up with good Solutions that's probably a good thing to consider doing traveling less planting trees now that is a really interesting complicated one yes it a growing tree absolutely takes carbon dioxide out of the atmosphere the literally the material in all vegetation comes from carbon that comes from the air a little bit from soil but most of it's from the air so yes a tree represents sequestered carbon the catch is for it to matter that tree has to persist and so how do we guarantee you that a tree that's planted is going to be managed through one lifetime two lifetimes several Generations how do we know how do we manage a forest in such a way that forest fires don't burn that Forest down and just immediately admit that carbon dioxide in the atmosphere so trees are a really complicated one and I think there's there's growing research and thought being put into how we do carbon offsets with trees um I still think more trees is definitely better and if we value them as a society um we're more likely to try and you know uh curate forests and urban and Suburban forests and stuff like that but um trees impacting atmospheric Rivers the answer is probably yes um I mean there they definitely change the patterns of evaporation um and that would could my guess is if so if you if I did a climate model simulation which Ethan by the way this is a climate model simulation we could run here we could consider a simulation where we force the entire United States yeah maybe the entire United States I suspect that would lead to an increase in evaporation meaning stronger atmospheric Rivers I don't know interesting question

we have a question from Douglas who wants to know what the role human population growth has on climate change and um the amount of human consumption we have is that playing a role in global warming this is getting into an area where I'm not an expert I am a physical scientist but from colleagues I've talked to yes population and in particular in particular the in um consumer intensity that we have um I think the amount that we use and waste things uh not I think I mean I've heard evidence that the amount that we use in waste things is a contributor to carbon dioxide emissions everything that we buy especially if it's you know if we buy it online has to be transported that transport uses fossil fuels the packaging the the creation of those materials uh Plastics actually generally today involve fossil fuels so everything in the life cycle of buying something new involves fossil fuels in some way and that is a contribution to fossil fuel emissions so reducing the intensity of consumerism and again getting back to just my personal bias here without reducing quality of life I think would be a great type of solution and that's this is more just changing culture reusing things more um enacting policies maybe that incentivize companies to make longer Lasting products products that don't uh By Design go obsolete really quickly um that could contribute to yeah

uh Marcia wants to know how today's climate change is comparing to climate change that we know have happened like thousands and millions of years ago um the answer is um there have been some bigger events in the past um

so this figure shows carbon dioxide through time over the last 400 million years um the X so the left axis is back in time 400 million years ago this is basically like the beginning of the age of the dinosaurs uh 65 million years represents the end of the age of the dinosaurs I'm using for those of you who have studied um you know dinosaurs I'm using really loose terminology here this is not actually things that we think of as dinosaurs didn't actually appear until around this time but bear with me so there are two y-axis here let's focus on the right y-axis here atmospheric carbon dioxide concentration for reference um we are right about here 400 parts per million um actually started right about here uh historically we were at about 280. so going back in time there are enormous fluctuations um future climate projections if we do nothing about climate change put carbon dioxide levels right about here in the 800 to a thousand region so yes we have seen uh Earth's history has seen carbon dioxide swings that are larger than we see today but that takes us to the other y-axis um oh sorry the other uh the other thing that I need to add to this figure I've added on here the extinction intensity and so looking back at records of fossils um you know and sedimentary rocks and things like that um how often entire species just disappear from The Rock record and you can see a lot of these really big Extinction events coincide with pretty high levels of carbon dioxide not all of them for example we know that 65 million years ago it was a big meteorite that caused the extinction but these high CO2 levels especially ones where there's really rapid increases in carbon dioxide cause climate change that plants and animals can't keep up with and that causes extinctions this here represents the extinction intensity right now that we can measure we are going through the sixth major Extinction um so yes climate has changed in the past it has not been good for things that live tried to live through it so um but I do want to re-emphasize on a cheerier note I do think it's possible to deal with this but yeah that really emphasizes this is dire really dire so um all right Dr O'Brien I think we have time for one more question um and it'll actually be coming from me so according to Berkeley Earth this July globally was the warmest July we've had on record since 1850. how big of a role do you think anthropogenic climate change has played in this oh boy okay so you've just asked me the question about detection and attribution thank you that's uh uh just for for context Ethan's taking a class with me on this and we've talked about this a lot so um I the blunt answer is I don't know because Studies have not been done that formally estimate the impact of climate change there's a there's a technique that uses um either statistical modeling or climate models climate models that have carbon dioxide and effectively humans in it versus climate models that don't and looking at how often you get temperatures that are as high as you got in July and you can estimate the contribution of um of uh anthropogenic greenhouse gases to that record my gut feeling though based on all the past detection and attribution studies is I'm going to leave that as an ellipsis what do you think Ethan since you've taken a class on this what's your guess my guess would be that yes Anthony progenic climate change does have a hand in this really warm July globally but I think a lot of it is also driven by natural causes like the strong El Nino that we're still entering Bingo you got it perfect answer a plus all right thank you yeah and with that I think that concludes our q a session and I will hand things over to our host Vanessa great thank you again for joining us and participating in this evening's live stream I would like to personally thank Professor Brian and Mr Steward for their time and expertise we are grateful to you all finally I should acknowledge that events like this would not be possible without the support of donors who understand the value of a liberal arts education if you would like to support programs like tonight's presentation or other opportunities that connect alumni and friends with the College of Arts and Sciences please consider making a contribution to the IU Bloomington College alumni engagement fund at the Indiana University Foundation until next time please take care

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