2021 Speakers

Additional speakers to be announced.

Keynote Speaker

Al Roker’s storied career, as well as his passion, interest and curiosity in climate change.

Al Roker

As a host and weatherman of NBC’s Today Show, along with Savannah Guthrie and Hoda Kotb, Al Roker has the undivided attention of the nation (over 30 million viewers per week) every weekday morning as America prepares for school and work.

Spanning more than 40 years on TV and 13 Emmy awards, Al conducts interviews with celebrities and newsmakers around the world and does a wide variety of segments on every imaginable subject. Al also co-anchors the popular Third Hour of Today, presenting lifestyle segments that touch all Americans.

In addition to his on-air NBC duties, Al also hosts Off The Rails with Dylan Dreyer and Sheinelle Jones, Tuesdays on TODAY Radio on SiriusXM, and COLD CUTS with Al Roker on Today.com and YouTube as part of the Today Originals series.

Al is also an accomplished television producer. He is the owner and CEO of Al Roker Entertainment, Inc. creating a vast array of programs for cable, digital, social media, and home video. Notably, Al was the Executive Producer of the award-winning Coast Guard Alaska and Coast Guard Florida series for The Weather Channel, now currently airing nightly on Pluto TV.

As a bestselling author with 12 acclaimed books to his credit, Al’s mystery novel, The Morning Show Murders (part of a 3-book mystery fiction trilogy) is now a TV staple airing on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries, starring Holly Robinson Peete and Rick Fox.

Al’s latest (and 13th) book is slated for release on June 2, 2020. You Look So Much Better In Person – True Stories Of Absurdity and Success is a humorous collection of essays based on lessons for living a happy life and achieving success through the power of saying “yes!”

Al made his Broadway stage debut in Waitress the Musical to rave reviews in October 2018 at the Brooks Atkinson Theatre in New York City, playing the part of Old Joe, the owner of Joe’s Diner. He reprised this role in November 2019.

Al lives in New York City with his wife, ABC Correspondent, Deborah Roberts and has three kids.


Severe Weather: Hurricanes, Tornadoes, Fires

This year weather has been anything but uneventful what with hurricanes, tornadoes, and fires. With climate change impacts, the strength of hurricanes and the damage left in their paths draws growing concern for many. Science media are looking for accurate information to share with their viewers and readers around the country.

Phil Klotzbach, Research Scientist in the Department of Atmospheric Science at Colorado State University

Considered one of the country’s leading experts in severe weather, Phil Klotxbach received his Ph.D. in Atmospheric Science from CSU in 2007. Klotzbach has been employed in the Department of Atmospheric Science for the past 20 years and was co-author on the Atlantic basin hurricane forecasts with Dr. William Gray through 2005. He became first author on the seasonal hurricane forecasts in 2006. Klotzbach developed the two-week forecasts currently being issued during the peak months of the hurricane season between August-October. He has authored over 75 articles in peer-reviewed journals such as Journal of Climate and Weather and Forecasting.

Klotzbach graduated from Bridgewater State College with a BS degree in Geography in 1999. He attended Colorado State University and received his Masters degree in Atmospheric Science in 2002. Klotzbach through hiked the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine (2100+ miles). He has also climbed all 54 14,000 foot peaks in Colorado, and has completed nine marathons and six ultra-marathons.

Atmospheric Rivers – Observations and Modeling; Weather-Climate Linkages; Variability; Prediction and Predictability


Duane Waliser, Chief Scientist of the Earth Science and Technology Directorate at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory 

Duane Waliser is Chief Scientist of the Earth Science and Technology Directorate at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) in Pasadena, California, which formulates, develops, and operates of a wide range of Earth science remote sensing instruments for NASA’s airborne and satellite program. His principal research interests lie in Earth system processes, observations and modeling; weather-climate linkages, particularly subseasonal to seasonal (S2S) variability; prediction and predictability; and the Earth’s water cycle. His recent foci at JPL involves working within NASA and across agencies to enable and enhance societal benefits from our growing understanding, observing and modeling capabilities of the Earth System. He received a B.S. in physics and a B.S. in computer science from Oregon State University in 1985, an M.S. in physics from UC San Diego in 1987, and his Ph.D. in physical oceanography from the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego in 1992.

Panel Discussion: Climate Change — Impacts & Possible Solutions


Michael Dettinger, Research Associate Scripps Institution of Oceanography

Dr. Michael Dettinger is a visiting researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Center for Western Weather and Water Extremes, a resident scientist at the University of Nevada Reno, and a distinguished visiting researcher at the Desert Research Institute. He was also a senior research hydrologist for the U.S. Geological Survey’s Water Resources Mission Area (Water Cycle Branch). Dettinger has monitored and researched the hydrology, climates, and water resources of the West for 40 years, focusing on regional water resources, watershed modeling, causes of hydro-climatic variability and extremes (including atmospheric rivers and droughts), and climate-change impacts and adaptations.

He is a Fellow of the American Geophysical Union and the Association for the Advancement of Science, is a recipient of two California Climate Science Service Awards, and recently chaired the American Meteorology Society’s Water Resources Committee. He was a lead author on the Water Resources chapter of the 2013 National Climate Assessment, co-organized the 2013 Southwest Climate Assessment report, co-edited State of Bay-Delta Science reports in 2008 and 2016, and led the California Fourth Climate-Change Assessment Sierra Nevada Region Report in 2018.

He has authored over 150 scientific articles in scholarly journals and books, 30+ government reports, and another 90+ articles and reports in less formal outlets. These publications have been cited more than 27,000 times in the scientific literature (more than 12,000 times in the past five years), with 59 of the articles cited 100 or more times. His degrees are from UC San Diego (BA, Physics), MIT (MS, Civil Engineering), and UC Los Angeles (PhD, Atmospheric Sciences).

Daniel Swain, Climate Scientist, UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability

Dr. Daniel Swain currently holds joint appointments as a climate scientist within UCLA’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability, a research fellow in the Capacity Center for Climate and Weather Extremes at the National Center for Atmospheric Research, and as the California Climate Fellow at The Nature Conservancy. His research focuses on the physics, dynamics, and impacts of the Earth’s changing climate system–with a particular focus on how global warming is affecting the character and causes of regional climate extremes such as droughts, floods and wildfires. Recent work includes efforts to understand the changing spatiotemporal character of precipitation, including the rising risk of California “megafloods” in a warming climate, as well as the weather and climate drivers of increasing wildfire severity in California. A key aim of this research is to develop empirically-supported approaches to natural hazard mitigation that benefit both society and the environment in an era of increasing climate whiplash.

He engages extensively with journalists and other partners, serving as a climate and weather science liaison to print, radio, television, and web media outlets to facilitate broadly accessible but scientifically informed coverage surrounding climate change and natural disasters. Daniel also authors the Weather West blog, which provides real-time perspectives on California and western North American weather and climate. He can be found on Twitter (@Weather_West).

Daniel received his B.S. in Atmospheric Science from UC Davis, his Ph.D. in Earth System Science from Stanford University, and completed his post-doctoral training at UCLA.


Wildland Fire-Climate-Weather Connections, Management Planning, Policy, and Interfacing Between Science and Decision-Making


Tim Brown, Research Professor, Climatology and Director of Western Regional Climate Center

Dr. Tim Brown is a Research Professor and conducts applied research at the Desert Research Institute (DRI) in Reno, Nevada. His primary academic interests include wildland fire-climate-weather connections; the fire environment; application development for wildland fire management planning, decision-making and policy; and interfacing between science and decision-making. He is Director of the Western Regional Climate Center (WRCC) and the Program for Climate, Ecosystem and Fire Applications (CEFA) at DRI. He is graduate faculty in the University of Nevada, Reno Atmospheric Sciences Program and quandom Adjunct at the Monash University School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment Science Faculty, Clayton, Victoria, Australia.