Katharine Hayhoe is an expert on climate change modeling and public policy; she works as a Professor of Political Science and Director of the Climate Science Center at Texas Tech University. She is perhaps best known to the wider world as a passionate advocate for action against climate change and an expositor of scientific fact.
She began her scientific career with a double major in Physics and Astronomy at U of T, but soon saw an opportunity to use her skillset in the field of climate science.
Like the best science communicators, Hayhoe does not hold anything back when it comes to the details of models and hypotheses. In a recent CNN interview, she was asked about the role of climate change in forming the hurricane trifecta that struck the US and Caribbean last year: Irma, Harvey, and Maria. Hayhoe explained that the back-to-back hurricanes were simply a statistical anomaly, but that their ferocity could be tied directly to rising sea levels and warmer global temperatures — a trend that is expected to continue.
Hayhoe is perhaps unique among other scientific advocates in that she engages with matters of religion and faith as often as she does science. She is an evangelical Christian, and her husband is a pastor and professor. The couple have written a book together, titled A Climate for Change, about how Christians can reconcile, understand, and ultimately align climate change action with their faith.
Hayhoe’s unique knowledge of both spiritual and scientific matters enables her to educate those who might see science as antagonistic to religion.
“I believe we are called, first of all, to love each other, and second of all, to act,” she said. Today, Hayhoe is found on the front lines fighting for climate change awareness and government legislation to combat it.
She is on Twitter and runs a YouTube channel in conjunction with PBS Digital Studios called Global Weirding. Named in 2014 as one of TIME’s 100 Most Influential People, Hayhoe will be shaping the public perception of climate science for a long time.
This article is published as part of a series of profiles in honour of the International Day of Women and Girls in Science on February 11.