Cloud Specialist Tackles Global Environmental Problems from Multifaceted Perspective
Extreme weather has been occurring more frequently around the world in recent years. Stopping the progression of global warming is an urgent imperative for the global community. Professor Takashi Nakajima is working to help curb global warming and solve other environmental problems through the mechanism of something very close to our everyday lives: clouds. We asked him about his recent research and prospects for the future.
Interviewer: Masayoshi Nakane
Question: There’s been a major development in climate change research recently, hasn’t there?
Answer: A joint research paper was announced in May by researchers from the Meteorological Research Institute, Atmosphere and Ocean Research Institute (The University of Tokyo), and National Institute for Environmental Studies. Last summer, the Japanese archipelago experienced record-breaking summer temperatures of over 40°C. The paper makes clear that last year’s sweltering summer could not have occurred outside the influence of global warming caused by greenhouse gas emissions from human activity since the industrial revolution.
Q: Speaking of satellites, Tokai University has a long history of satellite earth observation.
A: In 1974, the Research & Information Center was established at Tokai University and began collecting satellite data, and in 1986, the university’s Space Information Center was established in Kumamoto. The centers conduct integrated handling of satellite data, from reception to processing. Earth observation data is also received at Techno Cube (Bldg. 19), which opened on the university’s Shonan Campus in 2017. The university has the optimal infrastructure for conducting earth observation research.
Q: What would you say to people interested in studying environmental issues?
A: Global warming is a critical problem that affects everything that lives on earth, people, plants and animals. To the extent that global warming is expected to impact future generations—our children and our children’s children and beyond—environmental science and earth sciences are currently extremely popular research areas. I would therefore hope even more students become interested in these areas and that we have the opportunity to study together at Tokai University.
Department of Human and Information Science, School of Information Science and Technology; Research & Information Center
Professor Takashi Nakajima
Born in Tokyo in 1968. Graduated from Tokyo University of Science’s Department of Physics in the Faculty of Science. After completing a master’s degree in earth and planetary science at the Graduate School of Science of the University of Tokyo, he joined the National Space Development Agency of Japan (now JAXA). Acquired doctorate degree from the University of Tokyo in 2002. Hired by Tokai University in 2005; has held current position since 2013. Academic affiliations include the Japan Geoscience Union, Meteorological Society of Japan (MSJ), Remote Sensing Society of Japan (RSSJ), and American Meteorological Society. Major awards include Tokai University’s Shigeyoshi Matsumae Academic Award, the RSSJ Researcher Award, and MSJ Horiuchi Award.