Climate Change News (CCN)- Summer 2010

Climate Change News (CCN) is a quarterly newsletter designed to keep you up-to-date on PCC activities and to help create an integrated, interdisciplinary community of students, faculty and researchers working on issues related to climate.

July 2010


The Program on Climate Change is a group of 300 + students, faculty and staff, organized around interdisciplinary climate science research and education. With a strong foundation in the physical, chemical and geological sciences, but working together to address larger questions of climate that require an understanding of earths' systems. The requirements of the graduate certificate in climate science (GCeCS offered through the PCC to enrolled graduate students), include a strong foundation in math and physics, requirements that are needed to understand the dynamics of climate. Many of the core faculty engaged in PCC activities use this foundation to address societal problems related to climate. Examples include:

PCC Director Chris Bretherton, an atmospheric scientist with interests in atmospheric convection, and boundary layer cloudiness and numerical modeling, was one of a team of scientists to be awarded a grant from the College of the Environment to address issues related to geoengineering, including the climatic, ethical and sociological implications of various geoengineering proposals. Chris Bretherton was also selected as one of the lead authors in the Clouds and Aerosols section of the IPCC fifth assessment (WG1 AR5). Other active PCC participants selected as lead authors include Dennis Hartmann (UW), Richard Feely (NOAA/PMEL), Chris Sabine (NOAA/PMEL), Greg Johnson (NOAA/PMEL), and James Overland (NOAA/PMEL).

LuAnne Thompson, a physical oceanographer who uses numerical and analytical models of ocean circulation to investigate the role that the oceans play in climate variability, was has been awarded a Fellowship in the joint Department of Global Health and College of the Environment focus on Climate Change and Global Health. This is a joint effort by the College of Built Environments, the College of Engineering, the School of Public Health, and the School of Nursing to build an interdisciplinary effort for Adaptive solutions for Human Health and the Environment. A group of 10 fellows will work together over the next year to build a common language and understanding of how knowledge of environmental change can lead to solutions to problems in health in the developing world. LuAnne Thompson also received a NASA Global Climate Change Education grant to develop curriculum for a dual-credit climate science course for high school seniors, and work with teachers to deliver the curriculum. This NASA GCCE project is a collaboration between the UW Program on Climate Change, UW in the High School, and the Department of Atmospheric Sciences.

Through faculty and student profiles, short notes and activity descriptions, we hope this newsletter helps our readers gain an understanding of our mission and reach.

2010 PCC Summer Institute, "Climate Feedbacks": September 15th-17th, 2010

A preliminary list of speakers can be found at the event page:

Although we are accepting registration until August 1, we have now reached capacity. We will therefore NOT be able to accept registration by anyone other than speakers. UW faculty, students and staff can submit registrations and will be accepted if space becomes available.

Reminder to all Graduate Student registrants: Paper Discussion Sessions Graduate Student paper discussion sessions are scheduled for 1-3 PM on Wed August 25, Wed September 1 and Wed Sept 8 in 310c ATG.

Graduate Certificate in Climate Science-Updates

The Graduate Certificate in Climate Science (GCeCS) was created to provide an interdisciplinary training in methods, research issues, and communication of climate science that enhances the scientific breadth and professional employability of GCeCS awardees. The certificate combines the PCC courses, specifically designed to address the cross-linkages in the earth system that disciplinary curricula are not able to do, with a capstone project in Communicating Climate Science.

For complete description visit:

Julian Sachs will be acting as adviser/coordinator for the GCeCS capstone beginning September 2010. You can contact him to discuss your proposal ideas and obtain proposal approval. Many thanks to Lia Slemons who did a wonderful job as capstone adviser during the spring 2010 quarter, and who handed her notes and suggestions to Julian.

The certificate has a requirement that participants gain formal training in communication, and engage in evaluation of their capstone projects. Two courses are offered this year that can be substituted for the Communicating Climate Science seminar (see course offerings below).

For those of you joining us at the PCC Summer Institute, there will be an opportunity to hear from others who have done capstone projects and to get suggestions for projects that build on your interests.

Summer Institute 2011 and 2011/2012 Annual Theme

We will transition from our current research theme (Climate Feedbacks) to Water and Climate beginning winter 2011. Our Summer Institute in 2011 was accepted as a Friday Harbor Lab Centennial Symposium. The discussion at the 2011 SI will center on the impacts of past and future climate change on the hydrological cycle. The primary focus will be on global-scale changes, including drought, impacts on water availability and agriculture. A secondary focus will be on predicted effects of a changed water cycle in the Pacific Northwest.

Undergraduate Office Assistant Wanted

The PCC bid farewell to Alexandra (Lexi) Brewer at the end of spring quarter as she started a NOAA Hollings fellowship this summer and will be off to Finland in the fall for a year abroad doing ocean/climate research. We are now looking for a new undergraduate office assistant; ideally a freshman or sophomore in ESS, Atmos or Ocean, with an interest in communicating with various audiences. Other characteristics that are an asset: independent, technology savy, work-study (would be lovely but not required), and flexible. Generally 4-8 hours/week with more during special events. Contact Miriam in the PCC office for more information.

2010-2011 Anticipated PCC Course Offerings

Autumn 2010
Climate Dynamics (OCN/ATMS/ESS 587)
Instructor(s):Stephen Riser(OCN)and Dargan Frierson(ATMS)

Current Research in Climate Change(OCN/ATMS/ESS 586)Instructor: James W. Murray(OCN)

Winter 2011
The Global Carbon Cycle and Climate(ATMS/OCN/ESS 588)
Instructor(s): Julian Sachs(OCN)and Lyatt Jaegle(ATMS)

Communicating Climate Science Seminar(ATMS/OCN/ESS 593)
WILL LIKELY NOT BE TAUGHT THIS YEAR. Alternatives for GCeCS students include the ENGAGE seminar this fall (2 credits, ASTRO599/BH597) or Communicating Sciences in the spring (4 credits, OCEAN 592).

Climate Impacts on the Pacific Northwest (ATMS 585A/ENVIR 585A/ESS 585A/SMA 585A)
Instructors: Nathan Mantua(SFA)and Amy Snover (CIG)

Current Research in Climate Change (OCN/ATMS/ESS 586) Geoengineering
Instructors: Rob Wood (ATMS), Steve Gardiner (Philosophy) and Chris Bretherton (ATM)

Spring 2011
Paleoclimatology: Data, Modeling and Theory(ATMS/ESS/OCN 589)
Instructors: Eric Steig(ESS)and David Battisti(ATMS)

Energy and Climate Policy(PBAF 595)
Instructor: Michael Lazarus(SEI)
(Cosponsored with Evans School of Public Affairs)

Link to our compilation of Climate Related Courses across campus.

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Contributing to PCC Programs

Are you interested in helping the PCC via a private donation? If so, please contact Chris (206-685-7414 or or Miriam (206-543-6521 or or give directly through the UW foundation website. We welcome contributions of all sizes!

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