Climate Change News (CCN)- Autumn 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.

October 2010


With summer long gone, it's time to welcome some new people to the UW PCC community.

Six new PCC fellows:
Katherine (Katie) Wetzel, Oceanography.
Hilary Palevsky (honorary fellow), Oceanography. Hilary received both the National Defense Science and Engineering Graduate fellowship (NDSEG) and National Science Foundation (NSF) Graduate Research Fellowship, so had to decline the PCC fellowship.
Emily Newsom and Max Stevens both in ESS, whom many of you met at the Summer Institute this past Sept.
Chen Zhang, Atmospheric Sciences.
Nic Wayand, Civil and Environmental Engineering

Two new postdoctoral researchers: Last year the PCC and JISAO combined efforts and hired two postdocs in climate:

Camille Lique is currently working in France at IFREMER; she is scheduled to arrive in January 2011. Camille is an author of "On the origins of water masses exported along both sides of Greenland: A Lagrangian model analysis." JGR, VOL. 115, C05019, 20 PP., 2010 doi:10.1029/2009JC005316

Samantha Siedlecki was able to meet many of the PCC graduate students and faculty at the 2010 Summer Institute--while she awaited the arrival of her belongings. Samantha's interview included a seminar on "The role of the bottom boundary layer in biogeochemical cycles of the coastal ocean" (abstract). She will be working with UW and NOAA scientists on understanding and modeling carbon and CO2 cycles.

A few final notes: The graduate students have elected a new Graduate Student Representative (GSR) to the PCC -- welcome Andrea Fassbender (Ocean).

We also welcome Julian Sachs(Ocean)to the PCC Advisory Board and to his new role as capstone adviser for the Graduate Certificate in Climate Science.

Finally, the PCC has a new undergraduate assistant...Bryan Djunaedi, a freshman with many interests and a "pre-science" focus.

A good start to the year.

You can meet and welcome these new participants and revisit some of your interdisciplinary climate concepts at the annual PCC (late) Fall Social on November 3 at 5:30 at the Waterfront Activity Center. (Please register here).


Past: 2010 PCC Summer Institute, "Climate Feedbacks"

The PCC Summer Institute took place at Friday Harbor Labs from September 15-17. The topic this year was Climate Feedbacks, and we were treated to talks on all aspects of climate feedbacks from 14 speakers. The invited speakers were Alex Hall (UCLA) who spoke on constraining high latitude climate feedbacks with observations, Irina Marinov (U Penn) who discussed ocean biology impacts on the carbon cycle, and Dave Schimel (NEON) who spoke on terrestrial carbon cycle feedbacks. PCC speakers gave talks on everything from clouds and ocean heat uptake to ice sheets and atmospheric composition. Extended discussion periods made for spirited debate during many of the sessions. A complete list of speakers with links to presentations can be found at the 2010 Summer Institute event page.

On Wednesday night there was a musical performance featuring feedback-themed music including "Feedback" (to the tune of "Get Back") about the invited speakers by Mark Zelinka. The SI was completely at capacity, with 82 attendees. This means you should reserve your seats early for next year's SI, which will be on Water and Climate!

-2010 SI Organizer, Dargan Frierson, Atmospheric Sciences

Present: Graduate Student Climate Conference

For the third time, the climate conference for and by graduate students took place October 15-17 at Pack Forest. Eighty some international, national and local participants, as speakers or presenters of posters, and, as in the past, it was a great success. The next GCC will be hosted by MIT in about 18 months. See the GCC website for more information:

Future: 2011 PCC Summer Institute: Climate Change and the Hydrological Cycle

Once again a FHL Centennial Symposium, the PCC Summer Institute in 2011 will be in mid-September. We'll look at 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.

PCC 586 "Geoengineering: Science, Policy and Ethics"

Seminar series, Winter Quarter 2011, Wednesdays, 3:30-4:50pm

Humans are expected to more than double the concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere by the end of this century, even under scenarios that assume the world will aggressively move away from fossil fuels. These emission scenarios make it virtually certain that the global average temperature will exceed the threshold that numerous experts say will greatly harm ecosystems and human health, security and welfare. If global climate change triggers climate emergencies, what are our options?

This seminar series entitled "Geoengineering: Science, Policy and Ethics", to be supported by the College of the Environment Institute and hosted by the UW Program on Climate Change, is an interdisciplinary exploration of geoengineering, one of the radical proposed solutions to the climate crisis. The series will explore the scientific feasibility of geoengineering schemes, their associated ethical arguments and values, and the legal and political scenarios that geoengineering will introduce. Speakers include national and international experts from the fields of science, policy and ethics.

-Rob Wood, Atmospheric Sciences

Education and Outreach

NEW!! Climate Minor

For any undergraduates out there, we are hoping to have approval for this new minor soon--and available to you in Winter 2011. If you are interested in receiving electronic updates or want more information, please send your request to

Graduate Certificate in Climate Science-Updates

Julian Sachs (Ocean) is now the GCeCS capstone advisor, available to discuss project ideas and to provide approvals for anything out of the ordinary.

LuAnne Thompson has a NASA funded project to develop hands-on teaching modules and curriculum for a dual credit high school course (HS and UW credit) based on ATMS 211. There are opportunities to develop capstone projects for the GCeCS. Read more here and join us for a planning meeting November 5 (Fri). Please e-mail if interested in participating.

As part of the NASA project above we are working with Bayta Maring in the Office of Educational Assessment on...assessment for the next two years! An overview of assessment and OEA is here, and, as a participant in the NASA grant, OEA/Bayta is available to GCeCS students for consultation on program evaluation for your capstone project.

Finally, please let the PCC office know that you are working on your capstone by filling out a 1-page application. We then have all the information needed to get the certificate listed on your transcript when you complete the requirements. We can also remind you about advising/approvals that are needed along the way.

Link to the GCeCS information page.

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