Climate Change News (CCN)- Summer 2011

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/August 2011

Humor and poetry are two useful strategies to deal with Seattle's moments of summer. This poem is by one of PCC's graduate students, Deirdre Lockwood, which was published in Poetry Northwest:

To Seattle

Little riddle, you waddle through winter bedraggled,
then dazzle with fennel the summer hustle.
I'd cuddle up to your petals
if I could saddle the collateral.

The Haiku below is offered by an anonymous PCC contributor. Enjoy!

Long, cool, cloudy days.
Perhaps a warming heartland
draws in marine air?

Just how cold and cloudy has it been? Visit KPLU's article quoting Jim Johnstone (UW) "Seattle spring was the coldest, one of the cloudiest on record"

Have something creative (related to climate) to share with the PCC? Please send it along to Onward to PCC news...

NEW!! Graduate Fellowships Available for 2011/2012

Graduate student fellowships are an important part of the PCC, and are awarded to highly qualified students with an interest in interdisciplinary climate science. Traditionally, fellowships have been awarded to first-year students in Oceanography, Atmospheric Sciences and Earth and Space Sciences (the PCC core departments) and to one student outside these core departments. For the 2011/2012 academic year we are able to offer THREE 9-month fellowships which will be awarded to the most qualified applicants in both core and non-core departments. More information here.

UPDATE! PCC Summer Institute/Friday Harbor Labs Centennial Symposium

The PCC Summer Institute, 14-16 Sept. 2011, focuses on "The Water Cycle in a Changing Climate" and includes 5 sessions:

  • A global perspective on rainfall, coupled atmosphere-ocean circulation and drought.
  • Droughts and hydroclimate in the historical/paleo records.
  • Predictability of 21 C regional rainfall trends due to greenhouse gases and aerosols.
  • Impacts of changed rainfall on agriculture and human water availability.
  • Effect of changed hydroclimate on Puget Sound and the Pacific Northwest.

  • The 3-day institute will open with a reception and poster session. Although all speakers are by invitation, the poster session is open to those with science to share on water and climate. To register (which is required for attendance-preference to UW and UW affiliates), submit an abstract, and find updates on the schedule click here.

    The first of three reading/discussion sessions for graduate students is Tuesday 8/23 from 11:30-12:30 in OSB 425. All graduate students attending the SI should plan to participate in these sessions.

    Travel awards available for the 5th Graduate Climate Conference (in Woods Hole)

    From its beginning in 2006, the GCC has been organized by grad students from the University of Washington. The organizers' original hope was that the conference would rotate among different institutions. In that spirit, this year the conference is being run by students in the MIT Program in Atmospheres, Oceans and Climate, and will be held at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution on Cape Cod October 28-30, 2011. Conference information can be found here.

    Some travel scholarships will be available for UW participants, and awarded by the UW-GCC organizers. Please contact Andrea Fassbender ( if you have been accepted to the GCC5 and would like to be considered for a travel award.

    The capstone experience in UW's Undergraduate Climate Minor

    The Climate Minor provides undergraduates with a unique opportunity to explore the science of climate in a multidisciplinary context. The minor brings together coursework in climate chemistry and biology, physical climate and past climate through courses in Atmospheric Sciences, Oceanography, Earth and Space Sciences and other science departments, with additional opportunities to explore policy, energy and human dimensions of climate change. Successful completion of the climate minor provides students with a strong interdisciplinary foundation in climate science and will help to prepare students for graduate study in climate related fields.
    The integrative experience for the climate minor is a 3-credit seminar -- Current Research in Climate Science (OCEAN/ESS/ATMS 475)-- to be offered this autumn quarter by LuAnne Thompson. This course will focus on important background knowledge in climate science and on existing and emerging scientific and societal problems related to climate change. Each year the climate focus will change. This Autumn 2011 the focus is Climate and Water. More information here.

    Developing the first Climate Science course for Washington State High Schools-an ongoing PCC effort

    On 1 July 2011 we completed our first week-long high school teacher professional development in climate science. Including the project leads, Tom Ackerman (ATMS and JISAO) and LuAnne Thompson (OCN), "we" included 13 graduate students, 15 Ph.D. scientists, 2 representatives of climate change curriculum from the greater Seattle area, and a handful of other staff and undergraduates. This PCC team worked with 11 high school teachers, communicating the outline of ATMS 211 with added labs developed specifically for high school students in the dual credit UWHS climate science course which will be offered by some of these teachers in the next year and a half.

    Tom Ackerman and Megan Gambs observe as two high school teachers determine just what's in those ice core layers...a hands on activity developed by Ashley Maloney for the UWHS/ATMS 211 climate science curriculum.

    Many of the labs created for this workshop and high school class were and are being developed by graduate students working on capstone projects for their climate certificate (GCeCS). The participating high school teachers will inform on-going refinement of these labs.

    We thank all for their time, and acknowledge graduate students Ashley Maloney (OCN) and Elly Walsh (Education) for developing the course outline for the high school class, and to Ashley, Elly, Spruce Schoenemann (ESS), Megan Gambs (OCN), Kelly McCusker (ATMS), Steve Po-Chedley (ATMS), Sarah Purkey (OCN), Nicole Wigder (ATMS), Chris Terai (ATMS), Brian Henn (CEE)and Shara Feld (CEE) for the content developed and delivered during the week. Other important players included scientists from the Polar Science Center (Rebecca Woodgate, Ignatius Rigor, Mike Steele, Ben Smith, Kristin Laidre and Harry Stern) who hooked the teachers on the first day of the workshop, speakers Mike McPhaden (NOAA/PMEL), Nick Bond (State Climatologist) and Eric Salathe (UW-Bothell), and participants Richard Gammon (Ocean), Marcia Baker (Emeritus, ATMS), Mike Wierusz (Cool Schools Challenge) and Dave Wilton (Facing the Future).

    We discovered much ourselves during the workshop, which will inform ongoing efforts of this NASA Global Climate Change Education (GCCE) grant and upon which LuAnne and Miriam (PCC) will reflect at an upcoming National Research Council Climate Change Roundtable later this month.

    2011/2012 "PCC" Climate Courses-update

    Note: Paleoclimate proxies (ESS/OCN/ATMS 554) was scheduled for Spring 2012 but has been deferred for at least a year, as Julian Sachs is on sabbatical in 2011/2012.

    Fall 2011

  • Climate Dynamics (OCN/ATMS/ESS 587)Instructor: David Battisti (ATMS) and Steve Riser (OCN)
  • Current Research in Climate (OCN/ATMS/ESS 586)Instructor: TBD
  • Current Research in Climate Science (OCN/ATMS/ESS 475)-integrative experience for the undergraduate climate minor--Instructor: LuAnne Thompson (OCN)
  • Climate and Energy Policy (PBAF 595) Instructor: Michael Lazarus
  • Winter 2012:

  • The Global Carbon Cycle and Climate (ATMS/OCN/ESS 588)Instructor(s): Becky Alexander (ATMS) and Steve Emerson (OCN)
  • Spring 2012

  • Climate Modeling (ATMS/ESS 559 and OCEAN 558)Instructor: Cecilia Bitz (ATMS) w/LuAnne Thompson (OCN)

  • e-list Subscription Information

    To receive direct e-mail notices...

    ...of climate related seminars, subscribe to:

    ...from or for graduate students involved or interested in climate science, subscribe to:

    ...of updates to this newsletter and of general PCC community announcements (social events, summer institute registration, etc.), subscribe to:

    We also have an active climate outreach group; if you'd like to be contacted when we get speaker or other climate-related requests, send an e-mail to Miriam at

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