Climate Change News (CCN)- Spring 2012

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.

Geoscientist Richard Alley: Atmospheric Sciences Graduate Student Distinguished Visiting Lecturer

Professor Alley, Evan Pugh Professor, Department of Geosciences, and Earth and Environmental Systems Institute, The Pennsylvania State University, will give two lectures during his visit to the University of Washington. The first is a public lecture: "Learning While Burning: Energy, Economy, and Environment" on Thursday, May 24, 7:30pm - 8:30pm in Kane 210.

The second is a colloquium in Atmospheric Sciences (ATMS 520), Fri, May 25, 3:30pm - 4:50pm in JHN 075. Check back for a title.

Richard Alley's visit is co-sponsored by the Quaternary Research Center(QRC) and the Program on Climate Change (PCC). Additional information, as it becomes available, will be posted here and on the PCC calendar of events.

The Graduate Climate Conference Returns to Pack Forest, WA in 2012

The Graduate Climate Conference (GCC) returns to Pack Forest this fall from October 26-28! This is a unique climate science research conference organized by grad students for grad students. UW PCC students have hosted numerous excellent GCCs here in past years, and this year's committee aspires to that high standard. We intend to cover all ~80 participants' lodging and accommodations, and as much of their travel expenses as possible. To that end, our UW sponsors already include Atmospheric Sciences, Civil & Environmental Engineering, Earth & Space Sciences, the College of the Environment, the Graduate School, JISAO, Oceanography, the PCC, and the Quaternary Research Center. We are actively seeking non-UW funding sources as well.

Our abstract deadline is June 1 -- please visit our website if interested! We hope to see many of you there!

2012 PCC Summer Institute on Atmosphere-Ocean-Ice Sheet Interactions

Once again we are fortunate to partner with Friday Harbor Laboratories to bring you the annual PCC Summer Institute. This years' theme focuses on the interaction of atmospheric and oceanic change with the polar ice sheets. Eric Steig (ESS) and Mark Warner (OCEAN) are taking the lead in organizing the 3-day institute, and are currently working on developing the agenda, inviting outside speakers. Although all speaker presentations are done by invitation, we encourage all to participate in the poster session on the first afternoon/evening.

Please register and submit poster abstracts through the FHL on-line registration page:

Look to the summer institute event page for details as they become available.

Winter 2012 Student-only Seminar

The bi-weekly student-only seminar series continues this quarter, meeting at 4:30pm in ATG 610 every two weeks starting April 4th. The seminar features climate-related research by graduate students. This is a great opportunity to connect with current climate research and with your fellow students down the hall or in the building over. This seminar is also a chance to show off some of your own research and receive unique feedback from grad students and postdocs from across campus.

This seminar series is intended to be informal, with presentations of about 20-25 minutes followed by a brief discussion. Presentations are geared toward a general scientific audience (of graduate students) with some background in climate science. Presentations emphasize the background and motivation behind the research so that everyone can get the punch line without being overwhelmed with technical details.

In order to help keep the cross-departmental dialogue going, we will follow the talks by a mass migration to College Inn. This quarter's schedule is listed below:

Will be updated periodially

  • April 4 - Elly Walsh, College of Education
  • April 18 - Joshua Griffin, Anthropology
  • May 2 - Twila Moon, Earth and Space Science
  • May 16 - Connie Sullivan, School of Marine and Environmental Affairs
  • May 30 - Kat Huybers, Earth and Space Science

  • Contact Stu Evans ( for more information.

    Climate Dynamics (ATMS/OCN/ESS 587) in Revision

    After discussions over how to meet the needs of graduate students from across campus, the PCC has plans to reinvigorate the original ATMS 571 (Advanced Physical Climatology), add a cross listing with OCEAN and ESS (571), and offer a revised PCC 587 (Climate Dynamics) as a less quantitative option. Both would satisfy the Climate Dynamics course requirement of the Graduate Certificate in Climate Science.

    The course catalog describes ATM S 571 Advanced Physical Climatology as following: Physical processes that determine the climate of Earth and its past and future changes. Greenhouse effect. Climate modeling. Radiative and dynamical feedback processes. Orbital parameter theory. Critical analysis of climate change predictions. The course will be appropriate for students in atmospheric sciences, physical oceanography, applied mathematics, engineering, geophysics and other quantitative fields.

    PCC 587 is described as: Examines Earth' s climate system; distribution of temperature, precipitation, wind ice, salinity, and ocean currents; fundamental processes determining Earth' s climate; energy and constituent transport mechanisms; climate sensitivity; natural climate variability on interannual to decadal time scales; global climate models; predicting future climate. This course will be designed for biological and natural resource sciences, social sciences, health, and policy students. This will be revised to focus more on climate variability and predicting future climate change.

    Dargan Frierson (ATMS), LuAnne Thompson (OCN), David Battisti (ATMS), and Steve Riser (OCN) are working on the new syllabi for both courses, so keep posted!

    It is likely that this new version of PCC 587 will be taught in Fall 2012; with ATMS(ESS/OCN) 571 to be taught in Fall 2013. Both will be taught by a single faculty member.

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    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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