Climate Change News - Winter 2008

Program News

Our annual PCC Summer Institute took place Sept. 11-13, just before fall quarter began. The topic was "Couplings Between Changes in the Climate System and Biogeochemistry", organized by Jim Murray, and included a keynote lecture by David Battisti on Climate Change and Food Security as well as six speakers from outside the UW, and two from the UW. Friday Harbor Laboratories on San Juan Island was the venue for this summer institute, enabling members of the Friday Harbor community to participate and providing a contrast to the mountain setting of previous summer institutes. Please visit the event listing for details on the agenda, and the student summaries for details on session content.

Traditionally, spring quarter is the time for many of the big campus lectures and activities. This year it all begins winter quarter with the UW Focus the Nation on January 31 (read more about this event below), followed by the Special Seminar Series: "Arctic Adventure! Ocean Tales of Currents and Creatures" that begins with a lecture by Rebecca Woodgate on February 12. This special seminar series is sponsored by the College of Ocean and Fisheries Science (COFS). Also extending from winter to spring quarter is a lecture series sponsored by JISAO and Pacific Science Center that includes a public lecture by Konrad Steffen titled “Cryospheric Response to Climate Change” on Thursday, March 6, 2008. For more information on these and a full listing of climate events at UW, please visit the online climate calendar or download the climate calendar pdf.

Mark your calendars for the PCC Spring Public Lecture by Carl Wunsch, Cecil and Ida Green Professor of Physical Oceanography at MIT. His talk is titled "The Ocean and Climate Change: Exciting Stories, Realistic Problems and the Future" and is scheduled for Thursday, May 8, 2008 at 7 pm in Kane 120.

We've been hounding everyone to add their research interests, pictures, meeting summaries, etc. to this PCC website. As part of this badgering, there was a contest to get graduate students to encourage others to get themselves listed on the website, and to develop content for the site. Congratulations to Brian Smoliak, who was awarded a UW Bookstore gift certificate for getting the most people added to the participants listing of the website. Brian got 10 PCC people listed. Although there was no competition for Brian, we hope there will be more players in phase two which encourages all to develop content for the website, including feature stories and event summaries. An award will be given to the student to contribute the best content to the website between now and May 1, 2008. Click here for additional details. Thanks to all that have contributed to our database driven website.

UW Focus the Nation

"Universities have a huge role to play in raising public awareness about climate change....Colleges not only have the credibility to discuss the complex set of issues linked to global warming, they also provide direct access to young people poised to inherit a radically changing environment...We created this problem... it's theirs to fix". Luanne Thompson, Organizer of the UW Focus the Nation event, and Interim Director of the UW Program on Climate Change quoted in an article in E-Magazine.

On January 31, 2008, the University of Washington will participate in Focus the Nation, an unprecedented teach-on on global warming solutions. In a statement of support for the UW Focus the Nation event, Mark Emmert, president of the University of Washington, stated: "It is our obligation as an institution to ensure that our students, faculty and staff understand the core of the issues and are engaged in the process of finding solutions free from the influence of politics and partisanship." The UW event is organized by Luanne Thompson, Interim Director of the UW Program on Climate Change, and Associate Professor of Oceanography. Dr. Thompson has had help from many groups and individuals across the UW campus and beyond, to create a day of interdisciplinary discussion and contemplation about global warming challenges. President Emmert's statement continues "I encourage all faculty, students and staff to look for opportunities to participate in the UW's Focus the Nation programming. It is through these types of community activities that we can build the momentum to make positive changes together."

Events at the UW begin at 10 am in the Husky Union Building, and include plenary talks, panel presentations, and exhibitors. The event culminates in a town hall discussion by political leaders from 7-9 pm in Kane Hall 130.

Link to more about the UW Focus the Nation.

Link to press release "University of Washington Joins Largest Teach-In in US History".

New PCC Outreach Activities

Outreach Opportunity for faculty and graduate students.
Summer Camp Opportunity for your high school children.

The Program on Climate Change, together with the Burke Museum and others across campus, are working to create a high school summer camp on climate and video that will be worth 1 college credit. Heather Price (former PCC postdoc and active climate educator), with the help of Richard Strickland (Ocean faculty) and an advisory committee, have joined forces to develop the curriculum; we need the participation of faculty as guest lecturers, and graduate students interested in certificate capstone projects.

PROGRAM DESCRIPTION: Climate Quest is a 7-day intensive course that exposes students to (1) the basic science of climate, including the degree and rate of global warming, (2) the impact of climate change on the Pacific Northwest and beyond including an exploration of how environments could change depending on how humanity responds to the challenge of reducing greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and finally (3) local, state, national, and international efforts to curb greenhouse gas emissions, as well as grassroots efforts in the Pacific Northwest. Students will spend half-days learning to translate this scientific and political understanding to other young people in their community and beyond through video.

Faculty with expertise in paleoclimate proxies, local climate impacts, and climate policy, are particularly needed as guest speakers. Graduate students interested in developing hands-on materials for the course or those with expertise in video are also needed. Please contact the PCC office ( and/or Heather Price ( with your interests. Registration will be available through the Burke Museum in the spring.


Get Connected

Climate Change News (CCN) is a quarterly newsletter designed to keep you up-to-date on PCC activites on campus and to help create a community of students, faculty, researchers interested in issues related to climate and climate change. Several communication options are available to you, 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 announcements e-mail and type subscribe in the subject line. be notified of PCC outreach requests and activities, please e-mail Miriam at

Table of Contents

  • Program News
  • UW Focus the Nation
  • Outreach Update
  • Get Connected

    Help Out

    Are you interested in helping the PCC via a private donation? If so, there are a number of different ways to contribute, so please contact Chris (206-685-7414 or or Miriam (206-543-6521 or or give directly through the UW foundation website and use the search term "climate".

    Currently we are particularly in need of financial support for our public outreach efforts (including bringing in distinguished speakers) and for resurrecting our PCC postdoc program. We welcome contributions of all sizes!

    Previous PCC Newsletters