Climate Change News (CCN)- Spring 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.

March/April 2011

NEW!! Graduate Student Seminar Series

The Program on Climate Change is gearing up for a second term of a new initiative called the Graduate Student Seminar Series. The bi-weekly seminar series gives graduate students studying climate change a venue for presenting their work and receiving feedback in an informal, student-only setting. The idea was borne out of discussion at the PCC Fall Social; graduate students wanted to create more opportunities to learn about one another's research and socialize with others passionate about climate.

The series began in the winter quarter in an effort to increase cross-disciplinary dialogue and interaction between graduate students. Kyle Armour (Physics), Andrea Fassbender (Oceanography), Erin Burke (Earth and Space Sciences), and Yen-Ting Hwang (Atmospheric Sciences) gave talks ranging from climate feedbacks to monitoring the impacts of climate change. Each talk is followed by an extended discussion period. One of the highlights of this informal seminar series is that the wide range of questions and increased emphasis on dialogue allows for a deeper understanding of the topic presented. The diverse departmental representation and the various topics invariably leads to mass migration to the College Inn for informal discussion following the talk.

The series will continue this spring quarter beginning *Wednesday April 6th at 4:30* in OSB 425. All students and post-docs are invited to attend the talks and graduate students or post-docs whom wish to present their climate change research should contact Stu Evans ( or

Tenth Annual PCC Public Lecture : 'Flood of Problems: Managing Big Water in Western Washington'

The UW Program on Climate Change is pleased to announce its 10th annual public lecture to be presented by Lawrence J. Schick, Meteorologist-Water Management, US Army Corps of Engineers Seattle.

Kane Hall, Room 120
Monday 18 April 2011
7-8:20 pm


The Pacific Northwest is a land of mild rainfall and stunning mountain landscapes. But, occasionally, the character of that rainfall demonstrates a punishing intensity. When high rainfall intensity becomes concentrated by the steep Cascade Mountains, the runoff produces major floods in western Washington. Those storms cause huge flood risk management challenges. The complexities and uncertainties of NW weather and hydrology are managed by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, in Seattle. The Corps provides flood risk management by operating dams and coordinating emergency management.

Many difficult questions, judgments and choices arise when practicing flood risk management. Are big floods changing and what is the cause? What is the role of land use, climate change and snow melt in flooding? We'll explore the top NW flooding myths, while you'll discover the singular cause of all major floods. Several major floods, in the past eight years, will be used as examples of how food risk is managed with different and changing conditions. Understand how flood risk management tools are used and critical decisions are made, while we weave through a review of recent, historic floods in Western Washington. The presentation promises a lively blend of science, flood risk management strategy and human interactions with the powerful forces of nature.

Thompson Falls Diversion Dam. Photo credit: J. Martin Grassley (UW SAFS)

About Larry Schick

Larry received a B.S. degree in Earth Science/ Weather Analysis and Forecasting from Northern Arizona University, Flagstaff in 1975. He began his career as a cartographer, and then worked for five years as a broadcast meteorologist in Monterey, California. He moved to Seattle in 1983 to continue his career as a broadcast meteorologist for KING TV and others from 1983-2003. He is also an award winning environmental, science and outdoor reporter. He was hired by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers in 2003. He was named Seattle District "Scientist of the Year" in 2009 and "Innovator of the Year" in 2010. He recently initiated and co authored a peer-reviewed research paper: "Flooding in Western Washington: The Connection to Atmospheric Rivers."

Visit the Tenth Annual Public Lecture Event Page for additional details.

PCC 586: Peak Oil Seminar Series and Public Lecture

Jim Murray (Oceanography) has spoken on Peak Oil, Peak Coal and their relation to climate change--now, to continue the discourse and explore the issues in more detail, he has organized a seminar series. Jim will be joined by Derik Andreoli (Geography) and Jim Hansen (Seattle Investment advisor).

Seminar speakers include David Rutledge (Tomiyasu Professor of Electrical Engineering at Caltech) speaking on Peak Coal and Art Berman (geological consultant) on Shale Gas. Mr. Berman will also present a public lecture in Kane Hall, Room 220, at 7 pm on Monday, 16 May. Visit the event page for additional information.

The expectation is that the course evolve from week to week, moving from Oil to Coal to Gas and considering climate change, economic and urban planning issues.

"Peak Oil, Coal, Natural Gas and Climate Change" is being taught Spring 2011 as a 2 credit PCC 586 Seminar Course that meets Tuesdays from 3:30-5:30 in OSB 425.

Course Flyer

UPDATE! PCC Summer Institute/Friday Harbor Labs Centennial Symposium

Our Summer Institute will be on 'The Water Cycle in a Changing Climate' on 14-16 Sept at FHL as a Centennial Symposium, so people should save the dates and keep posted as we get the program together. Likely featured topics:

  • Climate model projections of trends in regional precipitation, soil moisture and runoff.
  • Paleoclimate records of past hydroclimate and droughts.
  • Are human-produced aerosols/pollution affecting rainfall patterns, such as the SE Asian monsoon?
  • Consequences of likely rainfall shifts on agriculture and human water availability
  • Effects of changed rainfall and streamflow on our regional ecosystem and Puget Sound

  • -Chris Bretherton, David Battisti, Dennis Lettenmaier

    NEWS!! Undergraduate Climate Minor approved, available for enrollment Winter 2011

    Please share this new opportunity with undergraduates in physics, math, applied math, environmental science, earth-systems and other climate related courses!

    Earlier this month, the Faculty Council on Academic Standards recommended approval of a minor in climate science, an undergraduate option spearheaded by LuAnne Thompson (Oceanography). The minor is a collaboration between the School of Oceanography and Departments of Earth and Space Sciences and Atmospheric Sciences, all within the College of the Environment. This offering provides a clear path of study for students who want to get broad exposure to the topic.

    The Program on Climate Change is the administrative home for the Climate Sciences Minor, while academic advising will be done by the academic advisors in Earth and Space Sciences, Oceanography and Atmospheric Sciences. The PCC Board will oversee the minor with a member of the Board serving as the faculty lead.

    We NOW have information posted, visit Climate Minor, under the Academics tab on the PCC website. We will be contacting instructors and determining how best to advertise the new minor. But please do contact Miriam in the PCC office if you'd like a representative of the minor to visit your classroom or organization. (PCC office x36531 or

    2011/2012 "PCC" Climate Courses

    Fall 2011

    Winter 2012:

    Spring 2012

    e-list Subscription Information

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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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