Climate Change News (CCN)- Winter 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.

Winter Welcome

The PCC held its Winter Welcome Reception in the Lobby and Auditorium of the Fishery Sciences Building on January 10, 2012. There was a great turnout this year, with many PCC students and affiliated faculty attending, including UW College of the Environment Dean Lisa Graumlich. The reception attendees gathered briefly to hear about the PCC in 2012, and PCC Director LuAnne Thompson introduced the 2012 theme, Ice Shelf/Ocean Interactions. New PCC Postdoc Camille Lique gave a short presentation on her research, and Terri Klinger discussed the newly awarded UW IGERT Program on Ocean Change. For more information about the IGERT Program on Ocean Change, read on!

The reception was preceded by a Graduate Certificate in Climate Science (GCeCS) Capstone informational meeting, led by current capstone faculty advisor Julian Sachs. Read on for more information about topics addressed in the meeting!


2011 GCC
This October marked the 5th Graduate Climate Conference (GCC), a conference created by UW graduate students undertaking climate research in a variety of disciplines as a forum to discuss their research and share ideas. This year, the GCC was run by current MIT students, and held at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institute. For more information on the 2011 conference (including a slideshow of photos!) please visit the GCC 2011 website.

Future: 2012 GCC
The GCC will return to the University of Washington next year, where it will be held from October 26-28, 2012 at the Pack Forest Conference Center. Keep your eye on the GCC 2012 website for more information!

Future: 2012 PCC Summer Institute, FHL Centennial Symposium "Atmosphere-Ocean-Ice Sheet Interactions"
**Date updated 02/29

Next years' Summer Institute will focus on the interaction of atmospheric and oceanic change with the polar ice sheets. In late September the PCC proposal to Friday Harbor Labs, prepared by LuAnne Thompson and Eric Steig, was accepted and our Summer Institute will once again double as a Friday Harbor Centennial Symposium. The tentative dates of the Institute are Sept 16-18, 2012. Check the event page for more current updates.


Winter 2012 (ATMS/ESS/OCN 586): Ice/Ocean Interactions The interactions between the ocean and ice sheets remain poorly understood and are rarely included in global climate models. This limits our ability to predict the response of the polar oceans and ice sheets to a changing climate and precludes accurate forecasts of sea level rise. We seek to collect students from a variety of disciplines to explore the broad topic of ice/ocean/climate interactions. Graduate students from Atmospheric Sciences, Oceanography, and ESS are strongly encouraged to participate. Students lead discussions on scientific papers and will be expected write short summary reports. Potential topics include:

  • ocean response to ice input
  • ocean current effects on ice shelves and glacier termini
  • the role of atmosphere/sea ice/ocean processes in delivering ocean heat to glaciated coastlines
  • coupling between grounding and floating ice

  • Contact Adam Campbell ( for additional information.

    Winter 2012 Student-only Seminar Last quarter's bi-weekly student-only seminar series will continue this quarter, and will be meeting at 4:50pm in ATG 6:10 every two weeks starting January 25th. The seminar focuses on climate research from graduate students. This is a great opportunity to see what is going on in climate research 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 to fellow graduate students or post-docs (and receive unique feedback from a range of participants).

    This seminar series is intended to be pretty relaxed with presentations of about 20-25 minutes followed by a brief discussion. Presentations will be geared toward a general scientific audience (of graduate students) with some background in climate science. Presentations should 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:

    LAST UPDATED 02/02
  • Jan. 25th- Stephen Po-Chedley, "Reconciling Atmospheric (MSU) temperature trends: do global circulation models get it wrong?"
  • Feb. 8- Alyssa Atwood, "Holocene climate variability in the eastern equatorial Pacific from biomarker hydrogen isotope records in a Galapagos lake"
  • Feb. 22- T.J. Fudge, "The Deglaciation of West Antarctica: results from the first annually-resolved ice-core record"
  • Mar. 7- Kelly McCusker- "Engineering the climate: damned if you do, damned if you don't, and really damned if you do then don't"

  • Contact Stephen Po-Chedley ( for more information.

    UPDATED 02/02: Application deadline extended to Feb. 15.
    Opportunities: IGERT Program on Ocean Change

    In 2011, the UW was awarded an Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) grant from the National Science Foundation to establish an interdisciplinary Ph.D. Program on Ocean Change. The program is accepting applications for the 2012-2013 from interested students until Jan. 18. For more information on the program and to apply, please visit the IGERT Ocean Change website.

    Graduate Certificate in Climate Science (Updates)

    The PCC held an informational meeting about the GCeCS Climate Capstone on Jan 10th, from 3-4pm in FSH 107. Julian Sachs, faculty advisor for the Graduate Certificate in Climate Science (GCeCS) led an overview of the certificate requirements, and a discussion of the capstone component. The meeting also featured a discussion with PCC students who have completed or are near completion of their capstone projects. Relevant documents (also found on the GCeCS section of the PCC website):

  • PCC Certificate Flyer
  • Communicating Climate Science Course Flyer
  • Upcoming Communication Courses
  • Completed Capstone Projects
  • Capstone General Procedure
  • Communication Seminar As part of the capstone requirement, students working on their GCeCS are required to receive formal training in some aspect of communicating science to a non-science audience. The PCC is excited to announce a new seminar for Winter 2012, Communicating Climate Science: Messaging Your Science (PCC 593) that will fulfill this requirement. Other options for satisfying this requirement offered Winter quarter are COM 597: Special Topics in Communication: Science Communication, PbAF 595: Communicating Climate Change, ENVIR 500: Science Communication and the Media, OCN 506: Science and Technology News and Feature Writing,and OCN 592: Communicating Ocean Sciences.

    For a full description of the certificate please visit: GCeCS. Questions can also be addressed to Julian Sachs (, the current capstone advisor, or Miriam ( in the PCC office.

    2011/2012 "PCC" Courses (Updates)
    Updated January 2012

    Winter 2012

  • Current Research in Climate: Ice-Ocean Interactions (ATMS/OCN/ESS 586, 2 units, CR/NC)
    Led by PCC graduate students Adam Campbell and Emily Newsom, with faculty leads LuAnne Thompson and Mark Warner.
    Course sample description
  • The Global Carbon Cycle and Climate (ATMS/OCN/ESS 588)
    Instructors: Steve Emerson and Julian Sachs
    Course sample description

  • Spring 2012

  • Climate Modeling (ATMS/ESS 559 and OCEAN 558)
    Instructor: Cecilia Bitz (ATMS) w/LuAnne Thompson (OCN)
    Course sample desciption
  • Paleoclimate Proxies (ATMS/OCN/ESS 554)
    Instructors: Becky Alexander and Julian Sachs
    Course sample description

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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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