Climate Change News (CCN)- Autumn 2008

Climate Change News (CCN) is a quarterly newsletter designed to keep you up-to-date on PCC activities and to help create a community of students, faculty and researchers interested in issues related to climate and climate change.


Amid the turmoil of the US economy and upcoming presidential election, it’s time to welcome the 2008/2009 academic year and a strong community of climate scientists. The PCC e-list, a fair representation of the climate audience at UW, is now 300 strong, and of those 120 are graduate students. On October 7th we will have the opportunity to meet many of the newest student and faculty participants at the annual “Climate on Campus” gathering at the Waterfront Activity Center. Some of the newest members of the community include:

New PCC Fellows and New Faculty Members

Earth and Space Sciences
Karl Lang (advised by Katharine Huntington, new faculty member)
Regina Carns (advised by Ed Waddington and Steve Warren)

Chemical Oceanography
Kevin Tempest (advised by Steve Emerson and Jim Murray)

Atmospheric Sciences
Jacob Scheff (advised by Dargan Frierson, new faculty member)
Bryce Harrop (advised by Dennis Hartmann)

Kevin Ford (advised by Janneke Hille Ris Lambers, new faculty member)

This winter (2009) there will be four climate postdocs arriving as well, two working at JISAO and two with the PCC. These candidates were selected in the spring from a very competitive pool of applicants. Look to the next newsletter for more information on them.

PCC Leadership

Chris Bretherton (Atmospheric Sciences) has resumed directorship of the PCC after adventures and a 1-year sabbatical at the Institute for Atmospheric and Climate Science at ETH-Zurich, Switzerland. Welcome back, Chris!

Bretherton Family atop the Vrenelisgärtli in the Glarner Alpen

Many thanks to LuAnne Thompson (Oceanography) for her role as interim director of the PCC during Chris Bretherton’s sabbatical. LuAnne brought her insight, as leader of a very successful interdisciplinary graduate program, to many discussions centered on the development of the College of the Environment. Special acknowledgment and thanks for the energy and leadership she brought as lead on the UW Focus the Nation events in January 2008. Link to wrap-up of the FtN event. Focus the Nation

We also welcome Jessica Lundquist to the PCC Board. Jessica is a faculty member in Civil and Environmental Engineering, and replaces Dennis Lettenmeier who served on the board since 2002. We thank Dennis for representing the interests of hydrologists during his many years on the PCC board.

Each year the graduate students select a representative to sit on board meetings and bring the student perspective and opinion to bear on PCC decisions. Paul Hezel (Atmospheric Sciences) was elected in September, by a margin of ONE vote, in a battle against Reddy Yatavelli (Atmos). The story goes that it was their own votes that made the difference. Paul replaces Natalia Stefanova (Oceanography) who served during the 2007/2008 academic year. Thank you Natalia for your efforts on behalf of the graduate students, and for your constant cheerfulness!

A listing of the complete membership of the PCC board can be found at: PCC Board Members

Finally, please give a warm welcome to the PCC student assistant Alexandra Brewer, 2nd year student in oceanography. She’s been helping out in the office and at all events since she started working for the PCC just before the public lecture last May.


You can find climate related seminars organized by PCC, CIG, ESS, ATMOS, and Oceanography on the frequently-updated PCC website calendar of events. You will also find there other on-campus climate related events. This calendar is no longer produced as a pdf. If you have an event that should/could be posted there, please submit information to

Included in the climate calendar are seminars from the 2008/09 WUN Earth Systems Virtual Seminars: Geoengineering and Geohazards. The first presentation will be "The economics (or lack thereof) of geoengineering options" by Klaus Keller, Pennsylvania State University. Wednesday, October 15, 2008, 9:00 AM in the Health Sciences Building, Room T-239. Full list of presentations, abstracts, and more can be found at:



Graduate Student Climate Conference (GCC): 17-19 April 2009. Application Deadline: 21 November 2008.

The concept for a Graduate Climate Conference (GCC) was the brainchild of 4 PCC students on the drive back from the 2005 PCC Summer Institute. The GCC is a conference for graduate students; organized and executed by graduate students. In the past, sessions have included topics such as dynamics, paleoclimate, biogeochemistry, the hydrosphere, and policy. The conference will be held at the UW's Pack Forest Conference Center from April 17 - 19, 2009. Applications for the third GCC are due on 21 November 2008 and will be available soon at the conference website.


2008 PCC Summer Institute/FHL Centennial Symposium: How Does Ocean Circulation Matter for Climate Change?
This popular PCC event reached new notoriety this year, with its acceptance by Friday Harbor Labs as one of its select Centennial Symposia, and the participation of 2 international and 4 domestic invited speakers as well as 9 from UW. Many considered this years’ summer institute the best yet—including active discussion/commentary from opinionated participants, an agenda that included debate/panel discussions at the end of each day, preserving the free afternoons for casual discussion and enjoyment of the beautiful San Juan Island, well-prepared student participants who began reading and discussing papers by visiting speakers in late July, and a record breaking number of participants (83).

LuAnne Thompson is currently working on a feature article for the homepage of the PCC website that will provide some insight into the discussions that ensued at the SI. Perhaps she’ll even provide a new way to differentiate between the Meridional Overturning Circulation and Thermohaline Circulation that can replace the current erroneous entry in Wikipedia…stay tuned

Links to presentations can be found at the Event WebPage.
If you have photos to share, please upload them to the PCC's flickr group:

Many thanks to LuAnne Thompson who took the lead in developing the program for this years’ summer institute, and to David Battisti, Julian Sachs and Gerard Roe who suggested speakers and contributed ideas for the format of the institute. Next years’ SI will again be at FHL, and has been awarded one of their Centennial Symposium slots again. The theme will be Pacific Northwest, Past Present and Future and will take place 14-17 September 2009.

Ocean Acidification (OA) Planning for Research and Monitoring in the Northeastern Pacific. A Friday Harbor Laboratory Centennial Symposium. Last April PCC participants Jim Murray, Ed Miles and Dick Feely organized a conference which focused on the present and future impacts of global warming and ocean acidification on marine ecosystems of the Northeast Pacific Ocean. This Augusts’ meeting, (August 24 - 27, 2008), organized by Terrie Klinger of the UW School of Marine Affairs (and others), focused on crafting a regional research agenda to address the problem of ocean acidification and associated stressors. Participants agreed that a coordinated regional approach could increase both the efficiency and effectiveness of OA research. Among the approaches discussed was the creation of a network of regional research nodes that could be co-located with existing field stations and that could simultaneously make use of the ocean observing system planned for the west coast. The establishment of a national experimental facility for OA research was discussed. A workshop report is in preparation.


The Graduate Certificate in Climate Science (GCeCS) is now ready for participants. After years of PCC board deliberations and pressure from the climate students to create a certificate, Chris Bretherton took the lead and submitted a proposal to the UW graduate school for a certificate in climate science. During Chris' sabbatical, LuAnne Thompson (PCC Acting Director and Ocean faculty), Steve Emerson (Ocean faculty), Gerard Roe (ESS faculty), Arthur Nowell (COFS Dean), Werner Stuetzle (Arts and Sciences Divisional Dean), Lia Slemons (Ocean grad student) and Miriam Bertram (PCC Program Manager) went before the Graduate School Council to present the proposal. The certificate was later approved by the Board of Regents last winter and this winter (2009) Phil Mote takes the lead in offering the "Communicating Climate Seminar" that is one of the requirements of the certificate (see sidebar for additional detail). GCeCS requirements can be found on the PCC website and a GCeCS registration form is now available. If you have any questions, please contact Phil Mote ( or Miriam Bertram (

Climate Quest - July 2008: The PCC takes the lead in developing a summer camp for teens. Seventeen participants, 4 with scholarships from an outside donor, participated in a climate/videography camp this summer, with many guest speakers including Julian Sachs (paleoceanography), Phil Mote (PNW climate impacts), Richard Strickland (Puget Sound circulation), LuAnne Thompson (modeling), Tim Stetter and Diane Quinn (Burke Museum exhibits). The goal was to learn some basics about climate change, and go in more depth in one area that a team of students translated into a video story. Their stories are posted on YouTube.

Climate Quest Students and Instructors on the steps of the Burke Museum, UW Campus 14 July 2008

Curriculum development was led by Heather Price (former PCC postdoctoral researcher) with guidance from the experienced voices of Richard Strickland (Oceanography) and Tim Stetter (Burke Museum Education Department). The class was taught by Heather, Kirk Mastin and John Liston, two very enthusiastic and energetic graduate students from Hanson Hosein’s UW Digital Media group, with assistance from Audrey Djunaedi, currently a 3rd year undergraduate in Oceanography.

We will soon be regrouping, identifying a team to make this project happen again in summer 2009. There are opportunities for graduate student capstone projects; please contact Miriam in the PCC office know if you are interested in participating in this project.

The PCC continues to partner with the Climate Impacts Group to respond to community requests for speakers on climate change. Please contact the PCC office ( for more information.

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Contributing to PCC Programs

Are you interested in helping the PCC via a private donation? If so, please contact Chris (206-685-7414 or or Miriam (206-543-6521 or or give directly through the UW foundation website. We are particularly in need of financial support for our public outreach efforts (including bringing in distinguished speakers) and for sustaining our PCC postdoc program. We welcome contributions of all sizes!

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