This presentation will focus on ongoing work to better understand the effects of temperature on water supplies in the upper Colorado River basin. Overall, spring and early summer temperatures explain only a small portion of the variance in water year streamflow in the basin. However, in a subset of years (both warm and cool), temperatures appear to have a stronger influence on streamflow than might be anticipated, given the precipitation. The presentation will also touch on the challenges associated with incorporating the input of water resource management partners, a central component of the project design. (read more)
The Climate & Society Graduate Fellows Program supports University of Arizona graduate students whose work connects climate research and decision making. Fellows receive $5,000 and guidance from members of the CLIMAS research team (Climate Assessment for the Southwest) for one year. The program’s main objective is to train a group of students to cross the traditional boundaries of academic research into use-inspired science and applied research. While CLIMAS research generally occurs in the Southwest U.S., the Fellows program allows students to work anywhere in the world.
Fellows’ projects may follow two tracks. Students who want to conduct collaborative research may use their funding for use-inspired projects. Students who have conducted climate research and want to communicate their findings to audiences outside of academia may use their funding for outreach. Fellows may also use their funding for a combination of the two tracks.
The Climate & Society Graduate Fellows Program helps students address the world’s climate-related problems by funding projects that engage people outside of the university.
The 2015 Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) Climate & Society Graduate Fellows are:
From the very beginning, Chris Guiterman just wanted an opportunity to expand his collaboration with the Navajo Forestry Department, and to demonstrate what he could do to help them.
Guiterman is a 2014 recipient of the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) Climate & Society Graduate Fellows Program. He is currently a PhD student at the University of Arizona, School of Natural Resources and the Environment, working in the Laboratory of Tree-Ring Research.
He used the CLIMAS fellowship to jumpstart a project that he had been struggling to fund.
Tribal nations across the Southwest are increasingly at risk of climate change impacts on the landscape, and because many of these nations rely on the ecosystem services of healthy forests, the risks are intensified.
“Tasked with managing over 5 million acres of forests and woodlands, the Navajo Forestry Department has identified the need to assess sensitivities of their forests to drought and climate change,” according to the abstract of Guiterman’s research project. Guiterman worked with the NFD foresters to address their needs by quantifying the climatic drivers of forest growth in the Chuska Mountains. (read more)
To Rebecca Lybrand, calling soil “dirt” is simplistic and diminishes its importance to plants, animals, and human beings. So why is soil, the foundation of life, constantly being referred to as “dirt?” Rebecca began this line of thinking in college, and this spark of curiosity turned a simple question into a career.
Rebecca is now a soil scientist at The University of Arizona. She received her Ph.D. from The University of Arizona’s Department of Soil, Water and Environmental Science (SWES) in 2014. She is also a recipient of the 2014 Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) Climate & Society Graduate Fellowship.
Rebecca’s CLIMAS project centered on creating two short films that documented her research across the Santa Catalina Mountains in Arizona. These films showcase four of her field sites, which span over 4000 feet of elevation gain. The sites differ in temperature, precipitation, and vegetation, all of which have remarkable impacts on the characteristics of these soils.
The visuals for both films are the same, but the scripts change to present the science message in two different contexts. One uses a lively, first person perspective that relays a scientific story, using Rebecca’s personal experience to frame the film. The other is in third person, and presents a formal video delivering a more scientific message along the lines of what you might see in a science documentary. The main objective of this project is to survey students and to evaluate the effectiveness of formal and informal communication techniques. (read more)
When Ling-Yee Huang received the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) Climate & Society Graduate Fellowship a year ago, she proposed to create a climate science curriculum for law schools. Little did she know, she would actually be teaching her own class on climate science curriculum for lawyers, at the James A. College of Law at The University of Arizona.
Huang is currently a M.S. student in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment (SNRE) at the University of Arizona, as well as a researcher at the Water Resources Research Center (WRRC). Previously, she earned a J.D. from the University of Florida Levin College of Law and a bachelor’s degree in biology from Rice University.
Before coming to UA, Huang worked as a policy analyst for the Center for Progressive Reform in Washington, D.C. She provided legal analysis regarding the Clean Water Act and restoration of the Chesapeake Bay, and she developed legal frameworks for climate change adaptation and protecting ecosystem services.
“I have always really liked the idea of combining science and decision making,” said Huang. “I started grad school having worked in the decision and policy making field for a couple of years and in that experience I felt that there was a real lack of understanding of science.”
Huang said when she learned about the CLIMAS fellowship, she realized it captured her dual interests in both science and policy perfectly. The curriculum and her final project were ideas she had been contemplating for a long time.
“I found it the perfect fit,” said Huang. (read more)
Sarah Truebe has always been a caver. She grew up thinking the only things people should take from caves are photographs, but as she began her career as a paleoclimate scientist, she realized that scientists often take a lot more than photographs.
A stalagmite is a cylindrical mineral deposit, formed over hundreds or thousands of years on the floor of a cave, making them utterly non-renewable on human timescales. Stalagmites contain valuable paleoclimate data; however, most of the time getting this information means permanently removing the stalagmite from the cave.
“As the popularity of stalagmite paleoclimate science grows, development of sustainable sampling methods for these nonrenewable resources is necessary to balance the needs of science and cave conservation,” Truebe said.
Truebe is a PhD candidate in the Department of Geosciences at the University of Arizona and is also a 2014 recipient of the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS) Climate & Society Graduate Fellows Program. She used this opportunity to collect information on different stalagmite sampling methods, with the intention of developing best practice recommendations for extraction. (read more)
The Climate & Society Graduate Fellows Program supports University of Arizona graduate students whose work connects climate research and decision making. Fellows receive $5,000 and guidance from members of the CLIMAS research team (Climate Assessment for the Southwest) for one year. The program’s main objective is to train a group of students to cross the traditional boundaries of academic research into use-inspired science and applied research. (read more)
In the November Southwest Climate Podcast, Ben McMahan and Mike Crimmins discuss the warm autumn weather in the southwest, the transition to winter weather patterns, the ongoing uncertainty of El Niño forecasts, a recap of El Niño conditions and definitions, and the possibility of interaction between El Niño conditions and weather patterns in the southwest looking forward. read more
After a year of research, The Climate Assessment for the Southwest’s first Climate and Society Fellows will present the results of their work on Friday, November 14, from 11 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., in room 531 of the Marshall Building.
The Climate & Society Graduate Fellows Program supports currently enrolled University of Arizona graduate students. The fellows are given $5,000 and a year to work on a specific project of their choice. While their work must be focused around climate research and decision making, they can come from any degree-granting program. (read more)
University of Arizona Cooperative Extension and the National Weather Service – Tucson Forecast office are sponsoring a morning long training workshop on weather and climate information focused on supporting agricultural and resource management decision- making. (read more)
CLIMAS and the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions (CCASS) co-sponsored a panel of UA experts to discuss the recent report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) entitled "Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability." This report, from the IPCC's Working Group II (WGII), provides an assessment of the scientific, technical, environmental, economic and social aspects of climate change vulnerability for and impact on ecological systems, socio-economic sectors and human health, with an emphasis on regional, sectoral and cross-sectoral issues. (embedded video)
CLIMAS and the Center for Climate Adaptation Science and Solutions are co-sponsoring a panel of UA experts to discuss the forthcoming report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) entitled "Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability." This report, from the IPCC's Working Group II (WGII), provides an assessment of the scientific, technical, environmental, economic and social aspects of climate change vulnerability for and impact on ecological systems, socio-economic sectors and human health, with an emphasis on regional, sectoral and cross-sectoral issues. (read more)
A video recording of this IPCC panel discussion is now available on the CLIMAS media page.
This workshop is open to UA researchers engaged in research around climate and health. The workshop will aim to stimulate research on the climate and health nexus, to learn about research in this area occurring on our campus, and especially, to see if substantial interest exists in pursuing collaborative grants. (read more)
Professor Hari Osofsky, visiting from the University of Minnesota Law School, will give a brief presentation about her work on the dynamics of local networks in climate change policy. Her talk will be followed by a moderated discussion about climate change governance at the regional level. (read more)
CLIMAS Colloquium Series - Speaker: Jonathan Overpeck: Increased drought risk is (and will be) arguably one of the most certain and troubling aspects of anthropogenic climate change for many parts of the world. At the same time, it is emerging in the scientific literature that state-of-the-art climate and Earth system models are not able to simulate the full range of drought, whether decade-scale droughts like seen recently in both the SW US, and Australia, or multidecadal “megadroughts” that eclipse droughts of the instrumental era in both duration and severity. Evidence for this assertion will be examined, particularly as it comes from the paleoclimatic record of several continents, in both semi-arid and wetter regions. The implications for decision-making will also be discussed, including the on-going operational use, in the United States, of no-regrets drought planning strategies that incorporate paleoclimatic data. Fortunately, because droughts will still occur for natural reasons as well as anthropogenic, increased drought preparedness is a clear “no-regrets” climate change adaptation strategy. (read more)
Decision makers in southern Arizona face new challenges as climate variability and weather extremes increasingly affect the region. Our municipalities undertake planning activities and public investments that shape our economic prosperity, public health, and environment. Extreme events, warmer temperatures, and changes in precipitation will dramatically impact these efforts. This half-day summit will explore the risks, potential costs, and proactive solutions necessary to combat and cope with climate change challenges affecting southern Arizona. Participants will learn from other municipal leaders and technical experts. The summit begins a dynamic regional dialogue to leverage ongoing and future efforts in cross-jurisdictional climate-related challenges. (read more)
Flagstaff Manager’s office in collaboration with CLIMAS at the University of Arizona and the Decision Center for a Desert City at Arizona State University will lead a workshop with the Police Department and the Streets section of the Public Works Department to develop performance measure for climate adaptation that these departments can use in future budget preparations and strategic planning. The workshop will build on Flagstaff’s Resiliency and Preparedness Study (RPS) and the policies adopted by the Flagstaff City Council. (read more)
Dr. Jeremy Weiss, a senior researcher with UA’s Environmental Studies Laboratory, will discuss the importance of seasonality and elevational gradients for understanding the effects of drought and warming on vegetation in topographically complex regions like the Southwest, and explain how projected changes in future regional climate may potentially further or alter these effects. (read more)
To make decisions about drought declarations, status, and relief funds, decision makers need high quality local-level drought impact data. In response to this need in Arizona, the Arizona DroughtWatch program was created, which includes an online drought impacts reporting system. Despite extensive and intensive collaboration and consultation with the intended public participants, Arizona DroughtWatch has had few consistent users and has failed to live up to its goal of providing decision makers or the public with high quality drought impacts data. (read more)
Dust storms create both health issues and transportation hazards. Valley Fever is endemic to the border region and gets carried with the dust. Interstates and local highways are often closed for hours in an attempt to avoid accidents and injuries. Windblown dust concentrations can be very high when strong winds occur during extended droughts - creating “exceptional episodes” of poor air quality. Air quality in rural areas of New Mexico and along the US/Mexico border is normally acceptable and well below the US EPA’s air quality standards for particulate matter. But these episodes expose millions of people to particulate levels that exceed air quality standards. (read more)
Gregg Garfin, lead-coordinating author of this report, will present these and other key findings on Friday, Jan. 25th at 10:30 am in Marshall 531. The report drew on contributions from 121 authors and will be published in early 2013. You can currently access the first chapter of the report, known as the Summary for Decision Makers. The full report will be available here.
The Assessment of Climate Change in the Southwest United States is one of eight regional technical contributions to the National Climate Assessment, which will summarize key findings from each region and will help inform informs the nation about observed changes and anticipated climate trends. The National Climate Assessment report will be published later this year. (read more)
This day-long town hall meeting will bring together approximately 90 people, including climate experts and users of climate information from academia, local, state, tribal, and federal governments, non-profit organizations, businesses, and industry. This event is by invitation only. (read more)
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