UW Program on Climate Change News
Spring 2017

Our new website launched about 6 months ago, and it’s time to bring some of the core PCC activities together in a newsletter.  We’ve put upcoming events, reviews of past, and links to core parts of the new website and more together in one place.  I hope you find it useful.  -Miriam

PCC Summer Institute at Friday Harbor Labs in the San Juan Islands

One of the core activities of the PCC is the Summer Institute, which features three-days of both formal and informal cross-disciplinary science discussion that often broadens into policy and impacts. Nationally-renowned guest speakers as well as local experts participate.

74 participants assembled for the 15th PCC Summer Institute in September 2016 to discuss the climate of the Antarctic and Southern Ocean. Cecilia Bitz organized the event, which featured presentations including climate processes, current climate change, and paleoclimate records of the past few million years with a focus on better understanding the present-day and future projections.

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This years’ institute will begin on Wednesday September 13, 2017 and end on Friday the 15th. The topic will be Climate Change and Population Health and will be done in conjunction with the UW wide Population Health Initiative. Topics such as food and water security in a changing climate, climate change and extreme weather including heat waves, and community resilience to climate change will be discussed. LuAnne Thompson and Cecilia Bitz will co-lead. Look for details and registration information later this quarter.

Changes to PCC Leadership/Board Membership in 2016/2017

LuAnne Thompson, Professor of Oceanography, has led the PCC since 2011 and will be taking a well-earned sabbatical starting this fall…to reset. She’s got lots of plans, with her home base here at UW, just not in the Ocean Sciences Building.

Cecilia Bitz, Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, will be the next PCC director! Her appointment begins Sept. 16, just after the Summer Institute. Ceci has served on the PCC executive committee or advisory board all but one of the past nine years.

Two board member transitions happened this year: Dennis Moore retired, after many years as NOAA/PMEL representative to the PCC board, and Chidong Zhang, Ocean Climate Research Division Leader at PMEL, will fill that role; Alison Cullen is on sabbatical and Ann Bostrom is serving as the Evans School representative. The graduate students added a second representative to the board (GSR) last September, with Paige Logan (OCN) joining Greg Quetin (ATMOS).

More about the current and past PCC board, as well as graduate student contacts in departments across campus can be found in the People section of the website.

Climate Conversations

This series addresses the wider issues of climate scientists in today’s world, gathering roughly once a month to discuss current events, and share tips on how to help/make a difference.

The community gathered for the first Climate Conversation on Nov. 17 to consider the results of the election and how the resulting transitions in the federal government may have an impact on U.S. participation in international climate agreements and in national energy policy. Potential impacts on funding for climate research were discussed but it was emphasized that much remains uncertain. We discussed possible responses of individual climate scientists, and ways that we can come together as a community to make a difference? This event was moderated by LuAnne Thompson, Oceanography/PCC Director and Greg Quetin, Atmospheric Sciences/PCC Graduate Student Representative.

January 9: The second Climate Conversation addressed scientist participation in advocacy, including UW rules and ways UW scientists have worked with external groups. Guest Panelists: Stephanie Harrington (College of the Environment), Judy Twedt (Atmospheric Sciences) and LuAnne Thompson (Oceanography/PCC Director).

February 27: Dr. Julian Agyeman discussed sustainability and environmental justice in the face of climate change. Dr. Julian Agyeman, Professor of urban and environmental policy and planning at Tufts University and author / leader of “Just Sustainabilities” was visiting UW as a part of the Privilege and the Environment Series led by the UW Graduate School. This lunch-time conversation was hosted by urban@uw.

Science Advocacy Workshop & Happy Hour with the Union of Concerned Scientists
Part 4 of the Climate Conversation series

Date: Wednesday, April 12
Time: 4:00 – 6:00
Location: Ocean Sciences Building, Room 425 (OCN 425)

The Union of Concerned Scientists and the PCC are co-hosting an afternoon of skills building, discussion, and networking. Staff from UCS will join colleagues from UW to share advocacy and professional experiences, and to run a hands-on training for communicating climate science with skeptical or hostile audiences. Attendees will walk away with next steps for engaging in science-based advocacy, including immediate, meaningful opportunities to use your expertise to advocate for climate action here in Washington, and to protect scientific integrity under the new administration.

RSVP by April 5th!

NEW this year! The PCC Graduate Student Spring Symposium

The first annual PCC Spring Symposium will be held on Saturday, April 8 from 9:00am-5:30 pm in the Fisheries Sciences Building’s Auditorium and Lobby. This graduate student-organized event will include a wide range of talks by PCC graduate students and postdocs throughout the day, as well as an afternoon poster session with beer/wine and hors d’oeuvres. This promises to be a great event with 60 people already registered to attend! All are welcome to attend for as much of the day as they would like even if they did not have a chance to register!

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PCC Graduate Fellowships

Each year in March, Oceanography, Earth and Space Science and Atmospheric Sciences nominate incoming graduate student applicants for PCC fellowships. These fellowships are intended as incentives to attract students to the UW. Sometimes these departmental awards go unfilled and the fellowship is made available to the broader PCC community through an application process. Last year the PCC added a fourth fellowship for PCC students in their first three years of PhD work at UW, who want to pursue an area of research that is interdisciplinary and different from their dissertation research. Look for the announcement of interdisciplinary/at-large opportunities later this spring.

Quarterly Listing of Climate-Related Courses

We (David, your undergraduate program assistant and I, Miriam) work to keep up with the ever increasing number of courses and departments offering climate-related courses, and to let you know about them through the website. Teaching a course you want the PCC community to know about? Send course information to and we’ll post it.

Current Courses

Graduate Certificate in Climate Science (GCeCS): Info session on April 4

This transcriptable credential, the GCeCS, combines courses, specifically designed to address the cross-linkages in the earth system that disciplinary curricula are not able to do, with a capstone in Climate Science Communication. The capstone has some specific requirements, including that climate science be communicated to an audience, and that a formal evaluation of the communication be planned and conducted. Your capstone project is framed through discussions of your interests, career goals and expertise, and matched with that of potential mentors. From a student currently completing her capstone…

“It’s amazing how this PCC capstone has opened doors. I think it’s amazing that you allow for such flexibility…”

Want to learn more? Join us for an informational session with potential mentors on April 4 at 2:30 in OCN 310.

RSVP if you will be there or just want to let us know you are thinking of doing a capstone.

PCC People Directory

Get Added! Just send an email to us at and let us know you are a proud PCC participant and we’ll send you an invitation to add your information. And don’t forget the head shot.

PCC listserves

Sign up to get email notification of activities, jobs, and other climate-related information relevant to the UW community and affiliates. Self-subscribe to one of our available listserves.

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