PCC Updates: May 1, 2020

We are in the place in between.  These last few months have been challenging for instruction, for fieldwork, for just being able to focus with little in-person human interaction.  One challenge now is defining a pathway forward, ways to adapt PCC programming that fosters community in the uncertainty that defines the times.  At the PCC board meeting on April 20, Rebecca Woodgate voiced what many on the board were thinking– that moving our major annual event, the PCC Summer Institute, scheduled for September, online, is the right thing to do.  This is an opportunity to explore the viability of remote workshops in creating a shared space to focus on how climate and our physical and human world interact, that showcases emerging knowledge and ways in which disciplines intersect. Will a virtual meeting provide the opportunity for team building and for a full discussion of the alternative ways that research can be brought to focus on the pressing questions of today? That is the challenge that we face with the summer institute and graduate student programming.

Read on for updates on recent activities and to learn more about how we are adapting.


To strengthen the use of PCC fellowships as recruitment tools a new model was piloted this year. PCC offered its fellowships to highly ranked graduate students interested in climate science who had a planned or pending but not yet awarded source of external funding.  Prospective students with partial support (e.g., grant funding) were also eligible.  Faculty from ATM S, ESS and OCN applied for the fellowship for a specific student and the department recommended a top candidate from the applicants.  Two PCC fellowships were awarded for the 2020-2021 academic year, one in ESS and one in OCN.  We look forward to meeting them this Fall.

Winter Welcome

On 25 February 2020, 80 climate scientists, educators, and staff from across campus gathered in person to celebrate much that was new in the community for 2019/2020 in the FSH Lobby and Auditorium. We awarded GCeCS certificates, heard from new postdocs, and voted for the summer institute theme (results of vote are below, read the full summary here).


Upcoming Events + Important Dates

Annual Summer Institute focuses the PCC community on “Climate Extremes” and “Climate and Environmental Equity”, September 14-18, 2020. But this time it’s virtual.

Planning is underway to create a virtual summer institute, one session per day, two hours per session, for 5 days. There will be panel discussions and work to meet the need for connecting across disciplines.  Last year Alex Stote led an exploration of what it would take to achieve a net-zero carbon emissions Summer Institute, which you can read in her blog “After Counting Our Summer Institute Carbon Emissions—Now What?”.  This September we will have the opportunity to address what is lost when we cannot meet in person, and what is gained from a new approach in this new world dynamic.  As more information becomes available it will be posted on our website.

Emissions by sector bar chart
Alex Stote
Carbon accounting at the 2019 Summer Institute at Friday Harbor Labs, San Juan Island, WA.  Image Credit Alex Stote.

PGraSC (PCC Graduate Student Steering Committee) Activities

Graduate Student Climate Conference (GCC) – The conference scheduled for early November at Pack Forest is now a virtual effort being jointly organized by UW and MIT.  The conference will resume meeting at Pack Forest in 2021, then back to MIT in 2022.  Contact Grad student leads (Sarah Ragen (sragen@uw.edu), Greta Shum (gshum@uw.edu) and Susannah Morey(smmorey@uw.edu)) for more information or to volunteer.

Climate Science on Tap Schooner Series – A local, graduate student adaptation of the Climate Science on Tap events, where the goal is to “serve up big topics in pint-sized packages with a fun, informative, conversation over a brew”. An in-person event was tentatively rescheduled from April 2 to May 28, probably at Flying Bike Brewery.  Topic: Climate Adaptation and Justice.

Spring Symposium and the Graduate Student Symposium (GSS) – joined forces and went virtual as a weekly zoom seminar.  Join us Tuesdays at 3 pm starting May 5th.  

The goal of this series is to bring together students and early career researchers across UW who are interested in climate from a variety of different angles.  Our first seminar on May 5th will have three speakers. Each speaker will present for 10-15 minutes, followed by Q&A. 

Speakers on May 5th:

  • Michael Diamond, Department of Atmospheric Sciences: What can (and can’t) we learn about climate and air quality from the socio-economic response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
  • Joel Eklof, Civil and Environmental Engineering: Transport of thermal energy by rain in permafrost landscapes.
  • Kyle Armour, School of Oceanography and the Department of Atmospheric Sciences: Title TBD.

All are encouraged to virtually join us to hear from the speakers on their research. Please use the following recurring Zoom link to join the meeting:

Join Zoom Meeting: https://washington.zoom.us/j/97795331960

Meeting ID: 977 9533 1960

If you are interested in giving a talk, please fill out this survey as soon as possible. We encourage talks on research at any stage of completion, as well as presentations on capstone projects, and non-capstone outreach.  

If you have any questions, please reach out to Lily Hahn (lchahn@uw.edu) or Christine Baker (cmbaker9@uw.edu).

Don’t miss PCC Zoom Trivia Night–May 15th, 5pm. Teams up to 4. Bonus points for most PCC diverse team, best dressed and more!!! Those without a team will have help being grouped with others and friends and family from outside UW are welcome to join. $50 in prizes from grubhub gift cards to toilet paper!  

Sign up sheet for teams here

Trivia Night Zoom information will be sent through the pcc listserves.

New graduate student initiative:  Actionable Community-Oriented Research eNgagement (ACORN) Projects. Spearheaded by three PCC Graduate Students, the goals are (1) to address community priorities related to climate, energy, and the environment through project-based collaboration, and (2) to expand student opportunities to apply broad scientific expertise and analytical skills toward advancing community goals.  There is currently a pilot ACORN project underway with a carbon footprint app being developed by the startup REDUCE.

Watch for more on this soon. Contact Lily Hahn (lchahn@uw.edu), Tyler Cox (tylersc@uw.edu) or Greta Shum (gshum@uw.edu)
for more information.

Keep an eye on the PGraSC event page, the PCC Calendar of Events and the quarterly seminar listings for climate related events.

Quarterly Courses

Want to know about quarterly climate-related courses? We compile them here, indicating whether it satisfies the climate minor or Graduate Certificate in Climate Science course requirements.   Are you teaching a climate-related course that you would like to see posted on our quarterly course listings?  Let us know (uwpcc@uw.edu).  

These listings include the regular interdisciplinary courses that are curated by the PCC, and will include the expected 2020/2021 offerings:

  • AUTUMN 2020: Fundamentals of Climate Change (Au) (ATM S/ESS/OCN 587), Kyle Armour
  • AUTUMN 2020: Communicating Climate Seminar (1cr) –  addressing assessment strategies and tools (ATMS/ESS/OCN 593), Miriam Bertram
  • WINTER 2021: Climate Dynamics (alt Wi) OCN 569/ESS 590/ATMS 591 (3 cr), Gerard Roe and Kyle Armour
  • WINTER 2021: The Global Carbon Cycle and Climate (ATMS/ESS/OCN 588) Curtis Deutsch
  • WINTER 2021: Paleoclimate/Proxies are combining into a single offering (likely as ATMS/ESS/OCN 589)  Julian Sachs and Eric Steig
  • WINTER 2021: Current Climate Research Seminar (ATMS/ESS/OCN 586)/ (ATMS/ESS/OCN 475) Changes in the Tropics,  LuAnne Thompson
  • SPRING 2021: Climate Modeling (ATMS/ESS 559 and OCN 558) Dargan Frierson
  • SPRING 2021: Current Climate Research Seminar: (ATMS/ESS/OCN 586, 2 cr) IPCC AR6, Becky Alexander