Teaching Climate Change using Large Lakes
The 2012 teaching climate workshop was held June 19-20th in conjunction with the AMQUA Biennial Meeting. Co-sponsored by the USNC/INQUA, this workshop will introduce participants to an array of data that can be gathered from large lakes and used to study past climates and predict future climate changes. The workshop will provide hands-on opportunities to examine cores and historic images and use public-domain databases to develop classroom teaching exercises. It will also include an optional field trip that combines a tour of working core and research labs with a cruise on Lake Superior on the research vessel Blue Heron. Read the workshop overview | View the workshop program.
- Steve Colman, University of Minnesota Duluth
- Karin Kirk, Science Education Resource Center, Carleton College
- Rolfe Mandel, University of Kansas
- Alison Smith, Kent State University
USNC/INQUA Vice Chair
- Ester Sztein, Board on International Scientific Organizations, National Academy of Sciences
- Katryn Wiese, Department of Earth Sciences, City College of San Francisco
- Greg Wiles, The College of Wooster
Past Activities and Events
2012 AAAS Symposium - “Toward Stabilization of Net Global Carbon Dioxide Levels”
Sponsored by the four USNCs for the Earth Sciences and spearheaded by the U.S. National Committees for Soils and for Geodesy and Geophysics, this session provided a clear understanding and comparison of the attributes of the various sequestration strategies, including their capacity, economics, risks, application time-scales, and long-term stability. The symposium was held February 17, 2012 at the AAAS meeting in Vancouver, Canada. Speakers included:
- Isabel Montanez (University of California): Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide and Climate Sensitivity in a Warmer World
- Sally Benson (Stanford University): Carbon Dioxide Sequestration in Deep Sedimentary Formations
- Peter Brewer (Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute): Impacts of Stabilizing Atmospheric Carbon Dioxide Levels: The Role of the Oceans
- Keith Paustian (Colorado State University): Carbon Sequestration and Greenhouse Gas Mitigation in Agriculture: Living Up to Potential?
- Karen Haugen-Kozyra (KHK Consulting Ltd.): Carbon Pricing Policies in North America: Past, Present, and Future
- Ben Yamagata (Coal Utilization Research Council): Managing Carbon Dioxide Emissions Today: An Industry Perspective
Organizer: Paul M. Bertsch, University of Kentucky
Co-Organizer: Ester Sztein, The National Academies
Discussants: James E. Hansen, NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies and Cesar Izaurralde, Joint Global Change Research Institute
More details and press coverage...
2012 AAAS Symposium - “Causes and Effects of Relative Sea-Level Changes in the Northeast Pacific"
This session, spearheaded by the U.S. National Committee for Geodesy and Geophysics, first reviewed the various contributing factors to relative sea-level changes in the Northeast Pacific and then examined likely adaptations with an emphasis on shores in British Columbia. The symposium was held February 19, 2012 at the AAAS meeting in Vancouver, Canada. Speakers included:
- John J. Clague (Simon Fraser University): Impacts of Rising Seas on the British Columbia Coast in the 21st Century
- Denise J. Reed (University of New Orleans): Surviving Sea-Level Rise: What Can Be Done To Maintain Viable Coastal Wetlands?
- David Flanders (University of British Columbia): Flood Adaptation Near Vancouver: A Regional Adaptation Collaborative
Organizer: Brian F. Atwater, U.S. Geological Survey
Co-organizers: C.K. Shum, Ohio State University and Ester Sztein, The National Academies
Moderator: Brian F. Atwater, U.S. Geological Survey
Discussants: Margaret Davidson, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Coastal Services Center
More details and press coverage...
International Union for Quaternary Research (INQUA) in Bern, Switzerland
Once every four years, Quaternary researchers from around the world meet at the INQUA Congress to present their work, discuss the latest research results, and develop the scientific agenda for the years to come. In 2011, the Congress took place in Bern, Switzerland, July 21-27. The Congress program addressed the themes of the Commissions during 6 days of oral and poster sessions, plenary presentations, and side meetings. The official delegate was Cathy Whitlock (chair), Montana State University; and the alternate delegate was Eric C. Grimm, Illinois State Museum.
USNC/INQUA organized a travel fellowship grant for U.S. early career scientists involved in Quaternary science research to present their work at the Congress. 13 full fellowships and 5 partial fellowships were granted. The funding for the program was generously provided not only by the National Science Foundation, but also by AMQUA. In conjunction with the Congress, the USNC/INQUA organized a mentoring dinner for the awardees where the early career scientists were able to network and meet members of the U.S. National Committee.
Teaching Climate Change Workshops
The USNC/INQUA, working together with the American Quaternary Association (AMQUA) and On the Cutting Edge, a professional development program for current and future geoscience faculty, supported by the National Association of Geoscience Teachers with funding provided by a grant from the National Science Foundation, has developed a series of workshops on "Teaching Climate Change." These workshops are held before the biennial AMQUA meetings. References, lesson plans, and resource materials on teaching climate change that are developed as part of these workshops are available on a website, available for use by college instructors and other interested scientists. Thus far three workshops have been organized:
- August 10-11, 2010: Teaching Climate Change from the Geologic Record, University of Wyoming, Laramie, WY.
- June 2-3, 2008: Teaching Climate Change with Ice Core Data, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA. Read more about the outcomes of this teaching workshop on the Activities Page.
- August 14-15, 2006: Teaching Climate Change: Lessons from the Past, Montana State University, Bozeman, MT.
Joint Earth Sciences U.S. National Committees Activities
The USNC/INQUA and the U.S. National Committees for soil science (IUSS), geodesy and geophysics (IUGG), and geological sciences (GS) actively collaborate throughout the year on various activities, including:
“Global Sea Level Rise: Observation, Causes, and Prediction,” a symposium held on February 16, 2009 at the 2009 American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois.
The three-hour session focused on the scientific understanding of sea level rise as a result of anthropogenic climate change. Leading scientists conveyed the latest findings, highlighted and increased public awareness of the consequences of sea level rise, and its potential social and economic impacts. The speakers included Richard Alley (Penn State), Anny Cazenave (Centre National d’Etudes Spatiales, France), Georg Kaser (Universität Innsbruck, Austria), Sydney Levitus (NOAA), Stefan Rahmstorf (Universität Potsdam, Germany), and C.K. Shum (The Ohio State University). Discussants included John Church (CSIRO, Australia) and Robert Muir-Wood (Risk Management Solutions, Inc., United Kingdom). The session was moderated by William C. Boicourt (University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science). This jointly co-sponsored event was co-organized by USNC/GG members C.K. Shum, William C. Boicourt, and Robin Muench. View speaker presentations. “Global Connections among Earth Sciences, Health, and Policy,” BISO's September 2008 symposium representing the geosciences, biological sciences, chemistry, and the multidisciplinary areas of biodiversity and global change. The three-person advisory committee that helped plan the symposium included a past member of the USNC/Soil Science and the co-chair for medical science of the International Medical Geology Association, an IUGS-affiliate society. View the symposium program and list of speakers (72KB PDF). The event was supported by the National Science Foundation, the American Geological Institute, and the Geological Society of America.
"Planet Earth: Lessons Ignored, Lessons Learned,” an International Year of Planet Earth-themed symposium at the February 2008 AAAS meeting held in Boston, Massachusetts. The 90-minute symposium included the following presentations:
• I-Earth: Introduction to Planet Earth— Rosemary Knight, Stanford University;
• Soil: Sustaining Food, Energy, and Human Health—Charles W. Rice, Kansas State University and
Ian Pepper, Arizona State University (USNC/Soils current and past members, respectively);
• When the Sahara Was Green—Farouk El-Baz, Boston University (USNC/GS chair).
View symposium announcement (17KB PDF).
Support of the International Year of Planet Earth
The International Year of Planet Earth (IYPE) is a multidisciplinary, international project initiated by the IUGS in cooperation with UNESCO and partnership of the other international geoscience unions, as well as about 100 signatory countries, 74 active IYPE national committees, and many other related organizations throughout the world. IYPE’s principal goal is to demonstrate the enormous potential of the Earth sciences as foundations for a safer, healthier and wealthier society.
The U.S. National Committee for IYPE received grant support from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) for an IYPE partnership with the National Public Radio (NPR) program EarthSky to produce ten 90-second IYPE-themed radio podcasts. EarthSky is a digital media company advocating science as a vital voice in 21st century decision-making. Discover EarthSky science podcasts for the Web community.
America's Climate Choices
In response to a request from Congress, the National Academies have launched America's Climate Choices, a suite of studies designed to inform and guide responses to climate change across the nation. Experts representing various levels of government, the private sector, nongovernmental organizations, and research and academic institutions were selected to serve on four panels and an overarching committee. The following four panels of experts released consensus reports in early 2010:
* Panel on Limiting the Magnitude of Future Climate Change
* Panel on Adapting to the Impacts of Climate Change
* Panel on Advancing the Science of Climate Change
* Panel on Informing Effective Decisions and Actions Related to Climate Change