UW News

May 22, 2003

Past PNW climate not a good guide for future, researcher says

News and Information

How global climate change may alter how we live in the Pacific Northwest will be discussed by University of Washington research scientist Nate Mantua Tuesday, May 27, 7 p.m., Kane Hall 120. “Global Changes, Local Impacts: Consequences of natural and human-caused climate change for life in the Pacific Northwest,” the second annul lecture sponsored by the University of Washington’s Program on Climate Change, is free and open to the public.

The 1998-’99 world record 100 feet of snowfall on Mount Baker and the North Cascades, followed a few short years later by the severe drought of 2001 serve as dramatic reminders that our climate has the potential for surprising behavior, Mantua says.

He will present examples of how climate has effected salmon, evergreen forests, mountain snow pack and river runoff showing the climate sensitivities and vulnerabilities to economically and ecologically important natural systems in the region. Most of Mantua’s research focuses on the water cycle and marine ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest, and how climate information is or isn’t being used in resource management decisions.

The Program on Climate Change was launched last year to take better advantage of some of the nation’s best research and teaching on climate. The program’s goal is to coordinate research and undergraduate and graduate teaching among units that conduct research in wide ranging subjects that include atmospheric chemistry, carbon cycling, oceanography, sea ice, hydrology and paleoclimate. See http://depts.washington.edu/uwpcc/

In the past faculty and students have, in principle, been free to move back and forth but, in practice, degree requirements and departmental responsibilities have limited the extent to which such interdisciplinary exchanges took place. Through the Program on Climate Change, faculty can receive support to develop new interdisciplinary courses that then become part of various departmental curricula. There also will be resources — such as support for equipment, technicians and programmers — to help UW researchers to assemble teams and develop winning proposals for funding.
For more information:
Mantua, 206-616-5347, mantua@atmos.washington.edu