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New Mexico State University

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Second presentation in climate-change series to focus on historical climate events

Isabel Montañez, University of California – Davis geologist, will headline the second presentation of the NMSU Climate Change Education Seminar Series (NMSUCCESS) at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3 in the Health and Social Services Annex auditorium, Room 101.


Her presentation is titled “Deep Time Insight into Earth’s Future.”

Montañez’s presentation will explore how three past climate events preserved in the geological record illustrate how greenhouse-gas-forced climate change has unfolded in the past and what those changes suggest about the future.

“If the current levels of carbon emissions are not substantially decreased, atmospheric carbon dioxide is projected to increase by the end of this century to levels not previously experienced on Earth since the onset of our current glacial state 34 million years ago,” Montañez said.

NMSUCCESS is an eight-part series of presentations, spanning the fall 2018 and spring 2019 semesters, by experts in different fields all impacted by climate change. The first event was a presentation by David Hondula of Arizona State University.

Montañez is a distinguished professor at UC Davis and a global expert in sedimentary geology and measuring past climate. She has authored more than 120 peer-reviewed publications, and was the lead author of a National Research Council report about the implications of the deep-past record for understanding the future climate.

Montañez served as the president of the Geological Society of America for the 2017-2018 term and was active in promoting greater public engagement of geoscientists with the public.

“The rock record holds a rich record of past climatic conditions and their consequences for life on Earth,” said Reed Burgette, an NMSU assistant professor in the Department of Geological Sciences and one of the NMSUCCESS organizers. “The work of Dr. Montañez and colleagues observing these past changes is an important complement to the numerical climate models that are being used to forecast future climate impacts. Her talk will provide the Las Cruces community with a long-term perspective on the pressing challenge of climate change.”

Additional information about the climate change series is available at https://nmsuccess1.wordpress.com and https://twitter.com/nmsuccess1.