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NMSU ‘Climate Change’ lecture series brings experts from around the world

New Mexico State University faculty and Las Cruces community members are planning a series of seminars on climate change, including the physical processes, and effects on humanity and biological systems.


Man standing at a computer with slides to his right
David Hondula is a senior sustainability scientist and assistant professor at the Arizona State University School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning. He will give a presentation, “On the Front Lines of Urban Warming,” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sep. 19 in the Health and Social Services Auditorium, Annex Room 101. The presentation is part of the monthly New Mexico State Climate Change Education Seminar Series. (Courtesy photo ASU)
Man wearing a blue checked shirt
Reed Burgette, NMSU assistant professor of geological sciences is a member of the planning board for the New Mexico State University Climate Change Education Seminar Series. (Courtesy Photo)

NMSU geology professor Reed Burgette is part of the New Mexico State University Climate Change Education Seminar Series (NMSUCCESS) planning committee, which has organized experts from around the country for the once-a-month seminars, which will take place at either the Rio Grande Theatre or a lecture hall at NMSU through spring 2019.

“We hope that the speaker series will lead to future collaboration at NMSU and beyond studying and addressing the challenges of climate change,” Burgette said.

There is clear evidence for human-caused changes to the climate having measurable effects on global and regional temperature, precipitation, ice volume, and sea level, said a press release from NMSUCCESS.

Consequences of climate change in the Southwest entail hotter and drier conditions. Understanding, mitigating, and adapting to climate change requires expertise from across STEM, social science, and humanities fields, and NMSU is well positioned to contribute to educating our community and contributing to solutions at local to global levels, the press release said.

Nancy McMillan, Regents professor of geology, is on the planning committee along with Burgette.

“Climate change is the single most important topic to human society today because it affects, and will continue to affect, every aspect of human life and endeavor,” she said. “The implications are enormous and difficult to fully understand and anticipate, which is why the NMSU faculty and community members of NMSUCCESS decided to host a series of speakers on climate change. I'm excited about the series because the talks touch on many different aspects of climate issues.”

The other members of the planning committee are: Gary Roemer, NMSU professor in Fish, Wildlife & Conservation Ecology; David Dubois, New Mexico climatologist; NMSU professors William Boecklen, Avis James, and Scott Ferrenberg in Biology; Lara Prihodko, professor in Animal and Range Sciences; Joel Brown with the USDA-ARS-Jornada Experimental Range; Eric Morgan, NMSU professor in Communication Studies; and Rene Romo from the Office of U.S. Senator Tom Udall.

"Severe forest fires, mega-storms, and heat waves have been in the news lately and all are causing loss of life,” said Professor Roemer. “But these are just some of the symptoms of climate change. I am involved in NMSUCCESS in hopes of 'waking people up,' of instilling in folks the need to act on a wide variety of environmental impacts we are causing, climate change being just one. If we do not consider and act to sustain all life on our planet, I’m afraid that human society itself will be in jeopardy."

The series began in spring 2018 with two seminars. New Mexico State climatologist Dave Dubois, director of the New Mexico Climate Center at New Mexico State University, gave a talk titled, "Why are We Concerned about a Changing Climate?"

Gregg Garfin, deputy director for Science Translation and Outreach at the Institute of the Environment in the School of Natural Resources and the Environment at the University of Arizona, gave a talk titled, "A Look Ahead for the Southwest: Hotter and More Arid.”

Seminars planned for fall 2018:
•Seminar title: “On the Front Lines of Urban Warming” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Sep. 19 in the Health and Social Services Auditorium, Annex Room 101. David Hondula, senior sustainability scientist and assistant professor at the Arizona State University School of Geographical Sciences and Urban Planning.
•Seminar title: “Deep Time Insight Into Earth’s Future” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 3 at the Health and Social Services Auditorium, Annex Room 101. Isabel Montanez, sedimentary geologist, University of California-Davis.
•“The Three S’s of Climate Change: Simple, Serious and Solvable” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 7 at the Rio Grande Theatre. Scott Denning, atmospheric scientist, Colorado State University.
•Seminar title: “Environmental Markets: From Sulfur to Carbon to Water and Beyond” at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Nov. 28 in Domenici Hall, Room 109. Michael Walsh, Managing Director for Public Policy & Research, IncubEx, LLC.

Speakers scheduled for the Spring 2019:
•Katharine Hayhoe, atmospheric scientist, Texas Tech University.
•Joel Berger, wildlife conservation biologist in Colorado State University’s Department of Fish, Wildlife and Conservation Biology.
•Jonathan Overpeck, interdisciplinary climate scientist and dean of the University of Michigan School for the Environment and Sustainability.
•Park Williams, Research Professor at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Columbia University.

More information is available at: https://nmsuccess1.wordpress.com and https://twitter.com/nmsuccess1.