Earth Transformed

Climate change and its impacts are no longer merely abstract projections for the future. Instead, they are on-going and growing challenges for both humans and many of the natural systems upon which we depend. Globally, changes in the oceans, ice sheets and atmosphere provide clear fingerprints of the human causes, but also important lessons for society to learn as we seek solutions. Even more than when the UA Science Lecture Series originally turned to climate change a decade ago, the Southwest is dealing with a looming water crisis, unprecedented severe wildfire risk, emerging human health concerns and much more. Scholars and the public alike need to brainstorm and work to ensure a resilient and vibrant future for the Southwest and the planet.

For information about this year's new QA Science student section or for a mobile friendly version of this site visit

Live Streaming, TV Broadcast and Digital Viewing Options

Each lecture is streamed live by Arizona Public Media On Demand. Each lecture will also air on television after a one-week delay on Mondays, beginning February 1 at 8 PM. The broadcast will repeat: Tuesdays at 2 AM, Wednesdays at 4 PM, Fridays at 1 PM and 7 PM, Saturdays at 1 AM, Sundays at 1 PM, and again on Mondays at 12 AM and 2 PM.

Comcast Subscribers: Channel 76

Cox Subscribers: Channel 116

Each lecture is also made available on iTunes “U” as a Podcast and uploaded to YouTube 1-2 weeks after the lecture date. Links will be posted when available.

Jan 25 2016
Ocean’s Role in Climate: Heat and Carbon Uptake in the Anthropocene

Joellen Russell, 1885 Society Distinguished Scholar, Associate Professor, Department of Geosciences, College of Science, University of Arizona
Because it serves as the primary gateway through which the intermediate, deep, and bottom waters of the ocean interact with the atmosphere, the Southern Ocean has a profound influence on the oceanic uptake of anthropogenic carbon and heat. Yet it is the least observed and understood region of the world ocean because of harsh conditions. The oceanographic community is on the cusp of two major advances that have the potential to transform understanding of the ocean’s role in climate. The first is the development of new biogeochemical sensors mounted on autonomous profiling floats that allow sampling of ocean biogeochemistry and acidification in 3-dimensional space. The second is that the climate modeling community finally has the computational resources and physical understanding to develop fully coupled climate models that can represent crucial mesoscale processes in the Southern Ocean. Together with the observations, this new generation of models provides the tools to vastly improve understanding of the ocean’s ability to absorb anthropogenic carbon and heat both today and into the future.

Feb 1 2016
Climate Change and Global Food Security

David Battisti, Tamaki Endowed Chair, Professor of Atmospheric Science, University of Washington
By the end of the century, the season averaged growing temperature will very likely exceed the highest temperature ever recorded throughout the tropics and subtropics. By 2050, the increase in temperature alone is projected to cause a 20% reduction in the yield of all of the major grains (maize, wheat, rice and soybeans). The breadbasket countries in the midlatitudes will experience marked increases in year-to-year volatility in crop production. Increasing stresses on the major crops due to climate change, coupled with the increasing demand for food due to increasing population and development, present significant challenges to achieving global food security. This seminar explores the likely impact of climate change and volatility on food production and availability in the foreseeable future.

Feb 8 2016
Ecosystem Resilience: Navigating Our Tenuous Connection to Nature

Russell Monson, Louise Foucar Marshall Professor, Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, Laboratory of Tree Ring Research, College of Science, University of Arizona
How can humans thrive within a natural world that holds the ingredients necessary for our survival, but at the same time is threatened by our domination of that world? Sustainability of the goods and services provided by Earth’s ecosystems is dependent on mechanisms of resilience that include maintenance of biotic diversity and avoidance of climatically-controlled ‘tipping points’. This lecture will explore how recent trends in land use and anthropogenic climate warming have exposed vulnerabilities in the mechanisms of ecosystem resilience, and revealed the potential for surprising shifts in the productivity and persistence of ecosystems. Recognition of the interactions between anthropogenic climate forcing and natural climate cycles, and breakthroughs in the fields of genomics and ecosystem modeling, provide opportunities for management of ecosystem resilience. With adequate foresight and focus, humans can learn to navigate toward a more sustainable future.

Feb 22 2016
Climate Change and Human Health: Impacts and Pathways to Resilience

Kacey Ernst, GIDP affiliate Global Change, Entomology and Arid Lands, Associate Professor, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, College of Public Health, University of Arizona
Climate change induced impacts on human health are myriad; they range from direct effects, such as heat related mortality during extreme heat events, to indirect effects on infectious disease transmission systems. Predicting the degree of impact climate change will have on a specific health outcome becomes more difficult as the pathways become more indirect. One such example is determining the potential risk of dengue emergence in the U.S.-Mexico border region whereAe. aegypti mosquito populations that transmit the virus are well-established. A suitable natural environment is necessary but not sufficient for virus transmission. Social, economic, and behavioral factors can all enhance or reduce risk. While these factors make predictions difficult, they also suggest a level of control that we as a society have to reduce our risk of negative health outcomes linked to a changing climate. Both top-down and bottom-up actions must be taken now to mitigate current and future health threats.

Feb 29 2016
Carbon Sequestration: Can We Afford It?

Kimberly Ogden, Professor, Department of Chemical and Environmental Engineering, College of Engineering, University of Arizona
Climate change as a result of carbon dioxide emissions from industry and power plants (especially coal-fired plants) is a world wide concern. Global strategies are required such as those proposed by the International Energy Association, which states that a minimum of 1/6th of  CO2 future emissions must be captured and stored by 2050 to limit rises in average global temperature. Although there are many methods for capturing carbon, the primary barriers are testing them at a large scale, building an infrastructure to support them, and cost. These technologies include everything from injecting CO2 in the ground to recover oil to pumping it deep into the ocean to storing it in deep saline reservoirs to producing soil amendments.  In addition to reviewing these technologies, this lecture will discuss methods for reducing carbon emissions by using more alternative energy as well as CO2 uptake by microalgae to produce food and fuel.

Mar 7 2016
The Changing Earth: It’s Not Just A New Normal

Jonathan Overpeck, Thomas R. Brown Distinguished Professor,Regents Professor, Departments of Geosciences and Atmospheric Sciences, College of Science, Co-Director, Institute of the Environment, University of Arizona
It has been reported that climate change has generated a ‘new normal’ for our weather and our climate. True, but the new reality is less a single new climate than an ever-changing climate driven by the burning of fossil fuels and other human activities. The change is most noticeable at the global scale, but even in the Southwest the change is now firmly upon us in the form of unusually hot and severe drought, looming water shortage, widespread death of trees, unprecedented severe fire risk, dust storms, hotter heat waves and more. Climate change is likely driving the most pervasive and challenging transformations humans have yet faced. People from all walks of life will need to learn early and learn often how to adjust their plans and actions to the ever-changing new normal. Climate adaptation applied in concert with climate mitigation is the challenge of the century.

Lectures will be held at Centennial Hall on the campus of the University of Arizona.
View map to Centennial Hall


Parking is available in the Tyndall Avenue Garage.
View map to Tyndall Avenue Garage

Time and Cost

All lectures begin at 7 PM and are free to the public.

For More Information

Please call 520.621.4090

Course Overview
ECOL 596s is structured as a 1-unit graduate course with discussion, lecture and activities on the teaching of science in a high school classroom. The course is focused around the UA Science Lecture Series offered through the College of Science.

Teacher-participants meet once a week for three hours in the evening. In the first hour the class participates in an activity for teaching science in a high school science classroom or a presentation on a K-12 outreach opportunity at the UA. In the second hour the class attends the UA Science: Earth Transformed lecture. The third hour consists of discussion of the lecture and its application to the high school classroom. This course is structured for science teachers at the 6-12 grade level, but K-12 teachers at all levels are invited to participate. Pre-service teachers who are not yet certified may also take the course and earn undergraduate credit. Teachers earn 1 unit of graduate credit.

For More Information
John Pollard
Associate Professor of Practice
Chemistry and Biochemistry
(520) 621-8843

To Register
Please email John Pollard explaining (briefly) why you are interested in the class. Enrollment is limited.

Tuition and Fees
100% tuition is paid by the College of Science through funding provided by Raytheon, Vantage West Credit Union and Ventana Medical Systems.

Location and Time
Class location will be announced. Classes run from 6:00-9:00 pm on eight evenings from January 19 to March 14. Parking is available in the Tyndall Avenue Garage.
View map to Tyndall Avenue Garage

Educator Forum
Tuesday, January 19
Introduction Class
Attendance is mandatory.

Monday, January 25
The Ocean’s Role in Climate: Heat and Carbon Uptake in the Anthropocene
Joellen Russell, University of Arizona

Monday, February 1
Climage Change and Global Food Security
David Battisti, University of Washington

Monday, February 8
Ecosystem Resilience: Navigating Our Tenuous Connection to Nature
Russell Monson, University of Arizona

Monday, February 22
Climate Change and Human Health: Impacts and Pathways to Resilience
Kacey Ernst, University of Arizona

Monday, February 29
Carbon Sequestration: Can We Afford It?
Kimberly Ogden, University of Arizona

Monday, March 7
The Changing Earth: It’s Not Just a New Normal
Jonathan Overpeck, University of Arizona

Monday, March 14
Final Class
Details to be announced.

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