Center for Climate and Life Highlights at the 2019 AGU Fall Meeting - Center for Climate and Life

Center for Climate and Life Highlights at the 2019 AGU Fall Meeting - Center for Climate and Life

The American Geophysical Union Fall Meeting, the world’s largest gathering of Earth and space scientists, is from December 9–13 in San Francisco. Many scientists affiliated with the Center for Climate and Life will present their findings at the meeting. Below are a few highlights and newsworthy talks, listed in chronological order.

The 1930s Dust Bowl and the Corn Belt’s Future: Michael Puma, Center for Climate Systems Research

Research led by Puma, a 2016 Center for Climate and Life Fellow, projects that warmer temperatures will increase the likelihood of events similar to the 1930s Dust Bowl—an event briefly mirrored in the powerful 2012–13 U.S. drought. He suggests that crop losses could greatly exceed those of 2012­–13, and that shocks could cascade through the world food system. Monday Dec. 9, 1:40pm-6:00pm, Moscone South Poster Hall GC13G-1232.

Improved Prediction of Climate Systems on Timescales of Weeks to Decades: Andrew Robertson, International Research Institute for Climate and Society

Robertson, a 2017 Climate and Life Fellow, is creating the world’s first multi-model global probabilistic forecasting system for routine sub-seasonal weather and climate fluctuations (about a week to a month ahead, issued every week), tailored to societal impacts (floods, droughts, heat and cold waves, wind speeds). Robertson will discuss his research progress during the World Climate Research Programme Town Hall. Tuesday, Dec. 10, 6:30–7:30 p.m., Moscone West–2000, L2.

California’s Weather Whiplash: The Climate Connection: Park Williams, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

California has recently veered year to year from very wet to very dry, but it has not been clear whether this is part of a new pattern caused by warming climate. Two new studies suggest that it is. In a tree-ring reconstruction going back to 800 AD, Williams, a 2016 Climate and Life Fellow, shows that cold-season precipitation in the Sierra Nevada has undergone increasingly extreme and frequent swings, with most of both the wettest and driest years occurring since 2000. Thursday Dec. 12, 10:50–11:05am, Moscone West, 2004, L2 PP42B-03.

A New Consensus (and Warning) on Past CO2: Bärbel Hönisch, Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory

Reconstructions of past CO2 levels are needed to project the effects of current human emissions, but some previous estimates are now no longer considered sound, because of subsequent discoveries about how to interpret data. For the past three years, Hönisch, a scientist funded by the Center for Climate and Life, has spearheaded a global network of paleo-CO2 researchers from some 50 institutions to assemble a comprehensive new consensus on CO2 over the past 65 million years, and their correlations with climate swings. At AGU, they will launch a website that makes the timeline and data easily viewable for public, policymakers and scientists. Bottom line: Some past very warm times appear linked to much smaller increases in CO2 than previously thought. Paleo-CO2 website (site will go live during AGU). Thursday, Dec. 12, 11:20–11:35 a.m., Moscone West 2002-L2 PP42A-05.

— Adapted from a post on the Earth Institute’s State of the Planet