201505elsner-hurricaneMay 19, 2015 - Climate change may be the driving force behind fewer, yet more powerful hurricanes and tropical storms, says a Florida State geography professor. In a paper published today by Nature Climate Change, Professor Jim Elsner (FSU) and his former graduate student Namyoung Kang found that rising ocean temperatures are having an effect on how many tropical storms and hurricanes develop each year. Elsner and Kang projected that over the past 30 years, storm speeds have increased on average by 1.3 meters per second — or 3 miles per hour — and there were 6.1 fewer storms than there would have been if land and water temperatures had remained constant.

FSU Press Release

Nature Climate Change Journal Article
uejio-chrisMay 12, 2015 - Extreme heat kills more people in the United States than hurricanes, with many victims succumbing to heat inside their own homes. Now, a Florida State University researcher will use an Environmental Protection Agency research grant to study health outcomes for people vulnerable to extreme building temperatures. Christopher Uejio, an assistant professor in the FSU Department of Geography, will be the principal investigator on the three-year, $500,000 EPA study, “Indoor Environment and Emergency Response Health Outcomes.” The study’s co-investigator is James Tamerius of the University of Iowa, one of three institutional partners in the research, along with the Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) and Grady Emergency Medical Service (EMS) of Atlanta, Ga.

FSU Press Release
201505fjordMay 5, 2015 - In the effort to remove excess carbon dioxide from our atmosphere, mankind has an unlikely ally: fjords. The dramatic, glacier-carved inlets found from Alaska to Antarctica capture and store carbon better than other open-water marine systems, removing it from the atmosphere, says a University of Florida study published today in the journal Nature Geoscience. “Carbon sequestration is the big buzzword, but we’re still getting a handle on how it works,” said Thomas Bianchi, a UF geochemist on the team that made the discovery. In order to make informed land-use decisions and accurate climate predictions, “finding and understanding these hot spots is critical,” he said.

UF Press Release

Nature Geoscience Peer-Reviewed Journal Article

Related Nature Geoscience News & Views Article
201505coralMay 5, 2015 - Most people know the health benefits of taking daily supplements, but what about endangered corals? A new study led by University of Miami (UM) Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science researchers found that the critically endangered Staghorn coral may benefit from supplemental nutrition to mitigate the adverse impacts of global climate change. The results are the first to document that an endangered coral species, which was once found widely throughout South Florida and the Caribbean, can buffer the effects of increased CO2 in the ocean by increasing feeding rates. “Our study shows a pathway to resilience previous unknown for this particular species, which was once a dominant species in South Florida,” said UM Rosenstiel School Ph.D. student Erica Towle, lead author of the study. “This has implications for how we care for and where we out-plant Staghorn corals back onto reefs to give them the best chance for resilience possible in the future.”

UM Press Release

PLOS ONE Article

YouTube Video
munoz-carpena-rafaelApril 30, 2015 - Dr. Rafael Muñoz-Carpena, Professor at IFAS Agricultural and Biological Engineering Department, has been elected Corresponding Member ("Académico") of the Royal Academy of Engineering of Spain.

The mission of the Royal Academy of Engineering of Spain is focused on the promotion of Spanish engineering in our society and on providing independent advice to public and private institutions on engineering-related matters. For this purpose it boasts 60 permanent members and 40 corresponding members from 14 countries who form a network of excellent engineering and architecture professionals. Another important objective of the Royal Academy of Engineering of Spain is to offer a forum that enables the exchange of knowledge, ideas and opinions between the engineering and corporate sectors. In short, the Academy perceives engineering as an essential ingredient of the progress and welfare of our society and, through its activities, pursues and promotes the integration of engineering in the culture of our country.

The Royal Academy of Engineering of Spain has its headquarters in the beautiful XVII century Palace of the Marquis of Villafranca, in the historical centre of Madrid, very near to the Royal Palace.

Professor Muñoz-Carpena will present his inaugural speech and receive the distinctive emblems of his new rank of "Académico" (Royal Academy medal and Member Diploma) at the ceremony in Madrid later this year.

Dr. Rafael Muñoz-Carpena has also been selected by the American Society for Agricultural and Biological Engineers (ASABE) to receive the 2015 Hancor Soil and Water Engineering Award for his exceptional accomplishments in hydrological and integrated environmental modeling and education of next generation of soil and water scientists and engineers. He has also been selected Fellow of ASABE this year.

Congratulations to Rafa on these great recognitions!
201504compact-mtgApril 30, 2015 - On April 17, 2015, FCI hosted the first joint working meeting with The Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact (Compact) at the Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University Davie Campus. Together the group identified collaborative opportunities to help Florida meet the challenges of global climate change. Members of the Compact Steering Committee from Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe and Palm Beach Counties, as well as researchers from Florida Atlantic University, Florida International University, Florida State University, University of Miami and University of Florida presented. Representatives from Florida Institute for Health Innovation, the South Florida Water Management District, Southeast Climate Consortium and Nova Southeastern University attended. Highlights included an invitation to work together on the Broward-led Resilient Redesign II, a continuation of the effort started in 2014 selecting three pilot sites for climate change related redevelopment. Miami-Dade announced that FCI would be welcome to assist for their Indicators Working Group, particularly with health impacts.

In a dynamic networking exercise, Compact and university partners explored two questions central to the meeting: How can the FCI better work with the Compact? How can the Compact better work with the FCI? A detailed list of needs and action items resulted. For example, Compact partners expressed the need to develop climate change economic models, risk assessment information, and communication strategies.

While some opportunities lend themselves to participation from universities in southeast Florida, joint efforts are open to all FCI members. Since the formal inception of the FCI-Compact partnership in 2014, both partners have expressed the desire for an inclusive working relationship promoting the ideals of the agreement: (1) to seek better alignment between public sector information/management needs and ongoing university research, and (2) to improve coordination between the Compact and FCI universities in pursuing competitive funding opportunities. Achieving these goals will ensure that together both partners are well-positioned for competitive grant opportunities and are jointly advancing Florida’s environmental, social, and economic sustainability through applied research and planning collaborations. April’s workshop represented another step on that journey.

For more information on the FCI-Compact Partnership, please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
201504permafrostApril 24, 2015 - Carbon, held in frozen permafrost soils for tens of thousands of years, is being released as Arctic regions of the Earth warm and is further fueling global climate change, according to a Florida State University researcher. Assistant Professor of Oceanography Robert Spencer writes in Geophysical Research Letters that single-cell organisms called microbes are rapidly devouring the ancient carbon being released from thawing permafrost soil and ultimately releasing it back into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide. Increased carbon dioxide levels, of course, cause the Earth to warm and accelerate thawing. "When you have a huge frozen store of carbon and it’s thawing, we have some big questions," said Dr. Spencer. "The primary question is when it thaws, what happens to it? Our research shows this ancient carbon is rapidly utilized by microbes and transferred to the atmosphere, leading to further warming in the region and therefore more thawing. So we get into a runaway effect."

FSU Press Release

Geographical Research Letters Article
obeyApril 24, 2015 - The American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) selected Dr. Jayantha Obeysekera, Hydrologic & Environmental Systems Modeling, and Jose Sala, Emeritus Professor, Colorado State University, as recipients of the prestigious 2015 Norman Medal. They co-authored the paper, "Revisiting the Concepts of Return Period and Risk for Nonstationary Hydrologic Extreme Events."

The Norman Medal was instituted and endowed in 1874 by George H. Norman and is the highest honor granted by the ASCE for a technical paper that "makes a definitive contribution to engineering." In selecting this work, the committee commended it as, " the presentation of a convincing concept and needed statistical techniques that advance knowledge of nonstationarity in hydrologic observations due to anthropogenic causes and natural processes." The award will be presented during the ASCE annual convention in New York City on October 13.​

The paper was also published in the March 2014 issue of Journal of Hydrologic Engineering and selected as the year's "Best Paper" by the editors. This award will be presented at the World Environmental & Water Resources Congress in Texas in May.
201504freezeApril 9, 2015 - As worldwide temperatures rise and the earth sees extreme weather conditions in both summer and winter, a team of researchers with the University of Florida and Kansas State University have found that that there is potential for insects – and possibly other animals – to acclimate and rapidly evolve in the face of this current climate change.

“Organisms can deal with these stressful transitions from warm to cold by either acclimating – think about dogs putting on their winter coats – or by populations genetically evolving to deal with new stresses, a phenomenon known as rapid climate adaptation,” said Alison Gerken, a post-doctoral associate with UF’s Department of Molecular Genetics and Microbiology and the lead author of a new study, published this month in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

UF Press Release

Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences Article
201504um-coralApril 2, 2015 - While research shows that nearly all coral reef locations in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico will experience bleaching by mid-century, a new study showing in detail when and where bleaching will occur shows great variety in the timing and location of these harmful effects.

The new research published in Global Change Biology by NOAA scientists and colleagues provides the first fine-scale projections of coral bleaching, an important planning tool for managers.

“Our new local-scale projections will help resource managers better understand and plan for the effects of coral bleaching,” said lead author Ruben van Hooidonk, a coral and climate researcher with the Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies at the University of Miami’s Rosenstiel School and NOAA’s Atlantic Oceanographic and Meteorological Laboratory.

NOAA Press Release

Global Change Biology Article

Image credit: NOAA
201504envmgmt-siApril 1, 2015 - This series of papers, which include several FCI co-authors, describes results of a workshop where a regional hydrologic model was used to simulate the hydrology expected in the Florida Everglades in 2060 with climate changes including increased temperature, evapotranspiration, and sea level, and either an increase or decrease in rainfall. Ecologists with expertise in various areas of the ecosystem evaluated the hydrologic outputs, drew conclusions about potential ecosystem responses, and identified research needs where projections of response had high uncertainty. Resource managers participated in the workshop, and they present lessons learned regarding how the new information might be used to guide Everglades restoration in the context of climate change.

Access Special Issue: http://link.springer.com/journal/267/55/4/page/1
201504mannMarch 30, 2015 - What is the "false pause" in climate change data recently under debate? Distinguished Professor of Meteorology from Penn State Michael Mann presented his research to a rapt audience at a Geosciences Colloquium co-hosted by Center for Environmental Studies at Florida Atlantic University on February 27, 2015. Dr. Mann explained that the pause in the climate’s rise in temperature recently does not indicate a slowing in climate heating. Rather Mann and his team discovered an internal variability component--internal and forced low-frequency surface temperature variability at global and regional scales--that affects the climate directly and, when used in the climate models, does produce the false pause cooling we are experiencing now. It also indicates that the increase in temperature will begin soon and will be drastically hotter and more rapid than previously thought.

Mann said recent climate cooling is not a slowdown of our climate warming rate. Instead the false pause is part of the internal variability of the climate neglected in past models. Neglecting internal variability has created a false sense of hope and failure to prevent harmful habits discouraging anthropogenic forcing. Typically used procedures for isolating natural internal oscillations like the Atlantic- and Pacific-based internal multidecadal variability (termed “AMO” and “PMO,” respectively) do fail when tested in a model-based framework where forced and internal variability are both known prior. The AMO signal is at the maximum shallow and the PMO is trending drastically downward.

The discovery, which led other researchers to similar conclusions, explained why the climate has been so cold this past winter compared to the last 5 years. It also explained how the natural, internal climate variability has a huge effect on predicting future climate and why the climate research community had not been in doubt of this component before. Many models incorporating the internal variability got the same results. Cooperation among the climate research community has led to great advances in a short time. Mann explained how the models run with thousands of parameters run by a single computer would have taken a year for produce result. Instead, a group of intelligent people collaborated for an important discovery.

The team reported their results in Science: http://www.sciencemag.org/content/347/6225/988.short
201504ces-eventsMarch 30, 2015 - Under the direction of Dr. Colin Polsky, at the helm of Florida Atlantic University’s Center for Environmental Studies (CES) since August 2014, a number of workshops and opportunities for climate-related exchange and collaboration are on the horizon for FCI researchers and the wider community of stakeholders in Florida.

For the Spring, CES will host a workshop allowing representatives from FCI Universities and Southeast Florida Regional Climate Change Compact to meet and exchange ideas for research and collaboration. These two institutions have just started an exciting, formal working relationship to ensure that cutting-edge climate-related research meets the needs of some of the region’s leading stakeholders.

Following the success of their February 2015 USGS-FAU “Scientist Meet & Greet,” CES will host two more technical workshops, both relating to Everglades restoration. The “Precipitation downscaling, state-of-the-science” workshop will be held June 22-23, 2015, and the “Invasive species: scientific and management frontiers” workshop will take place in July or August. Both events will be convened in the Ft. Lauderdale area.

Continuing the popular series of Sea-Level Rise Summits pioneered by Emeritus CES Director Dr. Leonard Berry, CES plans for early 2016 “A Warming Arctic: Shared Futures from Alaska to Florida.” The meeting will convene leading researchers, decision-makers, and other interested stakeholders to discuss the state of sea-level rise science, and how public policy and private adaptation efforts can lessen the impacts everywhere.

And somewhere on the horizon, CES hopes to convene one more meeting based on the subject “Architecture/design responses to sea-level rise in the built environment.” The academic year 2015-2016 promises to be a year full productive conversation and scientific advancement.

For more information or to participate in CES initiatives, please visit www.ces.fau.edu and/or contact Mary Beth Hartman, Conference & Outreach Coordinator, Center for Environmental Studies, FAU via email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by telephone at 954-236-1203.
logo-ufMarch 27, 2015 - The University of Florida is one of 10 institutions selected to be part of a White House initiative aimed at keeping students enrolled in science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, fields.

During its 5th annual science fair earlier this week, the White House announced its $240 million pledge to further boost STEM initiatives around the country. Included was a description of the new University Innovation Freshman (#uifresh) campaign that will aim to improve retention rates among STEM students in their first year of college.

According to a report published by the President’s Council of Advisors on Science & Technology, 60 percent of students who arrive at college intending to major in STEM subjects will change their majors, often in their first year. The #uifresh campaign is run by the National Center for Engineering Pathways to Innovation, or Epicenter. The campaign, funded by the National Science Foundation and directed by Stanford University and VentureWell, aims to halt and reverse this trend and encourage more students to complete STEM degrees.

“The University of Florida is one of the largest producers of STEM degrees in the nation, and this initiative will help us become an even bigger contributor at the national level,” Provost Joe Glover said.

UF Press Release: http://news.ufl.edu/archive/2015/03/uf-one-of-10-schools-named-in-white-house-stem-initiative.html
201503fit-coralMarch 25, 2015 - Reef-building corals, already thought to be living near their upper thermal limits, are experiencing unprecedented declines as the world's oceans continue to warm. New evidence from scientists at Florida Institute of Technology shows there may be some climate refuges where corals will survive in the future. The study appears in the March issue of Global Change Biology.

Ph.D. student Chris Cacciapaglia and his advisor, Robert van Woesik, hypothesized that not all regions of the oceans are warming at the same rate. "The idea was to identify regions that will experience little temperature change by the year 2100 --refuges where coral survival is most likely," Cacciapaglia said. Although their models show significant loss of corals as the oceans warm, they also highlight 12 areas -- five in the Indian Ocean and seven in the Pacific -- where corals are likely to survive at least until 2100. "These refuges should be essential for coral survival into the future, and these locations deserve protection," said van Woesik. Van Woesik emphasized that local marine protected areas are not the only viable management option. The new study points to global sanctuaries as a more comprehensive management strategy.

FIT Press Release: http://newsroom.fit.edu/2015/03/25/florida-tech-study-locates-refuges-for-corals-in-a-changing-climate/

Global Change Biology Article: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/gcb.12851
March 15, 2015 - In response to several inquiries about the FCI’s response to the allegations about Governor Scott’s unwritten rules regarding the use of the words “climate change” and “global warming” by state agencies in communications, a statement was provided to news agencies and local media. FCI @ UF Director James Jones provided the statement found here:

201503uf-eventsMarch 2, 2015 - The FCI at the University of Florida hosted 2 international events to explore the impacts of climate on global agriculture. The first event brought together pest and diseases specialists from 10 countries for 2.5 days of team building and solution-oriented research collaborations. See more at http://conference.ifas.ufl.edu/pest/index.html.

The second event was the AgMIP 5th Global Workshop which brought researchers in agronomy, economics, climate, and data optimization together toward solutions for food security issues facing the growing population globally. See more at http://www.agmip.org/
201504uf-exhibitMarch 11, 2015 - Visitors can discover 70 million years of climate change on Earth in a new exhibit now open at the Florida Museum of Natural History in Gainesville. The “Our Changing Climate: Past and Present” exhibit uses large-format graphs showing major historic events to present the story of Earth’s changing climate over geologic time. The exhibit also highlights how Earth’s climate fluctuates and what global trends are affecting life today.

UF Press Release: http://news.ufl.edu/archive/2015/03/florida-museum-opens-new-exhibit-detailing-world-climate-change.html

Museum Website: http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/exhibits/limited-time-only/changing-climate/
201503emissionsMarch 2, 2015 -“Changing the Atmosphere: Anthropology and Climate Change” is the final report of the American Anthropological Association’s (AAA) Global Climate Change Task Force. The report’s objectives are: to provide a guiding document on anthropology and climate change in its broadest sense, including anthropology’s contributions to, and concerns about, climate change and climate change policy and discourse; to provide commentary on interdisciplinary research and climate change policy and discourse; to provide commentary on interdisciplinary research and relationships; and to identify research frontiers for anthropology with respect to climate change. The audiences for the report are the AAA Executive Board and the anthropological discipline; interdisciplinary colleagues, organizations, and institutions; and ultimately and ideally, policymakers, the media, and the general public. This Executive Summary provides readers with a short description of the highlights and sections of the Report, including the Conclusions and Recommendations (both more fully developed over the course of the report and specifically in Sections 7.0 and 8.0, respectively).

The report has the following foci in its approach: (a) human causes and contributions to climate change and the problematizing of human drivers; (b) the identification of lessons learned about human adaptation, survival and change over long time periods; (c) the critique of central concepts used in climate policy on global, state and local levels (adaptation, vulnerability and resilience); (d) the importance of the local and community engagement; and (e) interdisciplinary strengths and opportunities, and research priorities for the future for anthropology and global environmental change.

Download Report: http://www.aaanet.org/cmtes/commissions/upload/GCCTF-Changing-the-Atmosphere.pdf