Climate Change and the Ocean

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Free public lecture at UC Riverside on May 7 will discuss how climate change and rising atmospheric carbon dioxide are fundamentally altering the ocean

By Iqbal Pittalwala on May 1, 2014

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Photo shows Scott Doney.

Scott C. Downey, holder of the W. Van Alan Clark Chair at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, is a senior scientist in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department there.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — How climate change and the rising atmospheric carbon dioxide are fundamentally altering the ocean is the focus of a free public lecture at the University of California, Riverside on Wednesday, May 7, 2014.

Scott C. Doney, holder of the W. Van Alan Clark Chair at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), will give the hour-long talk at 5:30 p.m. in Conference Rooms D and E, UCR Extension Center (UNEX), 1200 University Ave., Riverside.  Parking at UNEX is free for lecture attendees.

Titled “Climate Change and the Ocean,” the lecture is hosted by the university’s College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and the new Environmental Dynamics and GeoEcology (EDGE) Institute.

The impact on humans of climate change and rising carbon dioxide are being felt globally, often at rates greatly exceeding those in the historical and recent geological record.

“Observed trends include upper-ocean warming, sea-level rise, Arctic sea-ice retreat, ocean acidification, and reduced seawater oxygen,” said Doney, a senior scientist in the Marine Chemistry and Geochemistry Department at WHOI.  “Most of these perturbations, tied either directly or indirectly to human fossil fuel combustion, are projected to grow in coming decades, resulting in increasing negative effects on ocean life and marine resources.”

Most of his present work involves the use of numerical models and satellite remote sensing. He also has active data analysis, laboratory, and sea-going efforts.

Melting-ice-polar-bearDoney’s research interests span oceanography, climate, and biogeochemistry. Much of his research involves how the global carbon cycle and ocean ecology respond to natural and human-driven climate change, which may act to either damp or accelerate climate trends. A current focus is on ocean acidification due to the invasion into the ocean of carbon dioxide and other chemicals from fossil fuel burning.

Downey received a bachelor’s degree in chemistry from Revelle College at UC San Diego in 1986 and a Ph.D. in chemical oceanography in 1991 from the MIT/WHOI Joint Graduate Program. He returned to WHOI in 2002 following 11 years in the Advanced Study Program and Climate and Global Dynamics Division at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, CO.

He was a fellow of the WHOI’s Ocean and Climate Change Institute from 2003 to 2005 and serves as co-chair of the Biogeochemistry Working Group of the Community Climate System Model. He was chair and editor of “Ocean Carbon and Climate Change: An Implementation Strategy for U.S. Ocean Carbon Research,” released in 2004.

His many awards and honors include: the A.G. Huntsman Araward for Excellence in Marine Science and the James B. Macelwane Medal from the American Geophysical Union (AGU).  He is a fellow of the AGU as well as of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

For more information about the talk, please call (951) 827-3182 or email jennifer.reising@ucr.edu.

On EDGE

Global climate and environmental change, and the associated degradation of ecosystems, together form the biggest issue facing society today. UCR’s EDGE Institute aims to examine life in this changing environment, focusing on carbon (molecules to organisms), nutrients, and water at various temporal and spatial scales. It brings together UCR scientists from the biological, chemical, and physical sciences to examine particular questions or issues.

Directing the institute will be the holder of the Wilbur W. Mayhew Chair, recently endowed by anonymous donors who are passionate about the ecology of the southwest. Their $1.5 million gift honors Mayhew, a pioneering ecologist, UCR faculty member and co-founder of the UC Natural Reserves System. His work resulted in the preservation of key natural habitats throughout California for future generations of scientists and students. These habitats are invaluable today as laboratories of the natural world.

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