Seminar explores Wisconsin's response to climate change

Feb. 16, 2009

by Tom Sinclair

How is climate change affecting Wisconsin, and how can the state adapt?

A series of free public seminars beginning Feb. 26 will address those questions.

"Bracing for Impact: Climate Change Adaptation in Wisconsin," is the theme of the nine-part series, to be held in room 1111 Genetics-Biotechnology Center Building, 425 Henry Mall.

Each seminar will start at 7 p.m. and last about an hour. Most will feature two speakers. All but one will be on Thursday evenings. Free parking is available nearby in Lot 20 at 1390 University Ave.

The series is sponsored by the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts (WICCI). Launched last year by UW-Madison's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies and the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources (DNR), the statewide project seeks to assess the potential consequences of climate change for Wisconsin's ecosystems, industries, farms and human health and to recommend adaptation strategies.

Organizer Michael Notaro says the seminars will be aimed at the general public as well as at people with professional interests in the topic who may not be familiar with WICCI.

"We've had big improvements in climate models," says Notaro, a scientist with the Nelson Institute's Center for Climatic Research (CCR) and a WICCI research collaborator. "Now we can more confidently trust their predictions, and we can pursue them in higher resolution to look at the probable affects of climate change in more detail, on the scale of the state."

Seminar dates, topics, and speakers are:

  • Feb. 26 — Introducing the Wisconsin Initiative on Climate Change Impacts. Dick Lathrop, research scientist, DNR; and Dan Vimont, assistant professor, environmental studies/atmospheric and oceanic sciences, UW-Madison.
  • March 4 (Wednesday) — Wisconsin's future climate. Michael Notaro.
  • March 19 — Recent evidence of Wisconsin climate change. Chris Kucharik, assistant professor, agronomy/environmental studies, UW-Madison.
  • March 26 — Responses of Wisconsin's fish to climate change. Matthew Mitro and Jon Lyons, research scientists, DNR.
  • April 9 — Responses of Wisconsin's lakes and ecosystems to climate change. John Magnuson, emeritus professor, zoology and limnology; and Jack Williams, associate professor, geography/environmental studies, UW-Madison.
  • April 30 — Impacts of climate change on Wisconsin's storm water and coastal areas. David Liebl, storm water specialist, UW-Extension; and Phil Keillor, retired coastal engineering specialist, UW Sea Grant Institute.
  • May 7 — Health impacts of climate change. Jonathan Patz, professor, environmental studies/population health sciences, UW-Madison. Also, Enhanced Wisconsin weather extremes. Steve Vavrus, senior scientist, CCR, UW-Madison.
  • May 14 — Response of Wisconsin's wildlife to climate change. Karl Martin, chief, wildlife and forestry research, and Michael Meyer, research scientist, DNR.
  • June 4 — Climate change impacts on Wisconsin ecosystems. David Mladenoff, professor, forest and wildlife ecology/environmental studies, and Sara Hotchkiss, assistant professor, botany/environmental studies, UW-Madison.

Wisconsin Public Television (WPT) will record the presentations for broadcast later this year on its Wisconsin Channel. The programs also will be archived on WPT's Web site.

For more information, contact Notaro at 608-261-1503, mnotaro@wisc.edu.