July 13, 2020

Mary Talks: ‘COVID-19 and Climate’ with Dr. Pamela Grothe

Join us ONLINE for the next Mary Talk of the year.

This year’s series continues with Dr. Pamela Grothe, assistant professor of earth and environmental sciences, presenting “COVID-19 and Climate: What Impact is the Pandemic Having on the Environment?”

In her research, Dr. Grothe uses natural archives to reconstruct the climate hundreds to thousands of years ago. This creates a baseline of natural climate variability so we can better understand humans’ contribution to present-day climate. The COVID-19 pandemic has underscored the importance of addressing the climate crisis. With global economies shut down, we have seen reports in the news about better air quality and lower carbon emissions. This Talk will discuss the immediate and long-term environmental impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic and lessons learned as we tackle the looming climate crisis.

Wednesday, June 10

7:30 p.m.

Online

To watch the Talk online, register here. You then will receive a link to the streaming video, which can be watched live or at a later time. You also will have the opportunity to submit questions to be asked of the speaker at the end of the Talk.

Note: Online viewing is the only option for this Mary Talk, as we are not conducting any in-person events at this time.

We look forward to seeing you online!

Grothe Pens FLS Letter to the Editor on Clean Energy Act

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Pamela Grothe penned a letter to the editor of The Free Lance-Star, along with Julie Kay of the Climate Reality Project and Amanda Stebbins of Fossil Free Fredericksburg. Entitled “Cost of Clean Energy Act overblown,” the op-ed addresses the newspaper’s criticisms of clean energy and other efforts to combat climate change. The authors advocate on behalf of the Virginia Clean Economy Act, legislation that will help move the commonwealth away from reliance of fossil fuels and toward clean carbon-free energy. Read more.

Grothe Selected for American Geophysical Union’s ‘2020 Voices for Science’ Program

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Pamela Grothe was recently selected for the American Geophysical Union’s “2020 Voices for Science” program. AGU President Robin Bell shared the following with Earth and Environmental Science Chair Jodie Hayob-Matzke:

This program is available to U.S.-based scientists with strong communication skills and an interest in sharing the value and impact of Earth and space science with key decision makers, journalists, and public audiences, to increase the widespread understanding of and support for science. As a member of the 2020 class, Pamela was selected from a highly competitive applicant pool based on demonstrated leadership and the potential to positively influence the local community.

Voices for Science provides its participants with many resources, including unique skills-building workshops and toolkits focused on communications and policy; hands-on support from AGU staff in conducting and organizing outreach opportunities; and expense-paid travel to Washington, D.C. for an April workshop (made virtual this year but with a possible, later in-person component) and to San Francisco, CA for the AGU Fall Meeting in December. Beyond the professional development opportunities in the program, Pamela will also network and collaborate with the 39 other scientists selected for the program, and the 65 members of the past two year’s cohorts. 

The scientific enterprise depends heavily on federal support, and, as we are seeing now, the critical challenges of our time can only be solved if we let strong science inform our decisions. Now more than ever, it is essential for scientists to interact with policy makers, the public and the media on a regular basis. Lawmakers need to hear about critical issues both directly from scientists and from their constituents, and Pamela’s efforts to reach out to legislators on Capitol Hill and galvanize the local community can and will make a difference. 

Collectively, the Voices for Science participants will help to amplify science and its worth and help both policymakers and the broader community see that our nation continues to support and benefit from our scientific enterprise. With the help of their community of peers and AGU’s resources, these participants will be able to successfully connect with these audiences even when not speaking with them in person.

Pamela’s enthusiasm for developing and using communication and advocacy skills as part of the 2020 Voices for Science program shows a tremendous dedication to promoting science for the benefit of the scientific community and humanity at large, and AGU would like to commend her.

VA Scientist Finds Another Reason for Extreme Weather (WVTF Radio IQ)

Grothe Discusses El Nino Study with WVTF Radio IQ

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe

Pamela Grothe, Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Science, discussed the results of her recent study on how El Ninos and La Ninas have intensified in a story on WVTF Radio IQ entitled “VA Scientist Finds Another Reason for Extreme Weather.”

In a study led by Kim Cobb, principal investigator and a professor in the Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, Grothe, the study’s first author, compared temperature-dependent chemical deposits on recently extracted coral to older coral records showing relevant sea surface temperatures from the past 7,000 years. The researchers discovered that El Ninos and La Ninas have intensified since the beginning of the Industrial Age, becoming 25 percent stronger around the time that people began burning coal and oil.

“The industrial record really sticks out like a sore thumb,” Grothe said. “If you look at the last twenty years – at the intensity of these swings — they are stronger than any 20-year period from the pre-industrial record.”

Read more.

Grothe’s Co-authored Study Results Published in Scientific Journals

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Pamela Grothe has had the results of a study she co-authored published in several scientific journals and websites, as well as Forbes. According to the study, originally published in Geophysical Research Letters, El Niño swings have intensified to 25% stronger in the Industrial Age. Grothe performed the study under Kim Cobb, principal investigator and professor in Georgia Institute of Technology’s School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences. As the study’s first author, Grothe compared temperature-dependent chemical deposits on coral that was recently extracted to that of older coral records showing relevant sea surface temperatures from the past 7,000 years. Then, with the assistance of Georgia Tech collaborators and other partner research institutions, she identified patterns in the El Niño Southern Oscillation, swings of heating and cooling equatorial Pacific waters that cause El Niños and La Niñas to form every few years.

New and Strange Climate Pattern Includes More Violent El Nino Swings (SciTechDaily)

Pacific Ocean temperature swings violently in industrial age: Study (The Tribune, India; Daily Excelsior)

El Nino seeing extreme swings in the industrial age (Space Daily)

Has El Nino Become More Intense In The Industrial Age? (Forbes)

 

New and Strange Climate Pattern Includes More Violent El Nino Swings (SciTechDaily; The Tribune; Space Daily; Daily Excelsior; Forbes)

24 Hours Climate Reality – Truth in Action

Please join us tonight, 11/21, at 7 p.m. for an event titled “24 Hours Climate Reality – Truth in Action” where a Climate Reality speaker, Julie Kay, trained by Al Gore himself, will give a short presentation, followed by a panel with an elementary, high school and UMW students for an interactive Q&A with the audience about solutions to our climate crisis.

Grothe and Students Work to Protect Coral Reefs

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Science Pamela Grothe and her students were featured in an article in The Free Lance-Star titled “UMW students plunge into restoring coral reefs.” The article discussed a new course taught by Grothe called “UMW in Bonaire: Coral, Climate and Conversation,” which was offered this past spring semester. The students learned about climate change and its impact on coral reefs and the marine life that lives within them. They also learned coral conservation methods. Thanks to a partnership with The Scuba Shack dive shop in Fredericksburg, Grothe’s students became scuba-certified so they could apply their research during a trip to the Caribbean island of Bonaire this May. Read more.

Grothe Quoted in Article on New Sea Levels Study

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe

Assistant Professor of Earth and Environmental Sciences Pamela Grothe was quoted in an article in Meaww.com on a new study that predicts that global sea levels will rise by more than 2 meters – or 6.6 feet – by the end of the 21st century if emissions continue unchecked. Experts have said this will be catastrophic and that major cities such as New York City and Shanghai would be submerged, displacing approximately 187 million people. The study showed that sea levels will rise much faster than earlier estimates because of the rapid rate that ice sheets in Greenland and Antarctica are melting. Grothe said, “This new estimate is astonishing, which is about twice as high as what we previously thought. It would displace millions of more people living in low-lying coastal regions.” Read more.