Climate Change: A Wake Up Call

JISAO's 2008 lecture series a success

Nearly 600 people attended talks held at Pacific Science Center and the University of Washington's Kane Hall over the course of JISAO's inaugural lecture series, Climate Change: A Wake Up Call. The series will be an annual event to bring science of local, regional, and global significance to the public.

Ron Sims

King County Executive Ron Sims kicked off the event with a discussion about social justice issues that will become more pronounced in the near future as the impacts of global warming disproportionately impact our community's most vulnerable citizens. Mr. Sims emphasized the enormous potential for economic growth and employment opportunities through the development of green technologies.


Konrad Steffen


Konrad Steffen, director of the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences (CIRES), gave two talks detailing the impacts of global warming on the ice sheets of Greenland and Antarctica highlighted by video footage of melt-water pouring into a moulin.


Jonathan Overpeck


Wrapping up the series,Jonathan Overpeck, director of the Institute for the Study of Planet Earth at the University of Arizona, gave a sobering talk on the likelihood of long-term drought in the American West underscoring the impending crisis with recent photos of pinyon forests that have died in the Four Corners Area of the Southwest.


Pinion pineSide-by-side photos show the massive die-off of pinyon pines that occurred during the recent drought. Pinyons, normally evergreen, have reddish-brown foliage in October 2002 (left). By May 2004, the dead pinyons have lost all their needles, exposing gray trunks. The photos were taken from the same vantage point in the Jemez Mountains near Los Alamos, NM
Photo credit: Craig D. Allen, U.S. Geological Survey.