Climate Information for Managing Risks: Partnerships and Solutions for Agriculture and Natural Resources

Pre-Symposium Workshop May 23-24, 2011

Open Source AgroClimate-based Systems for
Climate Risk Management

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Last updated: 06/23/2011

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Plenary Session Speakers

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Keynote Address:
Climate science and service from local to global scales

Chester J. Koblinsky, Ph.D.
Executive Director, Climate Program Office, Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, NOAA, Silver Spring, MD

As Director of NOAA’s Climate Program Office and leader of NOAA’s climate mission, Dr. Koblinsky leads the formulation of NOAA’s future climate activities and the execution of NOAA’s climate competitive research programs. As the transition Deputy Director for Climate Services, Dr. Koblinsky manages various aspects of the planning for a new organization in NOAA focused on climate science and services. Dr. Koblinsky joined NOAA in 2003 after a 25-year career as a research oceanographer and science manager at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography and NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center. He has published numerous scientific papers, primarily on ocean circulation and monitoring, and led the development of research satellite missions including Aquarius, which will be launched in 2011. He is a recipient of the Presidential Rank award for federal senior executives and NASA’s Medal for Exceptional Scientific Achievement.

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for Planning

Holly Hartmann
Arid Lands Information Center,
University of Arizona, Tucson, AZ

Dr. Holly Hartmann is Director of the Arid Lands Information Center at the University of Arizona, is a co-investigator at the Climate Assessment for the Southwest (CLIMAS), and led the scenario development team at the Science and Technology Center for the Sustainability of Semi-Arid Hydrology and Riparian Areas (SAHRA). Dr. Hartmann's research has focused on making climate and water research more usable, based on engagement with stakeholders, development of decision support resources and tools, and transition of decision support into sustainable operations. Current projects address climate and hydrologic forecasts; climate change scenario planning and risk management; water policy in the US West; collaborative software development; and national climate services.


Currently she is a member of the National Academy of Sciences Committee on the Assessment of the National Weather Service’s Modernization for the National Academy of Sciences, and the Climate Working Group of the NOAA Science Advisory Board. She is also a member of the American Meteorological Society’s (AMS) Committee on Climate Services, the Board of the International Environmental Modeling and Software Society, the Editorial Board of the journal Environmental Modeling and Software, and the Executive Committee of Carpe Diem West. Holly received her MS degree in water resources management from the University of Michigan and her PhD in hydrology and water resources from the University of Arizona.

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David Yates
National Center for Atmospheric Research, Boulder, CO

David Yates is a Scientist at the National Center for Atmospheric Research and an Associate with the Stockholm Environment Institute (SEI) in Boulder, Colorado. He researches coupled natural and managed water systems, developing and applying numerical models to understand, predict, and assess their interactions, with a specific focus on climate change.

David Yates has been a part of the development team of SEI’s Water Evaluation and Planning (WEAP) model and has focused on applying WEAP to help water utilities with long-range planning that includes climate change impacts and adaptation strategies. Dr. Yates developed an educational primer for the Water Research Foundation (WaterRF) that outlines the current state of scientific knowledge regarding the potential impacts of global climate change on water utilities, including impacts on water supply, demand and relevant water quality characteristics. A follow-on study with the WaterRF has focused on robust adaptation strategies, with explicit consideration of climate. The partnering utilities include the Inland Empire Utility Agency (CA), the El Dorado Irrigation District (CA), Portland Water (OR), Colorado Springs Utilities (CO), Massachusetts Water Resource Authority (MA), Durham Water (NC), and Palm Beach County Water (FL).

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Coastal and
Urban Communities

Margaret Davidson
Director, NOAA Coastal Services Center, Charleston, SC

Margaret Davidson has been an active participant in coastal resource management issues since 1978, when she earned her juris doctorate in natural resources law from Louisiana State University. She later earned a master’s degree in marine policy and resource economics from the University of Rhode Island.

Davidson served as special counsel and assistant attorney general for the Louisiana Department of Justice, and was the executive director of the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium. She joined NOAA as the director of the NOAA Coastal Services Center in 1995, a position she continues to hold. During this time she also served as the acting assistant administrator for NOAA’s National Ocean Service from 2000 to 2002. She holds a faculty appointment at the University of Charleston and serves on the adjunct faculties of Clemson University and the University of South Carolina.

Davidson has served on numerous local, state, and federal committees and has provided leadership for national professional societies. She has focused her professional work on environmentally sustainable aquaculture, mitigation of coastal hazards, and impacts of climate variability on coastal resources.

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and Conservation

Jean Brennan (Invited)
US Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C.

Jean Brennan is a Landscape Conservation Coordinator for the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, working with the Appalachian Landscape Conservation Cooperative (LCC). The geographic extent of the Appalachian LCC extends from southern New York State to central Alabama and from southern Illinois to central Virginia. It is part of a national conservation network established through the Department of Interior.

As the Appalachian LCC Coordinator, Jean works with land and resource management agencies, environmental organizations, and regional initiatives, to forge strategic collaborative science-management partnership among individuals and organizations to achieved shared goals. Such partnerships are intended to promote innovative, practical, landscape-level strategies for managing large-scale and climate change impacts and other broad-scale changes.

Before joining the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Dr. Brennan worked as a Senior Climate Change Scientist for an environmental NGO based in Washington DC. Her work involved synthetic research into the impacts of climate change on natural systems and adaptation strategies. She has also worked extensively internationally as Senior Conservation Scientist for the U.S. Agency for International Development, and as a staff scientist for the U.S. State Department, Office of Global Change. Jean served as a member of the U.S. Delegation to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and was honored to be selected among a small group of scientists recognized by the IPCC for her contributions and shares the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the IPCC.

She is an accomplished field biologist and holds graduate degrees in Population Biology and Genetics from the University of Tennessee; Forest Ecology from Yale University School of Forestry; and Anthropology from the University of Pennsylvania. She has taught Conservation Biology at the University of Michigan, School of Natural Resources and Environment, and Air Resources at the University of California Davis.

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Risk Management

Cynthia Rosenzweig
NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies, New York, NY

Dr. Cynthia Rosenzweig is a Senior Research Scientist at NASA Goddard Institute for Space Studies where she heads the Climate Impacts Group. She has organized and led large-scale interdisciplinary regional, national, and international studies of climate change impacts and adaptation. She is a co-chair of the New York City Panel on Climate Change, a body of experts convened by the mayor to advise the city on adaptation for its critical infrastructure. She has co-led the Metropolitan East Coast Regional Assessment of the U.S. National Assessment of the Potential Consequences of Climate Variability and Change, sponsored by the U.S. Global Change Research Program. She was a Coordinating Lead Author of the IPCC Working Group II Fourth Assessment Report observed changes chapter, and served on the IPCC Task Group on Data and Scenarios for Impact and Climate Assessment.

Dr. Rosenzweig's research involves the development of interdisciplinary methodologies to assess the potential impacts of and adaptations to global environmental change. A recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, she joins impact models with climate models to predict future outcomes of both land-based and urban systems under altered climate conditions. She is a Professor at Barnard College and a Senior Research Scientist at the Columbia Earth Institute.

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Kenneth Mitchell
Special Assistant to the Director, Air, Pesticides, and Toxics Management Division, U.S. EPA, Atlanta, GA

Dr. Ken Mitchell has 20 years of wide-ranging multi-media environmental experience including work in the private sector, Federal and State governments, and international assignments on a wide array of environmental programs, including the Clean Air Act, RCRA, Superfund, water issues, and energy and climate change concerns. He is currently the Special Assistant to the Director of the Air, Pesticides, and Toxics Management Division at EPA Region 4 in Atlanta. He also leads the Region's climate change adaptation efforts. He holds a PhD in chemistry from the Georgia Institute of Technology and a BS in chemistry from UNC Chapel Hill.

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Public Health
and Climate

George Luber
Associate Director for Climate Change,  Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects, NCEH, CDC, Atlanta, GA

Dr. George Luber is an epidemiologist and the Associate Director for Climate Change in the Division of Environmental Hazards and Health Effects at the National Center for Environmental Health, CDC.
Since receiving his PhD in Medical Anthropology from the University of Georgia, and joining CDC, Dr. Luber has served as an Epidemic Intelligence Service (EIS) Officer and staff epidemiologist at the National Center for Environmental Health. His research interests in Environmental Health are broad and include the health impacts of environmental change and biodiversity loss, harmful algal blooms, and the health effects of climate change. Most recently, his work has focused on the epidemiology and prevention of heat-related illness and death, the application of remote sensing techniques to modeling vulnerability to heat stress in urban environments, and Climate Change adaptation planning.

In addition to managing the Climate Change Program at CDC, Dr. Luber is a Co-Chair of the Climate Change and Human Health Interagency Workgroup at the US Global Change Research Program and is a lead author for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), Fifth Assessment Report.

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Miami-Dade: A Case Study on
Adaptation and Mitigation

Nichole L. Hefty
Miami-Dade Dept. of Environmental Resources Management
Miami-Dade County Climate Change Program Coordinator

Nichole Hefty earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Biology from the University of Miami, Florida in 1987. She has worked with the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM) since 1989, and has been coordinating Miami-Dade County’s Climate Change Program since 2005. Her responsibilities include coordinating and facilitating implementation of County (internal) and community-wide climate change mitigation and adaptation initiatives, and aligning them with regional, state, and federal resources and priorities. Since the summer of 2009, Mrs. Hefty has been part of the core team developing and now implementing “GreenPrint; Our Design for a Sustainable Future,” Miami-Dade County’s community-wide Sustainability Plan. Mrs. Hefty’s primary responsibility for GreenPrint has been developing and implementing the initial five year climate action plan (CAP) for Miami-Dade County, which is an integral component of the overall sustainability plan. She is currently serving on the Steering Committee of the SE Florida Regional Climate Compact, which is a groundbreaking regional collaboration of four SE Florida counties (Monroe, Miami-Dade, Broward, & Palm Beach) on climate change issues, policies, and strategies for the SE Florida region.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

Closing Address:
Moving Forward: A Vision for Meeting Future Challenges

Steve Shafer
Deputy Administrator, Agricultural Research Service, USDA, Washington, D.C.

Dr. Shafer has devoted his entire professional career to public service in the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Since 2008, he serves as Deputy Administrator for Natural Resources and Sustainable Agricultural Systems in the Office of National Programs, Agricultural Research Service (ARS), where he leads programmatic oversight for ARS’ research on soil, water, and air resources; global climate change; biofuels; rangelands, pastures, and forages; agricultural and industrial byproduct utilization; and agricultural systems and competitiveness. These ARS programs encompass more than $200 million in annually appropriated resources and 550 scientists conducting nearly 200 research projects at approximately 70 locations across the nation. During 2009 - 2010, he served concurrently as Senior Advisor for Climate Science in the Office of the Chief Scientist, USDA, and continues to provide this scientific expertise to upper USDA administration. Prior to his current position, he was the ARS Midwest Area Director (2006-2008), the Agency’s senior line manager in an eight-state Area (OH, MI, IN, IL, MN, WI, IA, MO) for all fiscal (~$145 million), personnel (~1400, including ~360 research scientists, engineers, and veterinarians), and infrastructural resources (including the National Center for Agricultural Utilization Research in Peoria, IL and the National Animal Disease Center in Ames, IA); was responsible for implementation and excellence of all research programs; and directly supervised >30 ARS senior Research Leaders and Laboratory Directors. He was appointed to the Senior Executive Service of the U.S. Government in 2005, when he became the ARS Midwest Area’s Associate Director (2005-2006). He was the ARS National Program Leader for Global Change research (2000-2005, Beltsville, MD); Deputy Director for Environment and Plant Health in the USDA Office of Risk Assessment and Cost-Benefit Analysis (1998-2000, Washington, DC); and a plant pest risk analysis specialist in the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (1997-1998, Raleigh, NC). During 1983-1997, he was a Research Plant Pathologist in ARS’ Air Quality-Plant Growth and Development Research Unit at Raleigh, NC, with concurrent USDA faculty appointment in the Plant Pathology and Soil Science departments at North Carolina State University. His research focused on interactions among atmospheric components such as ozone, acid rain, and carbon dioxide with plants, pathogenic and beneficial microorganisms, and soils. He received B.S. Agr. and M.S. degrees from The Ohio State University and a Ph.D. from North Carolina State University, all in plant pathology. He had his first job in USDA as an undergraduate, working two summers as a Biological Aid with the Forest Service’s Dutch elm disease research program in Delaware, Ohio. He is a native of Marion, Ohio.

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