• Of admirals and climate models

    Posted on June 25th, 2010 emily No comments

    This past week, SIO’s Center for Environment and National Security hosted

    Climate and National Security: Securing Better Forecasts

    Both current and past CMBC students were involved in the Symposium, some of whom are now working on creating a Summary and Next Steps Report to be printed this fall.

    A few initial take-aways (in no way a comprehensive list) for me include:

    • Climate change will impact sea level, human health, water availability for human consumption and agriculture, arable land, migration of people, ecosystem services, territorial claims, border disputes, etc.  The national security implications of this lie in the (in)stability of nations, locations of civilian and military infrastructure, mass migration of people, loss of island nations, relationships with other countries, behavior of humans under stress, the potential for conflict vs. cooperation, and more.
    • There’s a big difference between “uncertainty” and “risk.”  The former is what scientists apply to climate models to communicate the range of possibilities of outcomes, the latter is what policy makers would like to have for use in formulating policy.
    • It’s no one’s job to translate uncertainty into risk.
    • The “PI model” for research projects in which questions are hypothesis-driven 2-3 year endeavors makes continuity in climate research difficult.
    • There are many opportunities to insert better science-to-policy translators into current organizations / agencies and there are many opportunities to create new institutions to do this.
    • Models in the upcoming IPCC will have more accurate representation of ice sheet dynamics and the influence of the Southern Ocean.  But there are still large data gaps and regional models still contain a lot of uncertainty.

    More to come as we continue to transcribe our notes and flesh out the above ideas and others…

    Tony Haymet, Director of SIO, introducing Shere Abbott, Associate Director for Environment of the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the Executive Office of the President. Other speakers at the Symposium included Amanda Dory, U.S. Department of Defense, Deputy Assistant Secretary, MG (ret.) Rich Engel, Director, Climate Change and State Stability Program, Office of the Director of National Intelligence, Dr. Helen Fricker, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Dr. Frank Herr, Head, Ocean Battlespace Sensing Department Office of Naval Research, Dr. Walter Munk, Scripps Institution of Oceanography, Dr. Vicky Pope, Head of Climate Predictions Programme, Hadley Center, Air Marshal A K Singh, Indian Air Force, Chairman of the Military Council on Climate Change, Institute for Environmental Security, Dr. Jayaram Srinivasan, Chairman, Divecha Centre for Climate Change Indian Institute of Science, RADM David Titley, Oceanographer and Navigator of the Navy, U.S. Naval Observatory, Dr. Jay Gulledge, Senior Scientist and Director, Science and Impacts Program, Pew Center on Global Climate Change, Dr. Ming Xu, Director, Institute of Geographic Sciences and Natural Resources Research, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Ambassador (ret.) Ken Yalowitz, Director, Dickey Center for International Understanding, Dartmouth College.

  • What type of seafood should I eat?

    Posted on June 9th, 2010 jill No comments

    I am asked this question all the time by my friends and family. Farmed or wild fish? What’s the deal with different types of tuna? Why is tilapia so good for the environment? If we really want to protect fish, should we stop eating seafood altogether?*

    Last week, SIO students volunteered their time to answer these questions for folks from the local community. A group of San Diego chefs teamed up with Slow Food Urban San Diego to present FishFacts!, an evening of sustainable seafood tasting and learning.

    Chefs prepared dishes featuring sustainable seafood, such as sardines, wild Alaskan salmon, and spot prawns from British Columbia. As they served the dishes, SIO students were standing by to answer questions abut the biology and management of each fish.

    The evening was rounded out with a lecture by Nancy Knowlton and a screening of the film End of the Line.  Hungry for more? Check out these great resources:

    *The short answer to these questions:

    • generally, wild is a better choice for saltwater fish, while farmed is better for freshwater fish and mollusks (oysters, mussels, etc.)
    • bluefin tuna: just don’t eat it, ever. Other types of tuna that are caught by poles, not long-lines, are pretty good
    • tilapia are farmed in enclosed tanks on land, so there’s no risk of contaminating the natural environment. Plus, they’re vegetarian fish, so they’re cheap and easy to feed. They’re also tough little guys, so they don’t need a lot of antibiotics to keep them healthy
    • we have to eat some type of food, right? By spending our hard-earned dollars on responsible seafood products, we can send a message to the industry that we care about what we eat