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NMSU Las Cruces climate change talk to focus on increased drought patterns in the Southwest


The next installment of the New Mexico State University Climate Change Education Seminar Series will bring the issue close to home, addressing a critical problem in the southwest – water. 

The presentation, “Drought, Water Security, and Ecosystem Disruption – the Southwest Climate Challenge,” will take place at 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 6 at the Rio Grande Theatre in downtown Las Cruces. Renowned climate change scientist Jonathan Overpeck will lead the talk, which will be free and open to the public. 

Overpeck currently serves as the dean of the University of Michigan’s School for Environment and Sustainability, where he works with other scientists to develop solutions to the most vexing sustainability challenges facing the world. Before this, Overpeck served as the director of the University of Arizona’s Institute of the Environment. 

A global leader in the field of environmental sustainability, Overpeck was one of the lead coordinating authors for the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fourth Assessment, which won the Nobel Prize in 2007. In 2017, he worked with Brad Udall of Colorado State University on a report, which found that as greenhouse gas emissions push temperatures higher in the 21st century, flow losses in the Colorado River are expected to grow more severe. Lower flow in this important watershed will pose troubling consequences for the millions of residents in the southwest.

“Climate change is not a far-off thing, as we’re already seeing the changes to our snowpack that feeds the Rio Grande River,” said David Dubois, NMSU professor, state climatologist and member of the NMSUCCESS organizing committee. “It’s important for us in southern New Mexico to be aware of climate change’s impact to our surface water supply and agriculture.”

NMSUCCESS began in spring 2018, when New Mexico State University faculty and Las Cruces community members planned a series of seminars on climate change, including the physical processes, and effects on humanity and biological systems. The series’ goal is to shine a light on research and issues related to climate change for a local audience.

The New Mexico State University Climate Change Education Seminar Series will conclude for the year with its final presentation, “Climate Change, Wildfire and Megadrought in the Western United States,” by Park Williams at 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 3 at the Rio Grande Theater. 

Additional information about the climate change series is available at https://nmsuccess1.wordpress.com and https://twitter.com/nmsuccess1.

Information from NMSU