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Posted by: Tiffany Adams on Feb 27, 2014

USU Climate Program Goes Global

Originally published on The Blue Streak:

Simon Wang, an assistant professor of climatology at Utah State University, and Robert Gillies the director of the Utah Climate Center, discussed their six-week tour of Asia during a seminar held Tuesday in the Agricultural Sciences building.

The researchers chose Asia as their focus due to its high vulnerability to climate change. According to Wang, vulnerability comes when people because used to a climate and may not be prepared for bigger storm surges.

During the tour, the researchers explained how a big rainfall in Pakistan, which resulted in major flood and high death toll, was not just a periodic monsoon, but an event tied to global warming.

"The implication is that with continual warming of atmosphere, those events could potentially become more frequent in the future," Gillies said.

Wang and Gillies also saw the trip as a way to promote the work of the Utah Climate Center.

The trip began with a conference in Macau, China on Oct. 23 and concluded with the International Conference on Climate Change and Water in Nepal, which Gillies helped organize. Other stops included Taiwan, Vietnam, Korea, India and Thailand.

As a result of their visits, a USU student has been sponsored to study with top climate experts in Taiwan at the Academy of Science in May and June. A scientist from Nepal is also coming to USU for a few months in October to learn climate diagnostic techniques that can help predict climate incidents up to 10 years in advance.

"We're hoping to make this a norm," Wang said. "We believe that the climate science is international, so students will benefit from mutual visits."

The trip was funded in part by USU's Office of Global Engagement, Agricultural Experiment Station, Ecology Center and School of Graduate Studies, the Taiwanese Weather Bureau and the Innovation Lab at Colorado State University.

"We believe we were successful in opening many doors," Wang said.


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