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Summer 2011
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Need an answer to your question about climate? Ask Florida's team of experts: Submit your question.



Dear FCI Members & Friends,



The word "Climate" has changed since I was in school. It used to mean the average weather conditions for each of 4 seasons. Later it changed to "Dynamic Climate" where "weather physics" is used to explain how physical laws can help us understand the seasonal and regional differences in average weather. Next came "Climate Variability". The most prevalent cause of climate variability in the SE USA is the El Niņo-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) phenomenon, which is used to understand why the next season's climate may not be average. ENSO is categorized as El Niņo, La Niņa, or Neutral, depending on surface temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific Ocean. There are also other ocean influences on climate, such as Pacific Decadal Oscillation (PDO), North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO), etc.  


Now we look forward to learning that the next hurricane season will be robust or wimpy, depending to a large extent on the ENSO phase. Or we can also learn whether there is likely to be more rain than normal or a drought during the next winter, based on these global ocean influences on our climate. Along came "Global Warming", aka Climate Change, aka Climate Disruption, and aka...

These terms refer to projections of future changes of the old average climate and are caused by natural and man influences. In most cases the projections do not consider changes in climate variability.


FSU and UF have been working together for almost 15 years to bring seasonal climate forecasts to all of agriculture in the Southeast USA. Recently we realized that many other sectors of life and commerce needed to understand climate change for decisions. Thus the Florida Climate Institute was established with the support of both Universities. If there are questions about "Climate" that you need to understand, the scientists of FCI will help guide you toward the information for you to make a better decision. 






James O'Brien

FCI Steering Committee Member.

FCI News

New FCI Report: "Sea Level Changes in the Southeastern United States: Past, Present and Future" 

The Florida Climate Institute commissioned Professor Gary T. Mitchum of the University of South Florida to prepare this report.  Dr. Mitchum is a world-class expert in sea level. The funds to support his efforts were obtained from the Southeast Climate Consortium (SEClimate.org).
This report should be used as a basic explanation of the existence and physics of sea level variations. Most readers will be fairly well informed about the physics of sea level rise if they read this report.

Mitchum G. T., 2011: Sea Level Changes in the Southeastern United States: Past, Present and Future, 20 pp.

NSF Grant awarded to Joseph G. Meert (UF - Department of Geology):

Joseph G. Meert (Associate Professor of Geology at the University of Florida) was awarded a new grant from the National Science Foundation, for a project titled  "Ediacaran Paleomagnetism and Geochronology of Eastern Baltica: A Key to Paleogeography and Climatic History of the Continent".   



SERPD Grant awarded to Joseph Donoghue (FSU - EOAS):    

Joseph Donoghue (Associate Professor of Geology at Florida State University) was awarded a new grant from the federal Strategic Environmental Research and Development Program to work on modeling the effects of climate change on coastal systems and infrastructure. The project runs through 2012.
Faculty involved: Dr. Joseph Donoghue (EOAS), Dr. James Elsner (FSU-Geography), Dr. Bill Hu (EOAS), Dr. Stephen Kish (EOAS), Dr. Yang Wang (EOAS), Dr. Ming Ye (FSU-Computational Science), and Dr. Alan Niedoroda (URS Corp.), and several graduate student assistants.
Project: The team is investigating the potential effects of near-term (~100 years) sea-level change on the northwest Florida coast. The interdisciplinary environmental project is examining potential changes to natural coastal systems and infrastructure in response to several scenarios of sea-level rise and storminess. They are using remote-sensing data and field measurements of coastal environments as input to an integrated modeling effort designed to predict changes to coastal systems and human infrastructure.The modeling results will be used to evaluate how to make reliable predictions of the effects of future climate change and to enable cost-effective mitigation and adaptation strategies. 



NSF CAREER Award granted to Corene Matyas (UF - Department of Geography): 

Corene Matyas has been granted a NSF CAREER Award (Geography and Spatial Sciences) for a project titled "Geospatial Modeling of Tropical Cyclones to Improve the Understanding of Rainfall Patterns".

Project: This project addresses the critical need to improve the spatial modeling of tropical cyclone rain fields. Shape analysis techniques employed within a Geographic Information System (GIS) will quantify the extent and locations of rain-producing regions of tropical cyclones, including heavy rainfall regions as defined by radar reflectivity returns. These regions will then be linked to key geophysical variables that influence the storm's structure through comparisons of observed patterns against data from model-generated storms.  



USDS Grant awarded to Thomas Ruppert (UF - Levin College of Law):  

Coastal Planning Specialist Thomas Ruppert was awarded an international fellowship to advance climate change and sea-level rise adaptation issues with counterparts in the country of


The competitive fellowship is funded by the U.S. Department of State and awarded through the Climate Change Fellows program of Partners of the Americas, an international network of individuals, businesses and institutions that promotes economic and professional growth in the Western Hemisphere.

As a climate change fellow, Thomas Ruppert will visit Colombia's Caribbean coast during the latter part of July to learn about sea-level rise vulnerabilities and actions, work to understand local needs and identify potential partners for cooperative projects related to climate change and sea-level rise.

FCI Events



November 14-15, 2011 | Annual Conference and Workshop | University of Florida - Gainesville, FL:

The Florida Climate Institute will be holding an annual Conference on Monday, November 14 to highlight climate-related research and education in the Institute at both FSU and UF.  

The conference will provide great opportunities to showcase your research on climate-related issues, participate in panel discussions on hot topics, interact with industry and agency professionals, and get the latest research on some of the most pressing issues we will face in the coming decades.  



In cooperation with the Florida Atlantic University, we are also planning a State University System-wide Workshop on Tuesday, November 15: The Florida Climate Change Task Force Workshop. 

This workshop will offer participating scientists from Florida based Universities & Agencies the opportunity to discuss collaboration on state wide research, teaching and extension projects.The goals of this Workshop are: 

  • To foster communication and cooperation between FCI scientists and the public and private sector in Florida regarding climate change and sea level rise science and societal response options
  • To present the findings of a yearlong survey of university and agency initiatives on the impacts of climate change and sea level rise in Florida and to jointly assess progress in incorporating current information and future projections on sea level rise and climate change into agency planning, university research and education
  • To determine the most important research and education needs that would contribute to the understanding and ability to respond to the associated economic and environmental risks and opportunities.

The event will feature guest speakers, a poster session, and a reception.



During these two days, we will feature talks by science and industry leaders. Information on degree programs and research initiatives, state and federal policies, natural resource issues, economic impacts of climate change and sea level rise, and the latest climate science will be discussed.

Other Events



August 4, 2011 | 1:15 - 2:45 PM EDT | Live Webinar: Adaptations to protect the Nation's Food and Clean Water Supply

In Session 2 of the Security and Sustainability Forum, hear international experts discuss the threats to economic, environmental and political security from adaptations to maintain food and water supplies in a changing climate.

Former EPA Office of Water Assistant Administrator and Cadmus principal, Tracy Mehan, leads this panel to examine the conflicts in maintaining safe food and water supplies in a changing climate.

The esteemed panel includes: Peter Gleick, Co-Founder and President of the Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security; Jay Knott, VP Abt & former AID Mission Director for Jordan; and Ed Pinero, Executive Vice President and Chief Sustainability Officer of Veolia Water North America & former Federal Environmental Executive for the U.S. Government's Council on Economic Quality.

Register directly here and learn more at:   




August 11, 2011 | 2:00-4:00 PM EDT | Smart Planning for a Green Future Live Webinar | Session # 1: Smart Planning for Communities: Tapping Green Energy Strategies for High Power Returns  

The Website is host to an innovative, far reaching initiative  

designed to expand and accelerate green planning, action and achievements at the community level. 

The "Smart Planning for a Green Future" Webinar series begins.

The on-line sessions are designed to provide training, technical assistance and educational support to: local governments, community planners, environmental & planning officials, economic development agencies, professions & trades that serve communities, utilities, educational institutions, nonprofits, community leaders and others.

See details and reserve your place now at:  www.energysmartplanning.org./Webinars.html 


  • Mitchell Silver, AICP, PP - President, American Planning Association & City of Raleigh, NC Chief Planning & Economic Development Officer and Director, Department of City Planning
  • Paula Thomas, City of Raleigh, Manager, Office of Sustainability, City of Raleigh, NC
  • Randall Reid, County Manager, Alachua County FL & Sustainability Committee Chair, International City-County Management Association
  • Sean McLendon, Manager, Sustainability Program, Alachua County

Brief: Discover the realm of possibilities for communities through the integral relationships between smart planning, green energy, sustainability and jobs/economic vitality.  Learn about landmark practices, approaches and models that can be replicated in Florida communities.       

Further details about the web-events and services of the initiative are at: www.EnergySmartPlanning.org.



August 18, 2011 | 2:00-4:00 PM EDT | Smart Planning for a Green Future Live Webinar | Session # 2: Clean Energy Technology for Communities

See details and reserve your place now at: www.energysmartplanning.org./Webinars.html 


  • ·      Dr. James Fenton, Director - Florida Solar Energy Center (FSEC
  • ·      Jay Levenstein, Deputy Commissioner - Florida Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (DACS)
  • ·      Roger W. Taylor, Principal Project Manager, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, US Department of Energy
  • ·      Jolyn Newton, State Program and Technical Assistance Director, Southeast Energy Efficiency Alliance

Brief: Energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies offer communities a host of benefits. Gain a close-up look at the technology options, including those available now or near term and others to plan for in the future.    

Further details about the web-events and services of the initiative are at: www.EnergySmartPlanning.org.



August 28-31, 2011 | EMECS9 | Baltimore, MD 

As the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico demonstrates, coastal seas are both valuable and vulnerable. To manage the world's coastal seas and restore their ecosystems will require the best science-based approaches, commitment and resources. But it will also require accountability, effectiveness, and efficiency. It will require the best use of limited resources, for clear communication between governments and stakeholders, to determine what works and what does not. 

The purpose of EMECS 9 is to improve our ability to manage coastal seas in all their ecological, economic, and cultural dimensions. The conference will work to cross barriers of discipline and culture by bringing together experts and stakeholders from different backgrounds to share information, insights, and lessons learned.

Please, visit the website for more information.



September 13-14, 2011 | Shine International Conference | Sheffield UK

The first international Project Sunshine conference, Shine, will take place in Sheffield UK.

This unique conference will bring together academics, business people and policy makers from all over the world in search of ideas, actions and products that will make a difference. A real difference.

A new kind of science conference. The global issues of food, energy and environmental change are complex and inter-connected. Integrated, flexible solutions, appropriate for different scenarios in different parts of the world, are needed. Solutions will involve individuals and organisations from across many areas of academia, business and the public sector: founded upon high quality science, interpreted by business and policy makers, translated into actions which make a difference. The program will focus on: 

- Cutting edge science from world-leading scientists and technologists 

- The business and policy angle from major influencers across the world 

- Brokering relationships which will move things forward

For program, speakers and registration information visit the conference website here.



September 22, 2011 | 2:00-4:00 PM EDT | Smart Planning for a Green Future Live Webinar | Session #3: Sustainability and Energy Planning for Communities  

See details and reserve your place now at: www.energysmartplanning.org./Webinars.html 


  • ·      Jared Lang, Program Manager, Green Government Initiative, National Association of Counties
  • ·      Tammy Zborel, Senior Associate, Sustainability Program, Center for Research and Innovation, National League of Cities
  • ·      Alexander Dane, Project Leader, Strategic Energy Planning, National Renewable Energy Laboratories/US Department of Energy
  • ·      Tad McGilliard, Director of Sustainability, International City-County Management Association

Brief: Communities across the country have been surveyed for their sustainability projects and strategies. Learn from the experience of others in or relevant to Florida communities. Also benefit from strategic guidance on how to plan for and implement clean, green communities. Access powerful-new-resources for local- support.

Further details about the web-events and services of the initiative are at: www.EnergySmartPlanning.org.



October 3-6, 2011 | 36th Climate Diagnostics and Prediction Workshop | Fort Worth, TX

This annual workshop, coordinated by NOAA brings together leading national climate scientists.

Students in related fields are encouraged to participate. Travel Assistance funds are available for students that meet qualifying criteria based on academic records and submitted abstract for a poster or presentation. Application deadline for travel assistance is July 29.   

For more information about the 36th Climate Diagnostics and Prediction Workshop, visit here.



October 4-6, 2011 (tentative dates) | 2:00-4:00 PM EDT | Smart Planning for a Green Future Live Webinar | Session # 4: Transportation Alternatives for Energy Efficiency   

See details and reserve your place now at: www.energysmartplanning.org./Webinars.html 


Brief: Many options exist for making communities more energy efficient though transportation choices ... from land use planning and development practices to public transportation and operational systems to alternative fuel vehicles and a whole lot more. Find out what your community can do to tap significant efficiencies (and related benefits) for now and the long haul.

Further details about the web-events and services of the initiative are at: www.EnergySmartPlanning.org.



October 24-28, 2011 | Climate research in Service to Society | Denver, CO:  

The World Climate Research Programme (WCRP) will host a major Open Science Conference (OSC) .

The conference aims to attract the world's experts to provide a unique synthesis of current research findings on climate variability and change, to identify the most urgent scientific issues and research challenges, and to ascertain how the WCRP can best facilitate research and develop partnerships critical for progress in the future.     

For more information, please see the website.    



November 1-4, 2011 | 38th Annual Natural Areas Conference | Tallahassee, FL:

The 38th Annual Natural Areas Conference, "Adaptation and Protection of Biodiversity in a Changing World", will explore a range of topics concerning natural areas management and planning in the face of climate change. Tallahassee and the natural beauty of the Florida panhandle provide a stunning backdrop for the conference proceedings.  

Conference Highlights:

  • Outstanding conference and pre-conference field trips to Florida natural features
  • Intriguing and thought-provoking presentations
  • A full-day Cogongrass workshop to learn its biology and methods to control this highly invasive species
  • Florida panhandle is close to many outstanding natural features

More information is available at: www.naturalarea.org/11conference. 



November 8-11, 2011 | 1st International Conference Energy & Meteorology | Gold Coast, QLD | Australia:

The 1st International Conference Energy & Meteorology (ICEM) 2011 will be held in Australia, with the pre-Conference Seminar "Energy & Meteorology: Fundamentals and Challenges" and the Welcome Reception on Monday, 7 November 2011.

Here are the Conference's themes:

- State-of-the-Science and Challenges in Weather & Climate for Energy

- Energy Generation - including Renewables and Biofuels

- Energy Resource Assessment, Planning, Forecasting and Storage

- Energy Extraction, Transportation, Transmission and Distribution

- Energy Demand, Smart Grids, Finance and Insurance



November 14-15, 2011 | 2011 FCI Annual Conference on Climate Variability and Change | Gainesville, FL:

Please see the detailed information in the FCI Events section of this Newsletter.

For more up-dated information and program details, please contact info@floridaclimateinstitute.org.  

More information will be available very soon.  



November 14-15, 2011 | Florida Climate Change Task Force Workshop | Gainesville, FL

Please see the detailed information in the FCI Events section of this Newsletter.

For more up-dated information and program details, please contact info@floridaclimateinstitute.org.  

More information will be available very soon.  



December 5-9 | AGU Special Session on Climate Change and Public Health | San Francisco, CA

"Climate Change and Public Health: Transforming Projections into Decisions": this special session at the AGU is focused on identifying key climate change concerns that impact both the individual and the world, in terms of health, disease, water, food, politics, security, and stability and aims to build a community of expertise optimized to impact policy and decision making. Contributions are sought from broad and diverse perspective, for example: Earth/space science, public health, policy/political science, engineering, environmental science, communication/public education, ecology/epidemiology, planning and risk assessment, complex systems, healthcare, economics, and biology/bioethics.  

Abstract submission - Dates of interest: Opens 8 June 2011, Closes 4 August 2011.

For more in formation or to submit an abstract visit the website  



January 22-26, 2012 | AMS 92nd Annual Meeting | New Orleans, LA   

The American Meteorological Society is pre-announcing the 92nd Annual Meeting.

For more information visit the AMS website.



February 15 - 16, 2012 | 3rd UF Water Institute Symposium | Gainesville, FL 

The University of Florida and Progress Energy partner to host the 3rd UF Water Institute Symposium, at the J. Wayne Reitz Union (University of Florida Campus).
The Symposium will focus on Complex Challenges and Integrated Solutions for Nutrient Management in Watersheds. It will bring together scientists, engineers, academics, non-governmental organizations, policy makers, water managers, industry and utility representatives, lawyers, students, and the public to explore emerging issues related to nutrient sources, dynamics, management, and policy from multiple perspectives.
Presentations, posters sessions and panel discussions will focus on integrating new research, education, policy, and technology developments in the following areas:

  • Understanding natural, anthropogenic and  legacy sources of nutrients
  • Nutrient dynamics and enrichment impacts in aquatic ecosystems
  • Efficacy of nutrient source control strategies 
  • Innovative biological, physical, and chemical nutrient reduction & recovery technologies
  • Social, behavioral, and economic aspects of nutrient management
  • Governance approaches to nutrient management  

In addition to the topics above student poster presentations will be accepted on any subject pertaining to water.   

Dates of interest:

Call for Abstracts: August 16, 2011

Abstract submission deadline: October 10, 2011

On-line registration opens: November 8, 2011

On-line registration deadline: January 31, 2012

For more information, please visit the website



April 2012 | 6th International Conference on Community-Based Adaptation to Climate Change | Vietnam

Pre-announcement: The 6th International Conference on Community-Based Climate Adaptation will be hosted by Vietnam in 2012.  The Conference attracts annually over 250 participants from all over the world. The Conference is organized by the International Institute for Environment and Development. For more information visit the IIED website.   



July 13-14, 2012 | 4th International Conference on Climate Change | Washington, DC

Overall Theme: Climate Change and its Global Implications for people, ethics and equity. The Fourth International Conference on Climate Change: Impacts and Responses. In 2012, the conference will be held in The University of Washington, Seattle, Washington, USA from 13-14 July 2012.

The Climate Change Conference is for any person with an interest in, and concern for, scientific, policy and strategic perspectives in climate change. It will address a range of critically important themes relating to the vexing question of climate change. Plenary speakers will include some of the world's leading thinkers in the fields of climatology and environmental science, as well as numerous paper, workshop and colloquium presentations by researchers and practitioners. 

For up-dated information visit the organizers website here.  

Recent Publications


Blunden, J., D. S. Arndt, and M. O. Baringer, Eds., 2011: State of the Climate in 2010. Bull. Amer. Meteor. Soc., 92 (6), S1-S266.  


Geselbracht L., K. Freeman, E. Kelly, D. R. Gordon, and F. E. Putz, 2011:

Retrospective and prospective model simulations  of sea level rise impacts on Gulf of Mexico coastal marshes and forests in Waccasassa Bay, Florida

Climatic Change, Volume 107, Numbers 1-2, 35-57, doi:10.1007/s10584-011-0084-y.     


Sasaki N., T. Owari, and F. E. Putz, 2011: Time to Substitute Wood Bioenergy for Nuclear Power in Japan, Energies, 4, 1051-1057; doi:10.3390/en4071051.   


Smith, S. R., M. A. Bourassa, and M. Long, 2011: Pirate attacks affect Indian Ocean climate researchEos Trans. AGU, 92(27), doi:10.1029/2011EO270001.  

Wu Z., N. E. Huang, J. M. Wallace, B. V. Smoliak, and X. Chen, 2011: On the time-varying trend in global-mean surface temperature, Climate Dynamics, doi: 10.1007/s00382-011-1128-8. 

Sources of Data


The Florida Climate Center: 

The Florida Climate Center (FCC) has teamed up with the University of Florida and Florida State University and plays an important and active role in the Florida Climate Institute (FCI). Through this partnership, top biological, social and agricultural scientists work with climatologists in order to bring together the best science expertise in the state to address the complex issues associated with climate change and societal response. In addition to providing expert knowledge and understanding of the climate of Florida, the center has been tasked with providing high-quality datasets for a variety of climate scenarios for the institute.  

In addition to assisting those members associated with the FCI, the FCC also serves the climatic data needs of the public of Florida.The FCC provides data and expertise to the public and private sector, as well as conducts interviews with a variety of media sources, and gives public lectures as a part of its outreach and education initiative.  For more information about the Florida Climate Center, please visit the website, or contact the center at climate@coaps.fsu.edu.  



NOAA's new 1981-2010 Climate Normals are now available on ftp:

You can access the new normals from the Normals website.  

NOAA's National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) released the 1981-2010 Normals on July 1, 2011. Climate Normals are the latest three-decade averages of climatological variables, including temperature and precipitation. This new product replaces the 1971-2000 Normals product. Additional Normals products; such as frost/freeze dates, growing degree days, population-weighting heating and cooling degree days, and climate division and gridded normals; will be provided in a supplemental release by the end of 2011.

Funding Opportunities



The NASA ROSES 2011 Terrestrial Ecology solicitation (A.4) has been released:   

Section 2.3 of this solicitation focuses on "Terrestrial Ecosystem Impacts of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill."   

Notices of Intent to propose are due August 17, 2011, and proposals are due October 28, 2011.

Full text of the solicitation can be found on NASA NSPIRES at the following link.



NOAA CPO FY12 proposal call is out:

Changing climate confronts society with significant economic, health, safety, and national security challenges. NOAA advances scientific and technical programs to help society cope with, and adapt to, today's variations in climate and to prepare for tomorrow's. Toward this end, the agency conducts and supports climate research, observations, modeling, information management, assessments, interdisciplinary decision support research, outreach, education, and stakeholder partnership development. These investments are key to NOAA's mission of "Science, Service, and Stewardship" and are guided by the agency's vision to create and sustain enhanced resilience in ecosystems, communities, and economies, as described in NOAA's Next Generation Strategic Plan (NGSP).
Dates of interest: Full applications for all Competitions (except for the International Research and Applications Project) must be received by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, October 3, 2011. Full applications for the International Research and Applications Project must be received by 5:00 p.m. Eastern Time, November 2, 2011.
For more information, please visit the website.
The announcement in PDF is available.



The NWS Climate Services Division's Partners Exchange Program (PEP):
The NWS Climate Services Division's Partners Exchange Program was created to reach out to the climate community and help make connections, strengthen partnerships, and foster collaborative projects. The purpose of the PEP is to:
· Establish mutually-beneficial relationships among climate community partners by formally connecting the climate services community that exists both internal and external to NOAA.
· Strengthen partnerships by establishing two-way communication and face-to-face collaboration between the NOAA climate community and the broader climate services network.

Applications can now be accepted for the PEP for travel between October 2011 through March 2012. Please see the PEP website for more details and to apply online: https://ocwws.weather.gov/pep
Deadline for submissions is: Friday, August 19th, 2011.
If you have any specific questions, please email:  nws.csd.pep@noaa.gov  

Employment Opportunities 



Meteorologist Position with the Florida Division of Emergency Management in Tallahassee (FL):

Any alumni or graduate student finished with classes that are interested in the position can apply here under "Atmospheric Scientists" in the Physics category. 

The position advertisement closes on Tuesday, August 9th.  

Anyone requesting more information on the position can email Amy Godsey at Amy.Godsey@em.myflorida.com.  



Climatologist Position in San Francisco (CA):

WeatherBill (weatherbill.com - San Francisco), is looking to fill a key role for a Climatologist to help build new, innovative weather-based agricultural risk management products. This individual will be the resident expert in sourcing and evaluating localized weather monitoring data, and developing algorithms and applications for climatological forecasting, emphasizing regional and mesoscale meteorological phenomena.

For more information about the position, please contact Gary Jong - Staffing Consultant at gjong@weatherbill.com (Phone number: 415-363-0073). 



For more job opportunities, please check our website.




In the June 2011 FCI newsletter, the name of Tom Swihart was accidentally misspelled as Tom Swihard.  

We apologize for this mistake.