Climate science for achieving adaptation and resilience

Department of Hydrology and Atmospheric Sciences

4 pm on Thursday, February 4, 2021
Contact the department for zoom details or to subscribe to the seminar email list

Donald J. Wuebbles
Harry E. Preble Professor of Atmospheric Sciences, University of Illinois-Urbana Champaign


Adaptation and resiliency to the changing climate are crucial to the future and to the sectors that define the human experience and the ecosystems across our planet. Action for climate adaptation requires rigorous science in combination with technology aimed at robust decisions and policies. Datasets for the past and projections of the changing climate are needed at high enough spatial resolution and at sufficient accuracy to combine with analyses of the sectors to help prepare the right approaches and techniques for adaptation. Existing global and regional climate modeling datasets largely do not meet these needs. We are developing and applying new state-of-the-art climate change datasets for statistical and dynamical downscaling. Downscaling techniques, both statistical (using mathematical relationships to determine local climates) and regional climate models (using physical principles to determine local climates), can get to higher resolution, towards being able to better define local and regional impacts. The aim is to help decision-making by much more accurately determining impacts, vulnerabilities, and risks over the coming decades as the climate changes, on humanity and on the many associated sectors. This presentation will examine the methodology for getting to climate resilience and the new capabilities being developed for application to that process.


Donald J. Wuebbles is the Harry E. Preble Professor of Atmospheric Science at the University of Illinois. He also led the development of the Center for Urban Resilience and Environmental Sustainability (CURES) across the three UI campuses. From 2015 to early 2017, Dr. Wuebbles was Assistant Director with the Office of Science and Technology Policy at the Executive Office of the President in Washington DC, where he was the White House expert on climate science.  He was Head of the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Illinois from 1994 to 2006. Dr. Wuebbles also led the development of the School of Earth, Society, and Environment, and was its first director. Dr. Wuebbles is an expert in atmospheric physics and chemistry, with over 500 scientific publications related to the Earth’s climate, air quality, and the stratospheric ozone layer. However, his work goes well beyond that through providing analyses and development of metrics used in national and international policy and in developing analyses for understanding climate impacts on society and ecosystems, plus potential resilience and societal responses. He has been a leader in a number of international and national scientific assessments, including being a Coordinating Lead Author on several international climate assessments led by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) that resulted in IPCC being awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 2007. He co-led the first volume of the 4th U.S. National Climate Assessment published in November 2017 that assesses the science of climate change and its effects on the United States. He led a new assessment on the impacts of climate change on the Great Lakes that was published in March 2019 and he is currently leading a special assessment of the impacts of climate change on the state of Illinois that will be published in March 2021. Dr. Wuebbles has received major awards, including the Cleveland Abbe Award from the American Meteorological Society, the Stratospheric Ozone Protection Award from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the Bert Bolin Global Environmental Change Award from the American Geophysical Union He is a Fellow of three major professional science societies, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Geophysical Union, and the American Meteorological Society.