EOAS Climate Emergency Committee (UBC)

The Earth's climate is changing and this change is driven by the fossil fuel emissions produced by humans. Extreme weather events have become the norm in British Columbia with 2021 characterized by an unrelenting wildfire season that was accelerated by a record-shattering heatwave in the Pacific Northwest (PNW) of North America. This was followed in 2022 by the wettest November on record in the Abbotsford-Chilliwack region that lead to devastating floods of the Sumas Prairie. More recently, cold temperature records were broken across the province of BC due to outflows of Arctic air from northern latitudes. All of this is just BC- neighbouring Alaska saw record high winter temperatures upwards of 19  degrees Celsisus. Climate change is already causing widespread damage on all fronts and it will take all of us putting in extra time to mitigate the worst effects.

At the department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at UBC, I helped establish the EOAS Climate Emergency Committee with fellow graduate students and faculty. Our primary goals are to help guide UBC's response to climate emergency by providing advice on campus-wide research, teaching, learning, operations, industry partnerships, outreach and policy to UBC's Climate Emergency Task force and by setting an example of progress in these domains with our everyday department activities. At the heart of our work is a long term goal to help transform UBC into THE world-leading University when it comes to advancing society towards a more sustainable future, developing a world-leading climate science curriculum for students and providing endless opportunities to conduct climate change and sustainability-related research.

Concept map describing the goals of the EOAS Climate Emergency Committee formalized in 2020 after a series of department discussions aimed at bringing the community together to decide on our top-priority goals.

Figure SPM.1b from the 6th Annual Report of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) demonstrating that global warming temperature trends over the past two decades cannot be simulated with our best globacl climate models without including the effects of human-sourced fossil fuel emissions.

Pacific Museum of the Earth

Over the last decade the Pacific Museum of the Earth has undergone a complete transformation from an unknown department museum to one of UBC's must-see museums for visitors and Vancouverites. The museum exhibits cover the wide range of research conducted at the department of Earth, Ocean and Atmospheric Sciences at UBC with interactive exhibits like the Omni Globe and tornado machine to a world-class collection of rare minerals and gems. For years I have been leading museum tours and workshops to students of all ages and presenting my research during public events hosted in the museum. In the background, I've also been helping to improve and develop new content for workshops and exhibits. This work is ongoing with new challenges such as the COVID-19 pandemic presenting new opportunities to develop new online content for the museum's website. 

The Omni Globe located in the PME where visitors can project a multitude of global datasets onto an illuminated sphere such as the topography of the moon (shown), global sea level rise scenarios for Earth, the Sun as seen in the UV spectrum and much more.

The main hall of the PME with the Jellyroll on the left, George the Lambeosaurus in the background and various mineral displays in the middle and foreground.

Communicating volcanology research to the public

Listen to my interview with Bob Macdonald on the CBC Radio Quirks and Quarks show.

Watch Colin Rowell and I describe our 2018 field trip to the erupting Sabancaya volcano, Peru. 

Read my take on an exciting study describing the fluid dynamics of pyroclastic density currents in National Geographic.