The need to adapt environmental policies and management strategies to meet the social and ecological challenges caused by abrupt climate change events around the world is the focus of a new graduate program at the University of Maine beginning this fall, funded by a five-year, $3 million award from the National Science Foundation (NSF).
The program, called Adaptation to Abrupt Climate Change, is a collaboration between UMaine’s Climate Change Institute and School of Policy and International Affairs, funded through NSF’s Integrative Graduate Education and Research Traineeship (IGERT) program. It will support the international research of 24 Ph.D. students in Earth sciences, ecology, economics, anthropology and archaeology. Their focus will be on threats of abrupt climate change to global security; ecosystem sustainability under abrupt climate change; and adaptation of economic, social, political and ideological systems to abrupt climate change.
In addition to collaborative interdisciplinary research, the students will participate in policy and management internships with international, federal and state agencies and organizations.
In the new graduate training program, students will become experts and leaders in their fields, understanding the dynamic relationship between the environment and the security of humans in response to abrupt climate change, says Jasmine Saros, associate professor of biology in UMaine’s Climate Change Institute and the principal investigator on the project. They will be the next generation of scientists charged with anticipating, managing and meeting the environmental and social challenges of abrupt climate change.