People and Community Science and Technology

How can we respond to climate change with science?

The Climate Café Series returns to the Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science and will connect faculty members, research collaborators, students, and local stakeholders to discuss the evolving science and how to prepare our community for impacts like heat, sea level rise, and other natural challenges on the horizon.
Climate Cafe Series graphic

The climate today is changing faster than we know it.

But faculty members at the University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine, Atmospheric, and Earth Science are working diligently to collect data about the present and to plan for the future. They also are working to uncover adaptations and solutions to preserve and conserve our natural world, while also keeping people out of harm’s way. 

Scientists will incorporate this research into conversations about heat, water, and the future of climate science during three Climate Café events over the next few months. All discussions are free and open to the public and will be held in the Rosenstiel School auditorium on Virginia Key. 

Launched virtually in 2020, the Climate Café Series was designed for Rosenstiel School researchers to stay connected with donors, alumni, collaborators, and supporters and to highlight ongoing work in climate science. 

The series captured the attention of longtime Rosenstiel School supporter and dean’s advisory committee member, William J. Gallwey III, as well as electric vehicle company, Polestar, and both are underwriting the series. The afternoon events will begin with a brief 3:30 p.m. reception at Salt Waterfront Restaurant. The one-hour program begins at 4 p.m. in the auditorium. The sessions aim to be informative, casual gatherings that spur dialogue about groundbreaking climate science in a range of research disciplines. Jenny Staletovich, award-winning environmental reporter for WLRN, South Florida’s National Public Radio affiliate, will moderate the conversations. 

“Miami is the epicenter of climate change, but its implications aren’t limited to South Florida, they are issues for the whole world,” Gallwey said. “The series will showcase the knowledge and expertise of Rosenstiel faculty working on climate change challenges that are critical to our entire world. This is an existential problem that we can solve.” 

The first conversation on Oct. 18, “Searing, sweltering, stifling: How record-high temperatures and a marine heat wave baked South Florida this summer,” will center on heat and feature climate scientists Ben Kirtman and Amy Clement, as well as doctoral student Lynée Turek-Hankins. To address how these temperature changes are impacting corals, professor Andrew Baker, who is part of the Rosenstiel School’s Department of Marine Biology and Ecology, will join the conversation along with Michael Studivan, an assistant scientist at the University’s NOAA Cooperative Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Studies. Each Climate Café also will include a local stakeholder, and this one will feature Jane Gilbert, Miami-Dade County’s chief heat officer. 

On Nov. 8, the session is titled “Water, water, everywhere… Is the Florida current slowing down and what impacts does it pose for South Florida? How will rainfall, hurricanes, and increased days of flooding dictate how adaptation strategies evolve?” This Climate Café will feature ocean scientist and professor Lisa Beal, who studies major ocean currents that impact climate and sea level rise, doctoral student Paloma Cartwright, and professor Katharine Mach, who focuses on environmental policies and government responses to climate change—and aims to identify actions and policies that are most effective and equitable to residents. Joining them are Tom Frazer, executive director of the Florida Flood Hub for Applied research and Innovation at the University of South Florida, as well as Carolina Moran, district resiliency officer of the South Florida Water Management District. 

Finally, on Jan. 17, 2024, Kirtman will return to speak along with Rosenstiel School meteorologist Brian McNoldy and Michael Berkowitz, executive director of the University's Climate Resilience Academy, about the future of climate science by addressing the topic “The Future of Climate: A look back at 2023 and the best available science to plan for the future.” The researchers will plot how temperature and other vital climate metrics transformed in 2023, and they will explain how that information, along with other vital research, can help them prepare for the future. They will be joined by Tiffany Troxler, director of the Sea Level Rise Solutions Center, based at Florida International University. 

Registration for the three Climate Café sessions is now open.