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Climate change primer presented online by WSU Extension, free to public

PUYALLUP, Wash. – A series of nine online presentations available through Washington State University summarizes, in easy-to-understand words and images, the science of climate change and its implications for humans and ecosystems.

Craig Cogger, a soil scientist at WSU Extension and creator of the peer-reviewed presentations, notes that much confusion exists among the public, media and decision makers about the science of climate change and the future implications of a changing climate. To access the free presentations click the following link to the WSU Extension Puyallup climate change website.

The presentations, each under 10 minutes, is composed of a narrated slide show discussing:

  • what the science really tells us
  • evidence for current climate change
  • climate models
  • predictions for the coming decades
  • what to expect from climate change
  • how to respond to climate disruption

In agriculture, Cogger states that the outlook for climate change is mixed. Many areas will see negative consequences, as droughts become more severe, extreme storm events become more likely to damage crops, and higher temperatures reduce crop productivity. Shrinking snow packs will reduce irrigation resources in the western US, South America and parts of Asia. The final presentation reviews policy options for mitigating greenhouse gas emissions and adapting to change.

Cogger has had a personal interest in weather and climate for many years, and has studied scientific papers on climate change, including reports by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

“When you compare what you read in the newspaper with what the science says,” Cogger said, “you miss a lot of nuance, and even the thrust of what is going on.”

Local WSU Master Gardeners were interested in the implications of climate change for gardening, so he began to make presentations for them. Soon after, Cogger said, he was presenting to local church and civic groups, and based on the feedback he received, decided to put the series online.

Cogger’s professional research includes the role of soil amendments in carbon sequestration and how organic soil amendments might emit nitrous oxide, one greenhouse gas.