Climate Change and Water Resources

Jim Miller (Marine and Coastal Sciences)

What are the global geopolitical and policy implications of climate change? This seminar will introduce students to global climate change that is occurring in response to increasing levels of atmospheric greenhouse gases. After an introduction to the science of climate change, we will focus on potential future changes in water resources, both globally and in New Jersey, including the potential for increased floods and droughts, sea-level rise and coastal salt-water intrusion, and changes in groundwater reservoirs. Hands-on assignments will include learning about the sources of water in students’ hometowns, how the water is obtained and processed, and what local companies are doing to address climate change. This seminar may include a boat trip on the Raritan River and/or a field trip to a local water processing plant.

Jim Miller is a Professor in the Department of Marine & Coastal Sciences at Rutgers University. He uses a combination of observations and global climate models to understand how water will both impact and be impacted by future climate change. This includes predicting future changes in water resources, river flow and temperature, permafrost, Arctic climate, and climate in mountainous regions. Two recent projects involve the analysis of climate feedbacks in the Arctic region and in two high altitude regions–the Tibetan Plateau and the San Juan Mountains in southwestern Colorado. Another interest of his is on the impact of future changes in river flow and temperature on ecosystems, with a recent focus on the Fraser River salmon fishery in British Columbia.