University of South Carolina

Geographers chosen for panel on climate change

University of South Carolina geographers Dr. Kirstin Dow and Dr. Ed Carr are among 800 of the world’s top scientists who will have key roles in compiling an international science report on global climate change.

The report will be published by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) as early as 2013.

The IPCC was established in 1988 by the World Meterological Organization (WMO) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) to assess major scientific and technical issues confronting governments and other organizations interested in climate change.

Dow and Carr, who are associate professors of geography in the university’s College of Arts and Sciences, were selected from a field of 3,000 scientists nominated to contribute to the report.

Both will have a key role in the compilation of a volume on impacts, adaptation and vulnerability associated with climate change. Dow will serve as a lead author for the report’s chapter on adaptation, opportunities, constraints and limits, while Carr will serve as a review editor for a chapter on rural areas.

The volume is one of three that will make up the Fifth Assessment Report (AR5). The last assessment report was released in 2007. The IPCC has three working groups and a task force on greenhouse gas inventories

The IPCC report is considered by governments and scientists worldwide to be among the most significant and comprehensive assessments of climate change and its impacts.

“This is the first important step toward creating the world’s most comprehensive update to climate science,” said Vicente Barros, co-chairman of Working Group II, which includes Dow and Carr, and professor emeritus at the School of Sciences, University of Buenos Aires. “The IPCC assessments remain the best mechanism for this type of information-gathering and sharing.”

Dow and Carr will be working with scientists from universities, government agencies, international organizations and corporations from 71 countries.

Dow joined the university’s faculty in 1996. An expert on the human dimensions of environmental change, she conducts research on social vulnerability and decision-making with respect to climate variability, climate change and water resources. She is editor of the journal, “Weather, Climate and Society,” and co-author of the 2007 book, “The Atlas of Climate Change.”

Carr, who joined the university’s faculty in 2003, is a leading expert on global development, particularly the intersection of development with global economic and environmental change. His fieldwork has focused on Africa, specifically Ghana and Malawi.

In May, Carr was awarded a Science and Technology Policy Fellowship from the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS), which calls for him to relocate to Washington D.C. this summer to begin working with the U.S. Agency for International Development as climate change adaptation coordinator in the Bureau for Democracy, Conflict and Humanitarian Assistance.

More information on the IPCC, Working Group II and the Fifth Assessment Report is available online at

By Office of Media Relations

Posted: 07/14/10 @ 5:10 PM | Updated: 07/22/10 @ 2:43 PM | Permalink