An “insurance policy” for the Department of Geography, allowing the chair to respond to needs as they arise
Professor Laurence C. Smith is no stranger to the ends of the earth. Professor and chair of the UCLA Department of Geography — as well as a professor of earth, planetary and space sciences — he’s a renowned expert in the fields of geography, hydrology and remote sensing who has ventured into some of the most dangerous parts of the world to study the effects of climate change.
Recently, Prof. Smith led a team of researchers to Greenland on an expedition to gather water flow data from rivers atop the ice sheet. They combined this data with satellite measurements and discovered that Greenland’s ice is melting much faster than previously thought and contributing to the rise of global sea levels. Rising temperatures have created large lakes on the ice sheet surface, which in turn have spawned a network of rivers that are swiftly draining the melting ice. The water is flowing down into giant sinkholes called “moulins.”
Referencing the data gathered at this and previous expeditions, Prof. Smith predicts global warming will transform northern countries by 2050, producing a far more hospitable climate for countries like Canada and Russia. Meanwhile, freshwater sources in populous countries that are already too dry will be depleted. As a result, global immigration and politics are about to shift in startling, irrevocable ways.
These dramatic changes make studying the geographic sciences more critical than ever. The UCLA Department of Geography, with its award-winning faculty, is recognized internationally as a leader in research and education of both physical and human geography. Your gift to this fund allows Prof. Smith to react quickly to student and faculty needs. Whether it’s to bring an international scholar to our faculty, provide a scholarship to retain a top-tier student or ensure lab equipment is updated, the chair can respond as necessary.
Give today to ensure UCLA will continue to support innovative experts that the world can look to for answers, rain or shine.
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