The São Paulo School of Advanced Science on Climate Change: Scientific basis, adaptation, vulnerability and mitigation (SPSASCC) was held from 3-15 July in São Paulo, Brazil. The two-week School was a major capacity building event that contributed to the training of graduate students in topics relevant to climate change, such as projections, modeling, adaptation, vulnerability and mitigation. The curriculum included theoretical classes, work in groups, poster sessions and visits to two key institutions in the State of São Paulo conducting climate change research with policy applications: the National Center for Monitoring and Alert on Natural Disasters (CEMADEN) and the Center for Weather Forecast and Climate Studies (CPTEC).
Interest in the SPSASCC became evident through the more than 400 applications. The selection process was demanding. In the words of Dr. Tercio Ambrizzi, one of the members of the SPSASCC Scientific Committee: “applications were analyzed individually and each participant was selected carefully based on background, and the relevance of their current work and studies to the themes of the School”. One hundred and nineteen PhD and Masters students from 30 countries participated in the School. They represented a diversity of cultures, scientific disciplines and academic and professional backgrounds.
Global change research is complex and involves a variety of topics, such as water, land, biodiversity, pollution, food security. Climate change adds to the complexity and enhances the discussion of environmental problems. It requires more comprehensive and interdisciplinary studies to assist decision-making and actions needed for the benefit of the planet and society. “The School lectures presented different approaches to the same theme and real examples”, said Gabriel Martins Palma Perez, a participant from the Astronomy Institute, University of São Paulo (IAG/USP) in Brazil, while reflecting about the way of tackling complexity. His colleague Daniel Flores from the Geophysical Institute of Peru (IGP), agreed: “Training in multiple approaches is excellent to increase understanding of a complex issue, such as climate change”.
Because of its overarching importance, climate change has been constantly in the public eye, especially since the creation the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in 1988. Professor Ambrizzi stated that the purpose of the School program was to offer an overview of the important themes addressed by the IPCC and its reports, and for scientists to look at environmental issues in an integrated manner. “We are moving towards interdisciplinarity”, he added.
The poster session and group work were designed to foster the exchange of knowledge from many disciplines and sectors, among the participants and with School lecturers and organizers. This was an opportunity to learn from, and teach, other participants about topics relevant to the SPSASCC and also discover each other’s interests, while presenting their own posters. “The poster session was one of the most exciting sessions of the School. When I return to work, I will put into practice all the input and feedback received during that session”, stated Rodrigo Alberto Castillo Rodríguez a participant from the University of Costa Rica.
This young researcher added: “we do not have an early warning system in my country; knowing how and where CEMADEN works and having the contacts with the professionals working at the center provides a unique opportunity to start developing a similar initiative in Costa Rica”. Dr. Ambrizzi explained that the Organizing Committee considered visiting CEMADEN in São José dos Campos of great value to participants, given that it is the only center for the monitoring of natural disasters in Latin America.
“To me, the possibility of exchanging experiences, knowledge and methodologies with professionals from so many countries was a great opportunity to advance my training and professional career”, said Ismabel Maria Dominguez Hurtado from the Meteorological Center of Villa Clara, Cuba. Other participants also highlighted their interest in establishing partnerships and networks for continued collaboration and work after the course, which indicates that the SPSASCC objective of promoting development of collaborative networks, and to gather a critical mass of young scientists interested in climate change and its impacts on ecosystems and society was achieved.
Due to the wide interest in the SPSASCC, lectures were broadcast live and reached over 2300 viewers. The course will be available soon on the IAI YouTube channel. Organizers of the School were the INterdisciplinary CLimate INvestigation cEnter (INCLINE) and the Inter-American Institute for Global Change Research (IAI), and sponsored by the São Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP), Pró Reitoria de Pesquisa/University of São Paulo (PRP/USP), IAI and Santander. Click here for further information